NC Governor Provides Clarity on Indoor Religious Services in Response to NC Sheriff's Association Resolution
Posted on Wednesday May 13, 2020

NC Governor Provides Clarity on Indoor Religious Services in Response to NC Sheriffs' Association Resolution

Date of Release: Tuesday May 12, 2020

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Rockingham County (N.C.) Sheriff Sam Page

[Rockingham County, N.C.] - One of the most frequently asked questions to the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office as of late, has centered around the the North Carolina Governor's Executive Order and gatherings at places of worship.

Therefore, on May 8th, Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page and the rest of the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association unanimously adopted and submitted a Resolution to Governor Roy Cooper. This Resolution specifically called on Cooper to amend his Executive Order No. 138 to provide that indoor worship services are not prohibited by Executive Order No. 138 if they adhere to similar requirements that allow for the operation of retail businesses. While Governor Cooper did not amend Executive Order 138, he did provide the NC Sheriffs' Association the following clarity regarding Outdoor Worship Services, Indoor Worship Services, Weddings and Funerals:

Outdoor Worship Services
There is no limit on the number of people that can attend outdoor worship or wedding services. Attendees should follow, as much as possible, the Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission highlighted in the Phase One Order. Therefore, an outdoor worship service, similar to a demonstration, may be held where families (from the same household) in attendance maintain at least six feet of social distancing from other families or individuals. The event must be held in an unenclosed space (i.e. not an outdoor facility with walls). Outdoor worship services are also allowed without these restrictions where participants remain in their cars.

Indoor Worship Services
Indoor worship services and weddings are allowed for gatherings of ten people or fewer in the same confined space. However, nothing prevents an indoor worship service from being shifted to multiple services over a period of time, or held in different rooms, to meet the requirements of the Phase One Order.

In situations where it is not possible to conduct worship services outdoors or through other accommodations -- such as through, for example, a series of indoor services of ten or fewer attendees, or through online services — the ten-person attendance limit on indoor worship services does not apply. For example, there may be situations in which particular religious beliefs dictate that some or all of a religious service must be held indoors and that more than ten persons must be in attendance. While indoors, participants should continue to adhere to the Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission.

Funeral services
To promote human dignity and limit suffering, up to fifty people may attend a funeral held indoors. People meeting at a funeral should observe the Recommendations to Promote Social Distancing and Reduce Transmission set forth in the Phase One Order.

"I thank Governor Cooper for responding to the North Carolina Sheriffs' Association Executive Committee and for providing this clarification for all of the citizens we serve", said Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page. "While we want everyone to be healthy and safe, part of that health for many is spiritual and those needs must be met too."

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This information has been released by:
Sgt. Kevin Suthard
Public Information Officer
Rockingham County Sheriff's Office
Office: (336) 634-3066

?DISCLAIMER: E-mail correspondence to and from this address may be subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law and may be disclosed to third parties


 Rockingham County North Carolina
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Rockingham County Government
371 NC Hwy 65
Reidsville NC 27320
Phone: 336.342.8100
Fax: 336.342.8105