First Presidency Provides Guidelines for Safely Returning to Church Meetings and Activities

Returning to Church

The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have authorized a phased return to some of the faith’s weekly worship services and activities. A letter sent today to general and local leaders around the world says this can be done only when local government regulations allow and after the faith’s Area Presidencies provide additional guidance to local Church leaders.

social distancing
Latter-day Saint leaders, chorister, organist, and speaker participate in local COVID-19 regulations by wearing face masks and sitting 6 feet apart while singing hymns.

A two-phase approach will be used, always following government regulations to ensure the health and safety of all involved. The models below may be adjusted by Area Presidencies as local conditions require and as approved by their contact in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Presidency of the Seventy.

hand santization
Holders of the priesthood wear face masks while they sanitize their hands before blessing the sacrament.

Stake presidents, counseling with bishops, will determine the specific timing for resumption of meetings and activities.

church meetings
A young Aaronic priesthood holder reflects local COVID-19 guidelines by wearing a face mask and applying hand sanitizer before distributing the sacrament to members of the Church.

Sabbath Day Worship Services: Phase 1

Shortened meetings at the meetinghouse with up to 99 individuals, following local government regulations.

blessing sacrament
An Aaronic priesthood holder follows local COVID-19 guidelines by wearing a face mask as he blesses pieces of bread. The bread represents the body of Jesus Christ.

Other Meetings and Activities (including weddings and funerals): Phase 1 Shortened meetings, following local government regulations; may be held remotely using technology.

Sabbath Day Worship Services: Phase 2

Meetings at the meetinghouse with 100 or more individuals, following local government regulations.

Returning to Church
A family receives the sacrament tray while holding their face masks. The priesthood holder follows COVID-19 recommended public guidelines by wearing a face mask and distributing the sacrament tray to each Church member.

Other Meetings and Activities: Phase 2 Meetings at the meetinghouse, following local government regulations.

“We are grateful for the faith of our members as they have worshipped at home and are grateful for the blessings that will come as we gather for worship and activities,” the First Presidency said.

General Guidelines

Church leaders are instructed to consult the First Presidency letter from April 16, 2020, “Administrative Principles in Challenging Times,” and its two enclosures (see here and here).

social distancing
Latter-day Saint families reflects local COVID-19 social distancing guidelines by leaving an empty row between where they sit as they sing hymns during a Sunday worship service.

They are also invited to consider these additional principles and guidelines to continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Use an abundance of caution in protecting the health and safety of members. Pay particular attention to members whose health or age puts them at high risk.
  • Advise individuals who do not feel well, who have been asked to self-quarantine or who exhibit any of the following symptoms that they should not attend meetings: fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache, runny nose, or sore throat.
  • Follow social distancing, handwashing and other practices described in “Preventative Measures for Members.”
giving a talk
A Latter-day Saint gives a talk during a Sunday worship service. Different members are given the opportunity each week to speak to the congregation.
  • Follow government regulations in each location regarding public gatherings, including meeting size, frequency and duration. Please apply government regulations.
  • Please return to regular practices slowly, continuing to function remotely using technology while beginning in-person meetings in a phased approach, as described above. Priority for in-person gatherings should be given to meetings during which ordinances are performed, such as baptisms and sacrament meetings.

The notice to leaders provides additional guidance on social distancing, what to do when more than the advised number of Church members want to attend a meeting, how to handle multiple congregations in a meetinghouse, appropriate sanitary procedures, safe administration of the sacrament and more. Read these details in the complete notice

 Additional Resources 

·First Presidency Letter: Safely Returning to Church Meetings and Activities 

·As COVID-19 Restrictions Ease, Here's How the Church Is Reintegrating