California Bans Singing in Churches


California has temporarily banned singing and chanting in places of worship as the state battles the second wave of COVID-19 cases.

The California Department of Public Health updated its COVID-19 guidelines on Wednesday and required churches to “discontinue singing and chanting activities.”

Places of worship are also required to limit their indoor attendance to 25 percent capacity or 100 attendees, whichever is lower.

“In particular, activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk-reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing,” the guidelines read.

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study on a Washington state choir practice where COVID-19 was rapidly spread.

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“The act of singing, itself, might have contributed to transmission through emission of aerosols, which is affected by loudness of vocalization,” the study read.

As of Thursday, there have been 240,195 cases of COVID-19 in California, according to data from the California Department of Public Health.

There are also 5,355 people hospitalized with COVID-19 and 1,676 in intensive care units.

The new guidelines were released the same day California Gov. Gavin Newsom reversed the reopening of 19 counties, including Sacramento, The Sacramento Bee reported.

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Indoor restaurant dining was ordered to be stopped in the affected counties and movie theaters, card rooms and indoor museums were closed.

The new order applied to counties that have been on the County Monitoring List for three or more consecutive days, including Fresno, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Riverside.

California churches pushed back on Newsom’s original stay-at-home order in March and some even sued the governor to overturn the order.

Capital Christian Center, one of Sacramento’s largest churches, said that it will follow the new guidelines put in place.

The church has put its choir activities on hold and has already limited singing to a few leaders on stage.

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“We recognize that singing is a challenge,” said Jason Batt, the church’s chief operating officer.

The state is also recommending counties cancel fireworks shows this weekend and reminding people they should avoid crowds.

“Additionally, all parking facilities at state beaches in Southern California and the Bay Area will be closed for the upcoming weekend,” the news release read.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith