The city issued additional reopening protocols for local churches and places of worship on Wednesday prohibiting group chanting and singing indoors.
According to the protocol, places of worship must limit indoor attendance to 25 percent of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower, and singing and chanting activities must be discontinued in indoor services.
“The City is adhering to state guidelines that read that even with proper physical distancing, meeting in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of the COVID-19 virus, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations,” said Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian. “In particular, activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing.”
Singing and chanting activities are permitted outdoors, which allows for much greater physical distance, or through alternative methods, such as internet streaming, that ensure individual congregation members perform these activities separately in their own homes. At a minimum, outdoor attendance should be limited through implementation of strict physical distancing measures of at least six feet between attendees from different households.
The move comes days after hundreds of the world’s scientists signed a letter calling on the World Health Organization and the Centers of Disease Control to acknowledge that the virus can be transmitted by airborne transmission.
“The current guidance from numerous international and national bodies focuses on hand washing, maintaining social distancing, and droplet precautions,” the letter said. “Most public health organizations, including the World Health Organization, do not recognize airborne transmission except for aerosol-generating procedures performed in healthcare settings. Hand washing and social distancing are appropriate, but in our view, insufficient to provide protection from virus-carrying respiratory microdroplets released into the air by infected people,” they added.
Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom rolled back reopening protocols at several businesses, including restaurants.
California is battling an explosive surge in cases. There were more than 4,000 new cases reported in Los Angeles County on Tuesday.
In Pasadena, 1,415 cases of the Coronavirus and 97 deaths.