HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner announced new guidelines recommended for sanctuaries and faith-based organizations Friday afternoon.
The required guidelines are recommended by the mayor’s Health and Equity Response Task Force and its Faith and Community Leaders Subcommittee.
Turner started the press conference remembering Houston Fire Department arson investigator Lemuel Bruce, who was killed in a shootout that happened in northwest Houston Friday. He said Bruce leaves behind a wife and two children and is asking the city to lift his family and fire department in prayers.
As of Friday, The Houston Health Department reports 138 new cases and three new COVID-related deaths. Turner said the city has reached its goal but urged residents to remain vigilant and follow health guidelines to continue to decrease the city’s positivity rate.
Guidelines for sanctuaries
Turner said he is aware places of worship are reopening this weekend and wants all leaders of faith to follow protocols to ensure the safety of residents. The mayor said these guidelines are recommendations and not mandates.
The guidelines are based on the three following questions: How can we protect congregants, staff and volunteers who attend service? How do we assure our communities we are doing all we can to protect them? How do we minimize transmission risk?
Here are the following guidelines:
- Reopen at 25% capacity and consider offering pre-registration options due to attendees.
- Place signs in parking lots to help direct people and block off extra parking spaces to avoid large gatherings.
- All surface areas such as doors, door handles, tables and chairs should be cleaned and disinfected before, during and after services.
- Avoid sharing AV equipment like microphones as well as the removal of shared items like hymnals, pens and offering envelopes.
- Have temperature checks on all those who enter the building
- Have hand sanitizers available and accessible
Things will be different from the last time you attended your place of worship, but remember that the small inconveniences will prevent the major disappointments of possibly contracting #COVID19 and putting lives at risk.— Houston Mayor's Office (@houmayor) October 16, 2020