DOVER, Del. (CBS) — Delaware churches and other houses of worship will now be allowed to hold in-person services again but with strict social distancing measures. Weddings, funerals, and baptisms can also be held if guidelines are followed.
Gov. John Carney issued the updated guidance on Monday, but is still encouraging virtual services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All of Delaware’s restrictions – including those inside our churches and other houses of worship – are intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Carney said in a statement. “I know it’s difficult. Practicing your faith is a fundamental right. But Delawareans who are at higher risk should not attend in-person services. Do your best to practice your faith virtually. Wear a cloth face covering if you attend an in-person service. Remain at least six feet away from others. Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. Now’s not the time for Delawareans to let up.”
In-person services will be restricted in size to 30% of the stated fire code occupancy and strict social distancing must be maintained.
Residents who are high-risk, including those over the age of 65, and anyone who is sick should not attend the services.
Anyone 13 years old or older must wear a face covering and children aged 2 or younger should not wear one due to suffocation risk.
Services can last no longer than one hour and gathering times must be staggered so the houses of worship can be cleaned between services.
Weddings, funerals and baptisms are also permitted if the services can follow the updated precautions.
The latest guidelines come as there are now over 7,800 coronavirus cases in the state and nearly 300 deaths.
Click here for more information about in-person services amid the pandemic.