Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) have issued updated guidance regarding the effect of the governor's Executive Order GA-18 on religious services conducted by congregations and houses of worship.
The guidance was issued Monday and it recommends protocols for houses of worship to protect the health and safety of their attendees amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Houses of worship face particular challenges as Texans work to combat this pandemic. This updated guidance provides clear direction to protect the health and safety of faith groups as they plan for future religious gatherings,” Paxton said. “All Texans must continue to work together to care for the health and safety of our neighbors as we work to reopen the state.”
The new guidance defines “religious services conducted in churches, congregations, and houses of worship" as essential services.
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Houses of worship should also encourage members of the at-risk population to watch or participate in the services remotely, reserve an area inside the facility for the at-risk population, or offer services for at-risk population attendees only.
The guidance outlines cleaning practices that houses of worship should follow, including disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces and making hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes available to attendees.