Carson City, NV - December 15, 2020
Today, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak issued the following statement in response to the Ninth Circuit reversal of a lower court ruling on the State’s restrictions on houses of worship. In response, Governor Steve Sisolak issued the following statement:
“The purpose of this Directive – and all of the directives the State has issued since the onset of this global pandemic – was and is to save lives and protect the health of the public. While we’re disappointed by the Court’s decision, we respect and will comply with this Order. I continue to encourage Nevadans to practice their religious faiths in a manner that is safe for them and their families, particularly with the upcoming holidays. I have often talked to Nevadans about my personal faith and I will continue to participate in virtual masses at this time.”
“To the vast majority of faith leaders throughout Nevada, I know this has been a difficult year as you've worked to lead the faithful while trying to keep them safe from this devastating virus. Many of you have had to provide not just spiritual support and guidance, but also counseling and community support to your followers. I want to express my gratitude to you for making sure Nevadans are taking care of Nevadans.”
“There is no doubt that your faithful followers will continue looking to you as role models during these challenging times. As respected and trusted leaders in our communities, I ask that you continue to do all you can to protect your worshippers and the faithful, especially when COVID-19 infection rates, hospitalizations, and deaths are at an all-time high in Nevada.”
“In an effort to protect the most vulnerable among us and care for our neighbors during this difficult time, I am asking all faith leaders and houses of worship to implement the public health measures that are proven to mitigate the spread. These measures include wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing, limiting the size of gatherings and the duration of services, and seeking virtual service options.”
While houses of worship, including churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples may now conduct indoor in-person services in a manner so that occupancy may include up to 25% of listed fire code capacity, the Governor still recommends that faith leaders limit services to gatherings of no more than 50 people during this dangerous stretch of the pandemic.
Additionally, the Governor reminds faith leaders that indoor, in-person services must continue to abide by the following rules under Section 7 of Directive 035:
- Seating must be arranged to ensure a minimum of six feet of separation between congregants who do not reside in the same household.
- Participants, including leaders and staff, must wear face coverings as required by Directive 024.
- Houses of worship are encouraged to stagger services so that the entrance and egress of congregants for different services do not result in services exceeding the 25% occupancy limit, and to provide proper sanitation between services.
- Houses of worship are still strongly encouraged to offer online and drive-up services to the greatest extent possible.
- Houses of worship offering indoor-in-person services are encouraged to follow the guidelines promulgated by the Nevada Department of Business and Industry or its constituent agencies.