A COVID-19 Easter/Passover: Q&A

Missourians Should “Stay And Pray” for Easter and Passover

 

Ahead of Easter Sunday and during Passover, the public health community is reminding Missourians to “stay and pray.” The next two weeks are particularly crucial for people to stay home and help stop the spread of COVID-19. These holidays are about community and family and the most important guidance we can provide now – and the most important thing people can do is to stay home.

Celebrating the Easter and Passover holidays are important, especially during these challenging times. We can offer some do’s and don’ts for Missourians to celebrate their faith safely – checking out online services, hosting a virtual family dinner, etc.

 

This week, Missouri’s public health community asks Missourians celebrating Easter and Passover to “stay and pray.”

  • This is a really important time in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19, commonly called coronavirus, in Missouri.
  • The next two weeks are critical for people to stay home and observe other healthy actions like:
    • Frequent handwashing.
    • Physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart from others you may encounter outside your own home).
    • Only leaving the house for essential functions like grocery shopping or attending medically necessary doctor’s appointments.
  • The actions of one affect us all. If we all commit to staying home, we will be able to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure our communities can successfully return to a more familiar way of life.

 

We know celebrating the Easter and Passover holidays are important, especially during these challenging times. There are ways to celebrate safely – so you don’t put yourself or others at risk.

  • DO look for alternatives to view Easter or Passover prayer services online or on TV.
  • DO celebrate with family via video chat or phone calls.
  • DO cook traditional foods at home to enjoy the familiar tastes and smells of the holiday. Eat dinner together via video conference.
  • DO follow guidance from your local public health agency.
  • DON’T attend an in-person Easter or Passover prayer service.
  • DON’T congregate in public areas like parks on Easter Sunday or during Passover.
  • DON’T invite loved ones or neighbors to celebrate at your home.
  • DON’T attend a celebration outside your home.
  • DO celebrate in person only with those that live with you.

 

Church is about family and community. In these times, the best way we can support our family and communities is to stay at home.

  • The way we celebrate traditions may be different this year, but you are not alone.
  • We all have a role to play in protecting the everyone in our communities, including those who share your place of worship or are served by your faith community.
  • If you are a faith-based organization, reach out to your local public health department to create a plan for Easter, Passover, or other services.

 

Q: What would you say to Missourians who are concerned about how they will celebrate Easter/Passover during coronavirus?

A: We know celebrating faith and the Easter/Passover holiday is important, especially during these challenging times. It is so important to commit to staying home – even on religious holidays – so we will be able to slow the spread of COVID-19. If we can slow the spread now, we will eventually be able to return to a more familiar way of life. There are ways to celebrate safely – so you don’t put yourself or others at risk. Those alternatives can include:

  • View holiday services online or TV
  • Celebrating with family on video chat
  • Cooking traditional foods at home and celebrating with the people who live with you

 

Q: Is it safe to attend church/temple in our community this weekend?

A: No. Unfortunately, it is not safe to attend an in-person service at this time. We know that the coronavirus is spreading in communities across Missouri, including Pike County. This is a very important time to stay at home to stop the spread of the disease in our community.

 

Q: We’ve heard about limiting gatherings to smaller groups. Is it ok for families to gather in their own homes to celebrate?

A: We are asking families to limit their celebrations to the people they live with. We know that it is hard to be separated from family members, especially on a holiday. For this Easter/Passover, we need to celebrate in our own homes and not invite other neighbors or family members to celebrate in-person. Staying apart is the best thing we can do for our loved ones right now.

 

Q: Do you worry that telling people not to celebrate the holiday infringes on their religious freedom?

A: Every aspect of our lives is being impacted by COVID-19, including our religious practices. If we are going to stop the spread of this disease and save lives, we must change our normal behaviors. This includes how we learn, how we work, and how we worship. We encourage people to celebrate their traditions at home and to stay connected with their families and faith communities without meeting in person.

 

Q: There aren’t currently a lot of/any cases in our community. Why can’t people go to religious services here?

A: One of the challenging things about this virus is that individuals can spread it even if they aren’t showing symptoms. The actions we take now will impact the number of infections in the days and weeks ahead. This is a really important time to stay at home to stop the spread of the disease in our community before we see a significant rise in cases.

 

Q: What are other ways that people can observe the holiday without going to in-person services?

A: Fortunately, there are ways to celebrate safely. Check in with your church/temple to find out how they are planning to celebrate. We’ve seen a lot of creative solutions, like:

  • Holding online services or televised services that you view safely from home.
  • Cooking traditional foods at home and celebrating with the people who live with you
  • Celebrating with friends and family on video chat or over the phone

 

Q: What can religious leaders do to keep their communities safe?

A: We encourage faith leaders to find creative ways to celebrate the spirit of the holiday without physically gathering. If you are a leader of a faith-based organization, please reach out to your local public health department to create a plan for Easter/Passover services.

 

This message from the Missouri Center for Public Health Excellence. Learn more >>>

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