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County Executive Pittman Announces Expansion of Attendance Limits for Houses of Worship

Last updated: July 16, 2020

Keep the FaithChurches, Synagogues, Mosques and other religious institutions may increase attendance starting Friday, June 5 at 5 p.m.

Annapolis, Md. (June 3, 2020) Today, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced that churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship can increase current limits on attendance beginning Friday, June 5 at 5:00 p.m. Individual worshippers or families may attend services at six foot distancing and with masks, if they do not exceed Governor Larry Hogan’s 50% occupancy limit as required by state executive order.

The announcement comes after County Executive Pittman’s consultation with health officials, his recovery workgroup, and more than 60 county faith leaders.

County Executive Pittman signed Executive Order #23 today to implement this policy effective Friday at 5 p.m..

“Nobody cares more about the health and safety of worshippers than their own leaders,” said County Executive Pittman. “The Center for Disease Control has been very cautious about indoor worship, and I have been as well. What I learned last Thursday in a zoom call with 60 pastors, rabbis, and imams is that they will do this responsibly, and are eager to have guidelines that protect their congregations.”

The reopening of houses of worship comes after Anne Arundel County Department of Health metrics show progress on hospital capacity, PPE, testing and other public health measures on their reopening dashboard.

Details of the houses of worship reopening policy are available in guidance on the county’s road to recovery webpage, and include:

  • Maintaining social distancing, including spacing seating to ensure six feet in between individuals or households;
  • No use of common materials such as hymnals or holy books;
  • No activities that promote personal contact, such as hugging, shaking hands, etc.;
  • Face coverings should be worn by all congregants, employees and volunteers;
  • Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected frequently;

Outdoor services are also permitted, under certain guidelines:

  • Additional seating can be installed on the premise if the congregation has ownership or permission from ownership to place seating not to exceed 50% of its approved seating;
  • All seating must be spaced six (6’) apart from each seat or households may sit together separated by other groups by six feet (6’);
  • If indoor restrooms facilities are to be used, points of access to restroom facilities must be provided;
  • Outdoor seating cannot be more than 500 feet away from the restrooms;
  • Any tent over 200 square feet requires a building permit to ensure safety (Permit Center contact 410-222-7700 or email IPMailbox@aacounty.org);

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