San Tan Valley Area Information

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Pinal County Guidance for Faith-Based Organizations During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Governor Ducey's Executive Order 2020-18 for "Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected," was issued as part of the State's efforts to "flatten the curve" for the COVID-19 impact on the healthcare system, as well as keeping Arizonan's safe. 

The Order also identified certain "essential activities" such as "engaging in constitutionally protected activities such as speech and religion" for the citizens of Arizona, "provided that such is conducted in a manner that provides appropriate physical distancing to the extent feasible." 

While recognizing and respecting such rights, Pinal County continues to promote and strongly recommends all efforts to practice physical distancing as recommended by the CDC, Arizona Department of Health Services, and Pinal County Public Health District. 

Below are some "best practices" that we have gathered from various Faith-Based Organizations around the County, State, and the U.S. for maximizing physical distancing while continuing to support the individual's right to practice their identified religion.
Suggested Practices

Faith-Based Organizations (FBO) in Pinal County have taken measures to comply with the orders for Physical Distancing. There are a couple of formats that most are using:
 
  • A majority have moved to online platforms
  • Most also offer a contact number for parishioners that do not have or understand online platforms
  • Most have actively advertised for parishioners to stay away from and not use their buildings 
  • Most have instituted "check in" procedures for parishioners to keep contact with their vulnerable populations and those in need.
 
Suggestions for Sunday services include:

  • Using platforms such as Facebook Live (Free with your Facebook account), Zoom (Some costs involved based on the number of users) or Google Hangout (Free access to their advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite customers) to live broadcast presentations.
  • Conducting services in areas where physical distancing can occur and using mitigating efforts such as folding chairs set 6' or more apart, instead of church pews for seating during service.
  • Conducting services utilizing a Public Address (PA) System outdoors and encouraging the congregation to remain in their personal vehicles. One FBO is using a "drive-up model" for parishioners to gather in their parking lot and offering a limited amount of chairs spaced apart.
  • Temporarily discontinuing the practice of "passing the plate," taking offerings and other practices that require or encourage people to engage in making personal or indirect contact.
  • Temporarily discontinuing the practice of singing during worship by the congregation and choir service.
  • Temporarily discontinuing or establish alternate methods for giving/receiving communion.
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