Unlike other states, Arkansas has never shut down places of worship during the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, the state has issued guidance to help ensure church meetings do not spread the coronavirus.
On Monday the Arkansas Department of Health issued updated guidance for churches and nonprofit organizations.
According to the state’s guidelines, churches are strongly encouraged to continue meeting online rather than in-person.
However, churches who meet in-person during this time must:
- Discourage churchgoers from attending meetings if they have fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other COVID-19 symptoms, or if they have been exposed to the virus.
- Advise people 65 or older or who have other underlying health conditions that they may not want to attend services
- Inform people that no one will be admitted without a face mask
Churches must provide hand sanitizer stations at all public entrances.
Congregants must maintain strict social distancing indoors and outdoors.
Meet and greet times should be outdoors, if possible; church refreshments should be outdoors only, as well.
According to the guidelines, churches also should refrain from having altar calls, passing items among churchgoers, and conducting childcare or Sunday school classes.
If the Arkansas Department of Health’s website fails to properly load the guidelines, you can find a copy of the guidelines on Google’s server here.