Easter, Passover and Ramadan observances should proceed virtually, or perhaps through drive-through services, according to advice provided today by Gov. Jared Polis.
Joined by Rev. Amanda Henderson, representing the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, Polis said this is both a wonderful and challenging time of year. Passover begins Wednesday night, Easter Sunday is in four days and Ramadan, the Muslim month-long observance dedicated to fasting, prayer and community, begins on April 23.
"We know staying home is hard" and that much harder during religious holidays, he said.
He advised people of faith to participate in online or drive-through services, the latter where available and where county guidelines don't forbid it.
Those who offer in-person worship must follow safety guidelines, including limiting gatherings to 10 people or less, encouraging congregants to wear non-medical masks, observe strict social distancing and sanitize all equipment according to federal and state public health requirements.
Guidelines for drive-up services including the use of electronic means for audio, require congregants to remain in their vehicles and ensure there are no opportunities for physical interaction.
Henderson added that her family is celebrating the Christian holidays "virtually. Typically, this is a time when we are celebrating spring and marking" the holy season, but COVID-19 has changed everything, including the faith community, she said.
"We have an opportunity to live our faith in new and deepening ways," she added. But the best thing to do: stay home.
The famous Red Rocks Easter service will be streamed online, she said.
Polis also announced that the HelpColoradoNow.org fund has drawn in almost $10 million and 10,000 volunteers, which he called remarkable.
In the coming week, state officials will start to see early results on the stay-at-home order, issued March 26 and extended to April 26. He also indicated that guidelines on how businesses can reopen will be released prior to April 26.
The end of the stay at home order will require having adequate testing in place, which will include more testing and temperature checks, he explained.
He said he picked April 26 because he believes it's a realistic date, and achievable, but that's based on people staying at home.
The news conference was held at the governor's mansion, a change made in the wake of a positive COVID-19 test with a staff member at the state's Emergency Operations Center in Centennial. Polis said that staffer was not involved in previous news conferences.
As the news conference was going on, in the park outside the governor's mansion, people were going about their lives, playing with dogs or hanging out with each other. Not one person out of perhaps a dozen in the park was wearing a mask.