COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– The state of Ohio issued a list of suggestions for churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions as more open their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton ordered many types of businesses closed in March to slow the spread of the virus. Religious buildings were not subject to those orders, but most voluntarily closed, opting for virtual or drive-in services.
The following are best practices for churches from the Ohio Department of Health. DeWine emphasized these are not mandates.
- Indoor activity is inherently more dangerous than outdoor activities because of the recirculating of the air inside. The more outside air incorporated, the better.
- Suggest congregants sit with their families and have each family sitting at least six feet from other people is essential.
- Masks worn by members of your congregations is a great addition to the social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The two used together add a lot of protection.
- Eliminate as much as possible the touching of common surfaces, such as collection baskets and other prayer materials.
- Continue to offer vulnerable members of your community alternative methods of attending a service.
- Those over 65 and those with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, immune compromised conditions, severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or higher), chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, or liver disease are at higher risk from COVID-19.