By now you have probably heard that Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered that all in-person worship services cannot meet in almost all counties in California. Although Hawaii is not included in this edit, with the recent spikes in the number of confirmed cases and also deaths from COVID-19, we strongly urge that our Hawaii churches close temporarily in order to keep our congregations safe and keep Hawaii from experiencing the resurgence all over the nation.
This means that all applications for re-opening must be put on hold, and churches that have already reopened must close for now. The one exception is for outside worship with social distancing and face masks. All of the protocols must also be met in order to hold worship outdoors.
Churches who livestream or tape their worship can continue if the gathering is 10 or less and observe all the safety protocols. Small groups can also meet, but it might be prudent to meet by Zoom or internet during this huge increase in COVID-19 cases. As our own medical experts caution us, the virus is now spreading through all forms of social contact and the results should scare all of us. There is evidence that the virus can be airborne, which means we can contract it through casual contact with almost anyone. One can be asymptomatic and appear perfectly healthy but still be able to infect anyone they come into close contact with.
The current statistics should scare us all: It is estimated that 9 family members are affected by 1 COVID-19 death. Since to date we have lost 137,871 lives in the U.S. This means that 1.22 million Americans are dealing with the loss of someone to COVID-19.
The safety of all of us is the number one priority right now, and we must do all we can to protect each other.
Be the Hope,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop