INDIANAPOLIS — Easter Sunday will be a difficult day for many who are used to attending church services.
But with COVID-19 still very much a threat, Governor Eric Holcomb hopes to see inside Easter services limited to online.
The Governor and State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D. issued guidance Thursday for places of worship in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“During this time of uncertainty, faith is more important than ever, and I am deeply grateful to our religious leaders for their efforts to find safe and creative ways to serve their communities,” Holcomb said. “The purpose of this guidance is not to restrict religious liberty, but to save lives during these extraordinary times. I look forward to the day where we can once again worship side-by-side without the threat of spreading coronavirus.”
An executive order from the governor states all public and private gatherings, including religious and spiritual, should follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which restricts gatherings to ten or less people.
Here are more specifics:
- Church buildings and other physical locations for worship should be closed.
- Livestream or other virtual services are best.
- The minimum number of necessary personnel should be used at all times for any services.
- Staff and volunteers who are not speaking should wear masks.
What about drive-in services?
- Attendees must be inside vehicles at all times.
- Attendees should not interact physically with clergy, staff or participants in other vehicles.
- Vehicles should contain only members of a single household. Do not bring your neighbors or others outside of your household.
- Cars must be spaced the equivalent of every other parking spot or approximately 9 feet apart.
- No one may exit a vehicle at any time.
- Portable bathrooms are not allowed on the premises and no church facilities may be used by attendees.
- It is preferred that no communion be distributed.
- In instances when communion is distributed, only prepackaged communion may be used and must be prepared and distributed in a manner that meets food safety standards.
- The following individuals who are vulnerable and at higher risk for illness should not attend:
- Persons who are 65 years and older.
- Those who have severe underlying medical conditions, like heart or lung disease or diabetes.
- Individuals who are sick.