Health leaders update guidance on faith-based gatherings

MS health leaders issue new COVID-19 guidelines for faith-based gatherings

(WMC) - The Mississippi State Department of Health has issued updated guidelines for faith-based gatherings and worship services.

The changes comes as people gather for Passover and Easter this week.

The state health department says the safest option is to continue to hold virtual services.

For those meeting indoors, MSDH recommends everyone over 65-years-old and anyone over 16 with a high risk medical condition be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to attending in-person worship services.

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

The Health Department also released these guidelines for in-person services:

  1. All congregants should wear a face mask at all times during in-person services.
  2. All congregants should maintain six feet of separation from persons outside of their household. Household members may sit together.
  3. Congregants should not gather in close groups while entering or exiting the building.
  4. Congregants should use hand sanitizer prior to or upon entry of the building.
  5. Singing is a high-risk activity that can quickly spread viral particles. It is preferable to not have choirs; however, if choirs are performing, they should be small in number, masked, and separated by six feet.
  6. Those in classroom settings such as Sunday school or study groups should maintain six feet of separation and wear a mask at all times.
  7. As appropriate, alternatives to shared cups for communion should be pursued.
  8. The use of hymn books or prayer books is acceptable so long as congregants practice proper hand hygiene upon entering.

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