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Churches And In-Store Retail Can Now Reopen In California, Pending County Approval

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Big news today: The California Department of Public Health announced that churches, temples, mosques and other places of worship have permission to reopen statewide, in addition to in-store retail.

The new guidelines apply to the entire state, but are subject to approval by each county's public health department. That means this doesn't yet apply to L.A. County.

Riverside County has already approved the change, allowing religious services to resume immediately.

CHURCHES

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Places of worship can now hold religious services and funerals that limit attendance to 25% of a building’s capacity (or up to 100 attendees, whichever is lower). That again, is subject to individual county approval.

According to the guidelines, in order to reopen, places of worship must "establish and implement" a prevention plan for the spread of COVID-19 and train staff on said plan. Religious institutions must also set physical distancing guidelines, and implement strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols.

The guidelines recommend that staff and guests wear face coverings, but don't require it. They also recommend (but don't require) staff to have their temperatures and symptoms checked before they begin their shifts.

Public health officials advise religious leaders to "consider eliminating singing and group recitations," as these activites are thought to increase transmission of the coronavirus.

IN-PERSON SHOPPING

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All retail businesses can now reopen for in-person shopping statewide, pending county approval. Social distancing, face coverings and employee screenings are recommended as part of the state's guidelines. Retail does not include personal services such as hair salons, nail salons and barbershops (although we know some people are doing these things on the down-low).

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