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Across the country, states and counties have added different versions of “stay-safe” or “stay-at-home” orders for their citizens. These stay-at-home orders are intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As said many times during this pandemic, these are unprecedented measures in our country’s history. Your church and ministry must determine how to most effectively minister to those in your care during this challenging time.

Understanding Executive Orders

Your church needs to be aware of any public health and state mandates that are in place as your church determines how to minister effectively. Depending on the state or county, these directives carry different penalties for non-compliance. Below we have shortcuts to each state’s executive order for more detailed information.

As a rule, the state orders include these four things:

  1. all non-essential employees work from home or stay home
  2. all restaurants and bars closed
  3. all gatherings limited to ten or fewer
  4. all events suspended indefinitely

Should Our Church Continue to Meet?

Each state has a different approach to implementation. However, compliance is generally recommended due to the nature of the public health crisis. If your church or ministry is trying to decide if you should or should not continue to meet, here are some criteria to consider:

  1. Does my state have a stay-at-home order in place?
  2. Is my county particularly affected at this time by COVID-19?
  3. Am I potentially placing my congregation at risk by having them attend church?
  4. Are there safer alternatives to meeting in groups at this time?
  5. How can I serve our congregation most effectively?

Our Recommendations

The NCLL recommends churches provide a virtual service option (Livestream, Facebook Live, etc.) through the end of April. If your church wants to allow people to attend in person, please review state guidelines to ensure you are not placing your congregants at risk. If you choose to allow some church members to attend, ensure that you keep people spread out from each other to limit exposure between individuals. You can review our recommendations for your facility here. Drive-in church is also an option in many states and counties. This allows your congregation to come to your church’s location without exposing others to the potential spread of the virus.

As always, remember there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you are still trying to determine how best to navigate this complicated time for your church or ministry, please contact our office, and one of our team members will gladly assist you in answering your questions. Contact our office by calling 888- 233-6255 or emailing info@ncll.org.

Current State Orders Regarding Gatherings & Stay-at-Home Mandates:

  • Stay at home order: Alaska | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | District of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | Kentucky* | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts* | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Montana | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | Ohio | Oklahoma* | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | Tennessee | Texas | Vermont | Virginia | Virgin Islands | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin
  • 3 or more: South Carolina
  • 5 or more: American Samoa
  • 10 or more: Alabama | Arkansas | Iowa | Missouri | Nebraska* | Northern Mariana Islands | South Dakota

Guam and Puerto Rico also have imposed mandatory limits on large gatherings.

*Massachusetts order is for the ages 70+, guidance for all others; Georgia and Oklahoma’s orders are for vulnerable populations only and includes a 10 person limit to mass gatherings for all others; Nebraska limits are for 14 counties; Kentucky, Utah and Wyoming have issued stay at home guidance.

State Statues Concerning Isolation & Quarantine

https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-quarantine-and-isolation-statutes.aspx

Current Legislative Responses to COVID-19 by State

https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-action-on-coronavirus-covid-19.aspx

Current States with Executive Orders (click on the link below for more information)

https://www.nga.org/coronavirus/#states

Emergency Declarations by State


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