Alaska eases health mandates on churches, religious services


    Alaska’s churches are now freer to hold religious services, both indoors and out. On April 24, Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued further guidance on phase one of reopening Alaska. This includes an update addressing religious gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the update, religious groups can now hold services with up to 20 people or 25% of building capacity – whichever is smaller.

    Religious gatherings may also include members from different households, so long as they are six feet from all non-household members. Everyone attending the service, however, must wear face coverings when possible.

    All religious services will require protocols to protect staff and members of the congregation. This includes entry signs notifying the public of protocols and a prohibition against anyone with COVID-19 symptoms entering the facility.

    When possible, churches are required to have participants enter and exit through different doors and provide hand handwashing or sanitizer stations at entrances and communal areas.

    With regards to Communion, or passing the collection basket, there should be “minimal handling of the offering plate and money and proper sanitization of hands and disinfecting of surfaces.”

    Religious groups must also provide hourly “touch-point sanitation” of all workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms during the gathering.

    Singing is permitted for outdoor services so long as each person is at least 10 feet apart.

    For more information on religious gatherings, click here.

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    Joel Davidson
    Joel Davidson
    Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.

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