Religious and worship services may be provided via video or teleconference format, and/or with in-person gatherings, limiting indoor occupancy to no more than 50% of the building’s maximum occupancy, subject to all social distancing requirements set forth below. Religious institutions and places of worship shall comply with the requirements of Miami-Dade County Emergency Order 23-20 (“EO 23-20”) and any applicable Emergency Order of the City, and shall deploy strategies to reduce COVID-19 exposure for their congregants, including, at a minimum, the following measures:
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers for use by congregants, subject to availability of supplies
- Provide disinfecting wipes at points of entrance
- Implement procedures to ensure that all participants remain at least six feet apart at all times, to allow persons to maintain proper social distancing; provided, however, that persons residing in the same household may be seated together in groups not to exceed 10 persons
- Implement procedures for custodial/janitorial staff to sanitize frequent touchpoints throughout the day
- Facial coverings shall be worn by congregants, except by children under the age of 2, or persons who have trouble breathing due to a chronic pre-existing condition
Religious institutions and places of worship shall also be subject to the following requirements applicable to all establishments permitted to reopen pursuant to County EO 23-20 and the City’s Emergency Order:
- Prior to reopening, all establishments shall be required to flush their plumbing and run water in sinks, to eliminate stagnant water from the period of the establishment’s closure
- Public restrooms shall be cleaned every 2 to 3 hours pursuant to the guidelines in the Handbook attached to EO 23-20
- The use of common water fountains and interactive displays shall be prohibited
- Capacity in elevators shall be limited to ensure social distancing
ADDITIONAL ENCOURAGED GUIDELINES
The City strongly encourages religious institutions and places of worship to implement the following additional recommendations, developed by the Faith Based Communities Task Force of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Staff, congregants, and participants shall be encouraged to:
- Consider holding multiple services per day, if necessary, to avoid overcrowding.
- Establish a back-up plan (including, for example, additional seating areas) to accommodate an overflow crowd and maintain social distancing.
- Provide thermal temperature screening prior to entry for staff, congregants, and participants.
- Direct staff to monitor the number of individuals inside a religious institution or place of worship to ensure compliance with the 50% maximum occupancy restriction imposed by Emergency Order of the City.
- Direct participants to sign-up online to attend services, in advance, in order to monitor and limit the number of attendees.
- Place tape or other visual distancing markings at appropriate intervals on seating or floors, to delineate minimum 6-foot distance separations; and post signage indicating the maximum number of persons permitted per row.
- Enhance ventilation of enclosed spaces wherever possible. For example, consider opening windows and doors to allow additional airflow.
- Consider refusing entry to individuals who decline to wear facial coverings for non-medical reasons.
- Maintain an inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) (e.g., masks and gloves) so that, should a participant arrive without such equipment, they may be able to participate in a service.
- Take steps to encourage orderly entering and exiting of services in a manner that encourages social distancing. For example:
- Signage or floor markings should be posted to designate one-way aisles or otherwise direct individuals to follow certain pathways for entering and exiting a service.
- If a line forms outside of a service, individuals waiting in line should be directed to maintain social distancing. Tape or other markings at appropriate intervals on the ground outside of religious institutions or places of worship should be placed to encourage attendees to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.
- Staff, volunteers, and attendants should direct individuals in high traffic areas to maintain social distancing.
- Officiants or other staff should direct successive, row-by-row exiting.
- Ensure that staff, congregants, and participants have access to handwashing facilities, including soap and running water, and allow sufficient break time to wash hands, as necessary.
- Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol available, if possible.
Staffing and Operations
- Refrain from holding communal gatherings before or after a service (e.g., coffee hours or other food services).
- Religious institutions and places of worship running food pantries or other prepackaged food distribution are encouraged to continue to do so.
- If a religious institution or place of worship learns that a staff member, volunteer, attendant, or participant has tested positive for COVID-19, the religious institution is strongly encouraged to notify the Florida Department of Health. Additionally, the religious institution or place of worship is encouraged to designate a contact person in the event that an individual tests positive for COVID-19, and State health officials or contact tracers need to notify the religious institution or place of worship.
- Distribute disposable service pamphlets or use mobile device apps, or recommend that participants bring their own prayer books.
- Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Clean and disinfect facilities between each service, including disinfection of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bathrooms, microphones, shared instruments).
- If a religious institution or place of worship learns that an individual with COVID-19 attended a service or otherwise entered the place of worship, it shall be encouraged to conduct a deep cleaning and disinfecting consistent with CDC guidance.
- Provide “no-touch” waste bins for collection of disposable services and PPE with appropriate trash bags, as prescribed by EO 23-20.