Since COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets by person-to-person contact, the IDPH recommends avoiding or limiting certain activities at places of worship that pose a heightened of viral transmission. Instead of singing and group recitation and similar practices and performances, the IDPH recommends adopting silent recitation, using prerecorded music, or having a single singer in a separate area with speaker transmission. The IDPH also recommends discontinuing serving food and beverages. Additionally, the IDPH recommends waving or other greetings instead of greetings that break physical distance. Lastly, IDPH advises modifying or discontinuing certain rituals involving kissing, bathing, and other practices that encourages the spread of COVID-19.
For those following the lawsuit filed by Elim Romanian Church against Governor Pritzker to challenge the State’s restrictions on religious services, that case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court last week. The U.S. Supreme Court denied the church’s appeal, finding that the case was “moot” because the IDPH had issued its new guidance on May 28th that lifted the restrictions challenged by the church.
In a separate decision involving a California lawsuit filed by a place of worship, the Supreme Court found that California’s restrictions on places of worship did not violate the First Amendment, holding that the state had a compelling government interest in protecting the health and safety of residents and that the state’s restrictions did not treat places of worship less favorably than comparable assembly uses.