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Arizona Gov. Ducey provides additional guidance for places of worship

TUCSON, AZ- JANUARY 8: A woman kneels before praying during an interfaith service held at St. Augustine Cathedral in memorial for the six people that lost their lives in last years deadly shooting January 8, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona. Memorial services will be held throughout the day in Tucson to commemorate the one year anniversary of a shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded more than a dozen more including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). (Photo by Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey provided further social distancing guidelines as it pertains to places of worship.

On Tuesday, Ducey announced his new “Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger” executive order to reopen the state.

Places of worship have not had to close due to the coronavirus outbreak, as the act of attending places of worship has been defined as an essential activity.

And according to the new guidance, “there is no mandated physical distancing requirement” for those who participate in essential activities that are constitutionally protected.

However, “such protected activities should be conducted in a manner that provides appropriate physical distancing to the extent feasible,” per the new guidelines.

Under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, worshippers are encouraged to stay at home when sick and to stay at least six feet away from other patrons.

Adults 65 and older or those who have underlying medical conditions are advised to avoid places of worship.

The Department of Health Services also urges places of worship to consider safety measures such as offering more services throughout the week, more virtual services, more seating space between parties, providing hand sanitizer, wearing facial coverings, modifying financial donation collection methods, and limiting attendance, choir size and shared community items.

Recommendations for employees and volunteers include the implementation of symptom screening prior to the start of shifts, as well as safety training as it pertains to intense cleaning, disinfection, ventilation, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

All volunteers and employees are encouraged to maintain social distancing and to wear a facial covering when possible.

The department also recommends that any food sold at a place of worship should be individually packaged.

“All Arizonans should use their best judgment in suspending public activities that can be delayed for the purposes of protecting the individual and the public as well as preserving vital healthcare resources,” the order said.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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