On April 27, Iowa and Missouri’s governors both issued new proclamations (click here for Iowa and here for Missouri) that remove restrictions for religious services amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As of May 1 in Iowa and May 4 in Missouri, churches of all sizes will be permitted to resume weekly in-person services provided they exercise proper social distancing and sanitation protocols.

Because there are areas in both states where the spread of the virus continues to grow, we urge all of our churches to prioritize the safety of their members and communities when making decisions about how to proceed.

As part of those considerations, below are our recommendations to any churches planning to resume in-person services:

  1. Follow any ongoing restrictions and guidelines of your city or county that go above and beyond these new state guidelines. If your city or county requires or requests that churches not begin meeting at this time, please do not begin meeting until those restrictions or guidelines expire.
  2. Make decisions in a transparent and cooperative manner. If there’s not a consensus among your church leadership that services resume, then please don’t resume. Make sure your members and visitors know what to expect when they come in the door (e.g. social distancing protocols, etc).
  3. Follow the social distancing and sanitation protocols as recommended by your city, county and state. If your facility doesn’t allow for this, please do not resume in-person services.
  4. If you have members who are in higher risk categories for contracting COVID-19 or who are uncomfortable meeting in person, encourage them to stay home and make accommodations for them to remain connected and involved in church life.
  5. Stay vigilant. If in-person services resume and there’s any indication that cases of COVID-19 are increasing in your area, be prepared to suspend services again.

Let’s all do our part to help reduce the risk of exposure by using common sense and following the guidelines above.