SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a two-phase plan to return to weekly worship services and activities.
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the church released a letter on Tuesday morning outlining the phased approach that will return many church members to their weekly religious services.
“We are grateful for the faith of our members as they have worshipped at home and are grateful for the blessings that will come as we gather for worship and activities,” the First Presidency said in their letter.
“We now authorize some meetings and activities to be resumed on a limited basis using a careful, phased approach.”
During the first phase of the plan, the church says that some limited weekly meetings will be able to proceed inside meetinghouses. Those meetings would allow for up to 99 individuals to gather.
Church leaders stressed using an abundance of caution as members return to weekly services. They asked that special attention be given to safety and hygiene in the preparation and passing of the sacrament.
The guidelines include the recommendation to wear masks, social distance in seating, as well as the temporary suspension of choirs, and sanitizing buildings after use by each congregation.
Also stressed is the church’s plan to follow individual government regulations, which would mean that some congregations could hold meetings as early as this Sunday, while others may have to wait longer.
During the second phase, meetings with more than 100 people would be allowed. Other meetings still may be held remotely until an eventual return to standard practices is expected.
The letter released Tuesday, the First Presidency of the church says that that the return to regular meetings will look different in different areas. They say the decisions about when and how to return to regular weekly services will be made by area presidencies with guidance from church headquarters.
Some congregations in parts of Asia have not gathered together since January, and worldwide meetings for the faith’s 31,000 congregations were temporarily suspended on March 12.
You can read the full letter, as well as specific guidelines here.
This story is developing and will be updated.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
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