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Commissioner of Health Reminds Religious Leaders of Ban on Public Gatherings

by Judith Persichilli, RN, BSN, MA Commissioner

As the state and our communities work to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, we would like to take a moment to send greetings to you and your faith communities at this time as you enter the month of April.

This month, the faithful of New Jersey’s religious communities will be celebrating various holidays, including Passover, Easter, Vaisahki and Ramadan.

While under normal circumstances these would be times to congregate for religious services and family gatherings, we continue to urge the residents of New Jersey to abide by the ban on social gatherings of any size set forth in the Governor’s Executive Order 107 that directs all residents to stay at home until further notice.

In an effort to strengthen the existing social distancing measures in place, the order prohibits the gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events unless otherwise authorized by the Order. We understand that while this may be disappointing to many who look forward to spending time visiting with relatives and friends, it is imperative to limit human interaction in an effort to help slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

We urge you to reach out to the members of your congregations and remind them that they should not be gathering for religious services or for meals until the ban is lifted. Remain at home with only those who live together in the household and celebrate together. Please notify your congregations of any live streamed or televised services that may be available and provide them with suggestions on how they can create meaningful celebrations at home without gathering with others.

Thank you for your cooperation during this unprecedented public health event. The more everyone cooperates and follows the social distancing recommendations, the sooner we can all return to our regular daily activities. On behalf of the New Jersey Department of Health, I wish you a joyous spring holiday season.