The California state government has issued a directive that temporarily bans singing and chanting in church and other places of worship.
In a bid to curb the soaring number of patients infected with COVID-19 in the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered tighter restrictions in public places. As of writing, California has more than 284,000 confirmed cases, with more than 6,000 new cases in one day, the second highest total for the state since the pandemic began, reports Australian news service, 9News.
The act of singing, itself, might have contributed to transmission through emission of aerosols, which is affected by loudness of vocalization. —Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that just like coughing and sneezing, singing in services spreads the deadly Coronavirus.
“The act of singing, itself, might have contributed to transmission through emission of aerosols, which is affected by loudness of vocalization,” CDC explained after one member of a choir in Washington spread the virus to 87% of people during practice.
When restrictions were eased up in late May, churches in California were allowed to have an attendance of 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower. The California Department of Public Health ordered: “Places of worship must take reasonable measures to remind congregants and visitors that they must use face coverings and practice physical distancing and should frequently wash their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer, and not touch their face.”
California’s new health protocols were criticized as “unconstitutional” and Newsom was accused as being biased after he allowed large George Floyd protests across the state, reports RT.com.
On Twitter, US Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote: “This is the text of an actual government order: ‘Places of worship must therefore discontinue singing….’ Grossly, transparently unconstitutional.”
Senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, Dr. Robert Jeffress tweeted: “The ‘science’ that allows for protests but prohibits singing in church is ‘fake science’ that must be rejected. If being outside makes protests safe, then why are beaches being shut down?”
Despite the criticisms on the singing ban, churches in the Golden State said they will comply with the new protocols. “We recognize that singing is a challenge,” said Jason Batt, chief operating officer of the Capital Christian Center, one of the largest churches in Sacramento. The church already cancelled its choir activities.