DeSantis’ Social Distancing Policy; Here’s What Church Pews Can Look Like This Sunday
-Gypsy C. Gallardo for Power Broker Media Group
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis spawned mass confusion this Wednesday about whether the physical “doors of the church” will be open this Sunday across the Sunshine State. As first reported by the Tampa Bay Times, “Hours after Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order Wednesday, he quietly signed another one that appears to override restrictions put in place by local governments to halt the spread of coronavirus.”
If it’s true that DeSantis’ order supersedes local “stay at home” orders, which is explicitly expressed in his second executive order (released 6:36 pm on Wednesday), then Florida could see another wave of mass church gatherings this Sunday.
While local officials scramble to clarify the Governor’s orders, they may also be gearing-up for the added burden of dispatching law enforcements to local congregations to observe whether social distancing guidelines are obeyed this weekend.
Per the Times, “DeSantis implied that the intention of his second directive was to block local governments from shuttering churches and synagogues during the outbreak…In a significant deviation from what experts advise, attending church services is considered an “essential activity.” DeSantis would also permit many outdoor activities, including golfing, if practiced with social-distancing.
“Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren said it’s now unclear whether churches and synagogues can hold large services with “500 people packed shoulder to shoulder.”
And church isn’t the only social gathering permitted by DeSantis’ orders. Power Broker reader Adrienne Reddick has researched the implications of the executive orders.
In addition to categorizing gun and ammo shops, laundromats, hardware stores and pet supply stores as “essential services,” Ms. Reddick found the following permitted and prohibited activities:
It is permitted to have a family of four, family of three, and family of five all sit in the same pew of a place of worship if each family unit is separated by six feet
It is prohibited to have six people who are not in the same family unit and who are not each separated by six feet in one church pew
It is permitted to have eight people who are not part of the same family unit in a doctor’s office waiting room if they are six feet apart
It is permitted to have a husband and wife sit next to each other in a doctor’s waiting room if they are separated from other patients by six feet
It is prohibited to have 15 customers who are not part of the same family unit all gathered less than six feet apart standing in front of the grocery store deli counter (implying that 15 family members could gather in this way)
It is permitted to have more than 10 people on the pier all watching the sunset if they are individuals or in family units and are separated by at least six feet
If Pastors take the law literally, here’s what church pews can look like this Sunday (legally), unless your local officials override or defy DeSantis.
To share news, views and resources with the Power Broker Media Group, email CEO Gypsy Gallardo.