The Trump administration with no advance notice removed warnings contained in guidance for the reopening of houses of worship that singing in choirs can spread the coronavirus.
Last Friday, the administration released pandemic guidance for faith communities after weeks of debate flared between the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those guidelines posted on the CDC website included recommendations that religious communities “consider suspending or at least decreasing use of choir/musical ensembles and congregant singing, chanting, or reciting during services or other programming, if appropriate within the faith tradition.”…
By Saturday, that version was replaced by updated guidance that no longer includes any reference to choirs or congregant singing and the risk for spreading virus. The altered guidance also deleted a reference to “shared cups” among items, including hymnals and worship rugs, that should not be shared. The updated guidelines also added language that said the guidance “is not intended to infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment.”
Two White House officials said the first version posted by the CDC was not approved by the White House. Once West Wing officials saw it, they asked the CDC to post a different cleared document without the choir references and other parts.