State Fire Marshal provides guidelines for religious services

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 6, 2020

BATON ROUGE– The Louisiana State Fire Marshal released the following regarding religous services. In accordance with Governor John Bel Edwards’ COVID-19 Proclamation released May 1, any outdoor religious and places of worship venue must adhere to strict mitigation standards in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The general operating matrix will require spacing of groups, limiting concentration of people, strict use of PPE, and frequent sanitizing. The specific requirements are provided below:

Life Safety and Egress:

Open areas with or without temporary tents, subject to local or parish rules and ordinances, must meet NFPA 101 Life Safety Code and must be open on all sides (no barriers). The tent must not be enclosed. The following conditions are required:

• The capacity is subject to social distancing requirements and spacing of seated attendees

with strict supervision provided by crowd managers;

• Limit group seating to persons who are members of the same household;

• Modify human contact as part of any religious ceremony

• State approved fire extinguisher within 75 feet of tent area; and

• Minimum 7-foot, 6-inch head room (ceiling height)

  Crowd Managers shall be provided to call for emergency evacuation, enforce social distancing requirements,  assign  seating  to  attendees  and  further  manage  any  movement  of  people throughout the service.

• This function can be performed by church ushers, staff or leadership;

• One Crowd Manager shall be provided for every 50 persons in attendance;

• In the event of a fire or other emergency they must call for evacuation and then call 911;

• Maintain six feet of distance between persons or congregated people of a household from others when entering, moving about, seating and exiting; and

• Seating of persons or congregated people of a household shall be assigned in a manner

that allows spacing of at least six feet from all other individuals seated

(This applies to seating available or either side, forward and behind).

Louisiana Department of Health Guidance:

It is encouraged that persons be asked not to attend if they are 65 years or older or have the identified comorbid, chronic health conditions

Personal Protective Equipment

• Crowd Managers are required to wear face masks

• Crowd Managers should wear gloves when handling chairs and other items as part of

their duties, and should wash their hands before and after assisting with set up/breakdown

• It is strongly recommended that attendees wear face masks

and/or church is considered, what phase the state is in as Louisiana moves through phases of return and what social distancing and sanitation guidelines are required for their specific operation in each phase.

  The portal also allows for citizens to file complaints when they are concerned about guidelines being properly followed.

“I am proud to be able to offer this easy-to-use tool for our state’s businesses to start, and continue, the process of getting back on their feet,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning. “I want the business and religious communities to know that the State Fire Marshal’s Office is your partner and your friend and we will support your efforts to succeed in every way that we can.”