Minnesota places of worship set to reopen with restrictions Wednesday

Places of worship across Minnesota are able to partially reopen Wednesday as long as they follow restrictions put in place by state officials.

Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order on Saturday that let churches, synagogues, mosques and temples to open their doors to worshippers this week. They’re allowed to open at 25% occupancy or have a maximum of 250 people in one place — whichever is less.

Gov. Walz signs executive order to allow safe worship, weddings, funerals

Minnesota Catholic, some Lutheran churches plan to defy Walz’s executive order by reopening next week

The executive order also allows for weddings and funerals, although it does not extend to receptions or other social events. Congregations will have to maintain social distancing guidelines and have a COVID-19 preparedness plan in place.

Walz’s announcement came after Catholic and some Lutheran churches said they planned to reopen regardless of restrictions.

Regardless, many places of worship in the Twin Cities have pledged to continue holding services online.

Minnesota Department of Health guidelines urge churches to avoid singing during services and instead opt for pre-recorded music or to have just one cantor singing at least 12 feet away from any worshippers. Singing is a particular risk because it more forcefully expels the respiratory droplets that carry coronavirus.

Hymnals and religious texts will have to be removed, as they are too difficult to clean, according to the MDH.

A full list of guidelines can be found on the MDH website.