Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) can’t stop you from going to any California church, but he can certainly ruin it once you get inside. In a stunningly petty COVID-19 guideline update, Newsom’s state Department of Public Health now says that singing and “chanting” at church is forbidden.
Prior to this order, California officials suggested churches consider refraining from singing or doing “group recitation.” But since the “race riots” have died down and the media is back to virus fear-mongering, state officials have now announced the ban on all singing and recitation within houses of worship.
From an article in the Sacramento Bee: “Health agencies such as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say shouting or singing can spread the coronavirus just as easily as coughing or sneezing. California’s health department agrees, and as Gov. Gavin Newsom begins tightening protocols during a resurgence of the pandemic, it now says singing and chanting are outright banned.”
The article continues: “Activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing,” the state said in its new guidelines. “Houses of worship are now being told to have masks available for congregants who don’t bring one.”
Recently, Newsom called on Sacramento and 18 other counties to cease all indoor dining and to close movie theaters, card rooms, indoor museums, and other venues. This was his most dramatic reversal yet on reopening their economy. These new church guidelines were released the same day, and they took effect in Sacramento on Thursday.
Churches have aggressively pushed back against Newsom’s orders from the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in mid-March. Several California churches sued Newsom to overturn the order, saying it violated their First Amendment rights. None, however, were successful in court. It remains to be seen if, or how, the state or counties are expected to enforce the ban on singing in houses of worship.