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Posted on: May 15, 2020

Guidance for Religious Institutions

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The Governor’s Recent Executive Order # 20-05-13-01 (complete order at: indicated the following:

Religious Facilities. Subject to applicable Local Orders, effective as of 5:00 p.m. on May 15, 2020, churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other similar religious facilities of any faith in the State of Maryland (“Religious Facilities”) may open to the general public, provided, however, that the total number of persons permitted in a Religious Facility at any one time shall not exceed 50% of that Religious Facility’s Maximum Occupancy. 

As you prepare to provide in-person church services, we’d like to provide you with additional, county-level guidance:

1. Per the State-level guidance, you must maintain 50% occupancy; please assign people to manage church/synagogue entry points.

2. 50% occupancy shall be determined by taking half the posted occupancy capacity of the rooms (chapel, multi-purpose rooms, etc.)—AND ensuring that each family unit is at least 6 feet apart from one another. As indicated in a statewide law enforcement conference call today, state officials suggest this could result in a capacity closer to 20-25% capacity.

3. Outdoor services are highly recommended as they allow for greater participation.

4. Complaints on non-compliance will be investigated by law enforcement—AFTER the completion of services. Unless there is a 911-type emergency, law enforcement will not be interrupting church services.

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