O.C. deems in-person church ‘essential,’ says Newsom’s plan too restrictive for megachurches

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MaryAnn Lawson collects prayer requests from people gathering in their cars in a Santa Ana parking lot before an Easter service with the Rev. Robert A. Schuller on April 12, 2020. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

MaryAnn Lawson collects prayer requests from people gathering in their cars in a Santa Ana parking lot before an Easter service with the Rev. Robert A. Schuller on April 12, 2020. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Orange County supervisors on Tuesday declared religious services “essential” and expressed concerns that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to reopen places of worship with major restrictions is too constraining for megachurches and other large institutions.

The unanimously approved resolution, proposed by Chairwoman Michelle Steel, makes clear the board’s belief that “gathering together in fellowship and worship in the faith of one’s choice is an ‘essential’ service, and we support the resumption of in-person religious assemblies,” starting this weekend.

Under the recently revealed guidelines, houses of worship must limit total attendance to 25% of a building’s capacity or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower. High-traffic areas and commonly touched surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned and regularly disinfected.

Congregants also should be screened for fever or other symptoms of illness and are asked to use hand sanitizer and wear face coverings. Houses of worship also are discouraged from sharing items, and congregants and staff are asked to abstain from singing, shaking hands or hugging.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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