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Mayor Authorizes Drive-in Church Services
By Hawaii Family Advocates @ 9:21 PM :: 466 Views :: First Amendment, COVID-19

Drive-In Church Services

From Hawaii Family Advocates, May 14, 2020

Hallelujah!  Last night, Mayor Caldwell issued his 11th order on the COVID virus.  Among other things (it is 20 pages long) the Mayor yesterday authorized drive-in church services on Oahu starting May 15th (tomorrow).  That means this weekend your church is permitted by the Mayor to do so. 

In my capacity as an attorney in private practice and allied with Alliance Defending Freedom, I have been working with them and a couple of Hawaii churches to challenge the Governor and Mayor of Honolulu to immediately permit drive-in church services as a very first step in opening up the churches.  I had previously sent a letter to the Governor and the Hawaii Attorney General last week offering to help them craft a constitutional policy for church operations in Hawaii. I do not know and cannot say, what positive effect it may have had.

However, for Oahu churches, you may now conduct drive-in services. You will need to read the language below as it lists 6 requirements.  The following text is quoted from Exhibit A to the Mayor’s May 13, 2020 Emergency Order 2020-11 (specifically section 10 of the Exhibit A).  

We should still pursue in-building services on the same terms as other types of business operations that are relatively similar and we will be keeping that at the top of our thinking as we move further through May and June.  Praise God!

May 13, 2020

OFFICE OF THE MAYOR, CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU

EMERGENCY ORDER NO. 2020-11 (COVID-19 [Novel Coronavirus])

HO'OULU i HONOLULU 2.0 ("RESTORE HONOLULU 2.0")

EXHIBIT A

Designated Businesses and Operations. . . .

10.       Drive-in services. Starting on May 15, 2020, drive-in services (e.g., spiritual/religious services) may be conducted provided all of the following:

a.         All persons attending the service must drive up in an enclosed vehicle and remain in that same vehicle during the entire service.

b.         Vehicle windows, sunroofs and convertible tops must remain closed during the entire service, unless the vehicle is parked more than six (6) feet away from any other vehicle.

c.         Each vehicle may only be occupied by members of the same household or living unit.

d.         All City, state, and federal laws related to vehicle operation must be followed.

e.         Organizers and employees of the services must follow current City, State, and CDC guidelines.

f.          Generally, no food, beverages, equipment, or materials of any kind may be distributed or collected during the service. However, organizers may use unattended drop-boxes, or distribute preordered food, beverages, equipment, or materials consistent with CDC guidelines and this Order. Attendees of the service must remain in their vehicles at all times, except to use the restroom while complying with Social Distancing Requirements (including wearing a face covering and maintaining six (6) feet of physical distance between others).  Where restroom facilities are provided, the organizers must ensure the availability of handwashing stations or sanitizer, and the routine maintenance and cleaning of the facilities consistent with CDC guidance.

(Approved by GOV/HI-EMA 5/13/20)

Please let me know if your church elects to conduct drive-in services and what the experience turns out to be. 

Jim Hochberg, Esq.

President, Hawaii Family Advocates

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