Presbytery Guidance on Worship/Church Opening

Interim General Presbyter Fred Holbrook encourages church leadership to follow federal and state guidelines to prevent spread of COVID-19.

On May 28, Executive Order 79 ended social distancing requirements and capacity restrictions in Virginia. Businesses and organizations may enforce their own rules when it comes to mask-wearing, social distancing, and capacity restrictions.

This follows recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on May 13 that fully-vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. (Read more.)

Effective May 15, via amendment to Executive Order 72, Governor Ralph Northam lifted Virginia’s universal indoor mask mandate to align with CDC guidance:

  • Fully-vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings.
  • Businesses retain the ability to require masks in their establishments.
  • Employees who work in certain business sectors—including restaurants, retail, fitness, personal care, and entertainment—must continue to wear masks unless fully vaccinated, per CDC guidance.
  • Those who are unvaccinated or not fully-vaccinated are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all settings.
  • Masks will continue to be required in K-12 public schools, given low rates of vaccination among children.

Churches and individuals attending worship services should continue to follow the guidance for religious services (pages 40-43, dated 5/15/21) regarding recommendations and best practices for cleaning, signage, masks, and distancing.

Based on the above information, your church session together with your pastor and other staff determine the regulations and practices for your facility. Thank you for practicing the requirements specified. If you are unable to gather safely, please worship virtually until safety requirements can be followed.

Presbyterian Foundation Offers Resources Specific to COVID-19 Crisis

The Presbyterian Foundation has a collection of resources and information with faith communities in mind during the COVID-19 crisis.


  • Worship materials
  • Ministry ideas during a pandemic
  • Licensing guidance for streaming worship services
  • Online giving services
  • Stewardship suggestions



Worship resources


CDC’s main COVID-19 web page

Virginia Governor’s
COVID-19 web page

Virginia Department of Health
COVID-19 web page

For COVID-19 vaccine information specific to your local area, visit the website of your local health district