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Churches ordered 'no singing' during livestream services unless they're in homes, California county COVID-19 restrictions say

What will government officials ban next?

Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images

A northern California county issued revised shelter-in-place orders on Good Friday that outlaw singing during livestream church services unless the services take place in residences.

What are the details?

The specifics within Mendocino County's 13-page document are found on page 8 under "Minimum Basic Operations" for "venues, such as concert halls, auditoriums, churches, temples, and playhouses, to enable a recorded and/or live-streamed event to be shared virtually with the public" — and then come the "limitations."

First off, the order states that "only four individuals may be present for the live event. All others must participate remotely," the document states.

Secondly, "Social Distancing Requirements must be maintained, include maintaining at least six feet of physical distancing from other individuals (physical distancing not required for members of the same household), frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer that is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as effective in combatting COVID-19, covering coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, not shaking hands, and, for those who are not on camera, to wear facial coverings as much as possible," the document notes.

'No singing or use of wind instruments'

And then the powers that be get into specific activities not allowed during livestream events: "No singing or use of wind instruments, harmonicas, or other instruments that could spread COVID-19 through projected droplets shall be permitted unless the recording of the event is done at one's residence, and involving only the members of one's household or living unit, because of the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19."

Anything else?

The order is in effect until May 10 and "violation of or failure to comply with this Order is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both," the document reads.

How are folks reacting?

Twitter users who got wind of the county's restrictions were none too pleased:

  • "No singing allowed?? This is insane!"
  • "How much more of this are we willing to accept?"
  • "This is a new low."
  • "Our religious freedom IS at stake."
  • "This should sadden us, but as Christians it certainly should not surprise us."
One last thing…
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