As Easter Sunday approaches, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has issued guidelines for worship centers considering “drive-in” services.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ latest emergency proclamation prohibits “social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people.”  As a result, some worship centers are offering, or are considering, drive-in worship services. Reynolds’ proclamation does not prohibit places of worship from conducting drive-in services, but the IDPH has provided additional measures by which they must abide.

All persons attending the service must drive up in an enclosed vehicle and remain in that same vehicle during the entire service. Individuals cannot get out of their vehicle during the service for any reason.

All vehicle windows, sunroofs, and convertible tops must remain closed during the entire service.

No more than 10 people may be in a single vehicle. People in a single vehicle should be limited to members of the same household who have already been in close contact with each other and are not sick. A church hosting a drive-in worship service should take appropriate measures to ensure compliance, including having church officials or law enforcement available.

No food, beverages, communion, or other materials should be distributed before, after, or as part of the service.

Regarding collections or financial offerings, any offerings should NOT be collected by ushers going vehicle-to-vehicle or other methods that require in-person interaction. If a place of worship decides it is necessary to collect a physical offering, the safest manner would be a drop-box while vehicles are leaving the service.  Accepting online donations is the best practice.

For more information on state guidelines and restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, contact the Iowa Department of Public Health hotline at 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431 or visit https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus.