This Monday Governor Gavin Newsom released guidelines for safely reopening religious institutions in the State of California. The guidelines allow for up to 25 percent of a building’s capacity capped at 100 people. The plan also contains 12 pages of safety measures that will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in religious communities. Yesterday, the guidelines became operative in the city of Los Angeles.
These guidelines have been released at an opportune time for California Jews. At the end of this week, Jews all over the state will be celebrating the holiday of Shavous, a holiday which is chiefly observed with communal prayer.
Agudath Israel of California has been hard at work daily regarding this issue by contacting representatives and senators. With the help of the Jewish Caucus of the California Legislature , specifically Sen. Henry Stern, as well as Sen. Ben Allen and Assemblyman Richard Bloom, Agudath Israel ensured this issue was a top priority for the Governor.
Earlier this month, Dr. Irving Lebovics, Chairman of Agudath Israel of California, was asked to join a committee to review these guidelines. In fact, many of the instructions the guidance dictated were directly lifted from Agudath Israel’s guidelines that were released in early May.
Dr. Lebovics was very grateful to the Governor for the guidance, saying, “We are very thankful to the Governor for prioritizing this issue. The Jewish residents of the state of California consider these houses of worship essential and have been aching to return in a safe manner.”