COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Requirements for Faith-based Communities and Places of Worship
Executive Order 21-11 will begin Monday, March 15, 2021, at 12 p.m. (noon) and does not have an end date. Effective March 31, 2021, at 11:59 p.m., larger venues, restaurants, gyms, and pools will be able to expand their occupancy per the Stay Safe Guidance
(staysafe.mn.gov/industryguidance/index.jsp). Effective April 14, 2021, at 11:59 p.m., the requirement to work from home shifts to a strong recommendation.
The Stay Safe MN website may be updated with frequently asked questions about the Governor’s Executive Orders and related industry guidance. These frequently asked questions may also include clarifications to the requirements and recommendations in Executive Orders and guidance. See Frequently Asked Questions about Stay Safe MN (mn.gov/covid19/for-minnesotans/stay-safemn/faq.jsp) or Stay Safe Guidance for Businesses and Organizations (staysafe.mn.gov/industryguidance/index.jsp).
Updates to this guidance include a work from home update and to indoor occupancy limits to allow for 6 feet of distance between people from different households or groups of six people at all times on page 2. Prevent the spread of COVID-19 section on page 3 has also been updated.
Requirements under Executive Order (EO) 21-11
The full executive order (EO) with all requirements can be found at Executive Orders from Governor Walz (mn.gov/governor/news/executiveorders.jsp).
Social gatherings limited. Social gatherings are limited as described at Stay Safe in Social Gatherings (staysafe.mn.gov/individuals-families/social-gatherings.jsp). Most commercial activities are not considered social gatherings, so this change will not impact most industries.
Masks and face coverings required. EO 20-81, requiring face coverings in certain settings, remains in full force and effect, except as amended by EO 21-11. See Face Covering Requirements and COVID - 19 REPAREDNESS PLAN REQUIREMENTS FOR FAITH - BASED COMMUNITIES, PLACES OF WORSHIP, WEDDINGS, AND FUNERALS 2 of 10 Recommendations (www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facecover.html). In addition, Executive Order 20-81 allows industry guidance to establish additional face covering requirements for each sector, so businesses must comply with additional face covering requirements set forth in this document and other applicable industry guidance.
People at higher risk. All people currently living within the State of Minnesota who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, as defined by EO 20-55, are strongly urged to stay at home or in their place of residence and follow the provisions of EO 20-55.
Work from home. Through April 14, 2021, all people who can work from home must continue to do so. Effective April 15, 2021, working from home is strongly recommended, and businesses are strongly encouraged to provide reasonable accommodations under existing federal and state law for at-risk employees or employees with one or more members of their household who have underlying medical conditions and are not yet eligible for vaccination.
Business and activities are affected differently. For a full listing of all business and activity requirements and limitations, see the full executive order at Executive Orders from Governor Walz (mn.gov/governor/news/executiveorders.jsp). Please review the guidance below for industry specific requirements and applicable COVID-19 Preparedness Plan Guidance Requirements.
This guidance is for faith-based communities, places of worship, funeral homes and other venues that offer space for planned services or ceremonies such as worship, rituals, prayer meetings, scripture studies, weddings, and funerals. These venues must develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that follows the requirements in this guidance and the requirements in the COVID19 Preparedness Plan Guidance: Requirements for All Businesses and Other Entities (http://dli.mn.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/COVID_19_preparedness_plan_requirements_guidelines_b usinesses.pdf).
Limit indoor occupancy to allow for 6 feet of distance between people from different households or groups at all times.
Members of the same household (regardless of household size) are not required to maintain social distance from members of their household.
Alternatively, attendees or visitors may arrive and attend a ceremony with a group of a maximum of six people (which may include members of different households) and are not required to maintain social distance from members of their group.
Services and ceremonies are understood to be seated or stationary (i.e., in a standing area that is marked to ensure social distancing), except as otherwise provided in this guidance.
If the venue offers a space for patrons to mingle or gather before or after a service, the gathering must be conducted according to the venue guidance on the Entertainment and Meeting Venues (staysafe.mn.gov/industry-guidance/entertainment.jsp).
This guidance does not permit food and beverage service or consumption unless is an indispensable part of a ritual, service, or ceremony (e.g., communion). COVID - 19 REPAREDNESS PLAN REQUIREMENTS FOR FAITH - BASED COMMUNITIES, PLACES OF WORSHIP, WEDDINGS, AND FUNERALS 3 of 10
Services, ceremonies, events, and gatherings that involve food and beverage that is not an indispensable part of the service or ceremony must be conducted according to the venue guidance on the Entertainment and Meeting Venues (staysafe.mn.gov/industryguidance/entertainment.jsp).
Staff, workers, and attendees are required to stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms, tested positive, or have been exposed to COVID-19. See Quarantine Guidance for COVID-19 (www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/quarguide.pdf) and If You Are Sick: COVID-19 - Minnesota Dept. of Health (www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/sick.html) for more information.
Music is an integral part of many faith-based services, weddings, and funerals. Singing and instrumental music produced by woodwind or brass instruments are higher-risk activities for COVID19 spread due to the aggressive expelling of respiratory droplets. If choosing to provide live music of any kind, follow the requirements (and consider the recommendations) for Music Activities and Performances During COVID-19 (www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/musicguide.pdf).
Live music performances are allowed but performers must maintain physical distancing of 6 feet between other performers and 12 feet from the audience.
Congregational singing may occur if all participants wear face coverings