WASHINGTON — Evangelical singer Sean Feucht is planning to host a large "worship protest" in the District this weekend, which is expected to draw nearly 15,000 participants to the National Mall for prayer, singing and mass baptisms.
The event, according to the National Park Service permit application, will take place on the National Mall on Sunday morning at 9 a.m.
Sunday's event is the final stop of Feucht’s “Let Us Worship” tour, which has showcased thousands of participants seen not wearing masks in other cities, despite the coronavirus pandemic still present.
Feucht’s tour has received criticism from not only public health officials but from other faith leaders – as participants, including Feucht's staff, are seen not wearing masks or abiding by social distancing restrictions per CDC.
The permit for Feucht's event lists a COVID-19 mitigation plan that includes masks and gloves for the crew, sanitization of high-touch areas backstage, sanitation stations outside portable restrooms, and "a sign placed at the table where we will give away Bibles."
To view the full copy of the permit issued by the National Park Service, see below:
Within the permit, there is no mentioning of masks or face coverings being required by those who choose to attend.
"For all permit applications, we discuss a COVID-19 mitigation plan with the event organizers, but that plan is not a requirement for or condition of the permit," according to an official with the National Park Service. "While the National Park Service strongly encourages social distancing, the use of face coverings and other measures to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, we will not require nor enforce their use."
The National Park Service said they have posted signs throughout the National Mall highlighting the CDC's recommendations and are asking visitors to follow that guidance to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The District remains in Phase 2 of their reopening plan, as Mayor Muriel Bowser announced earlier this month that the District's Public Health Emergency order has been extended until Dec. 31, 2020. The previous emergency order was set to expire Oct. 9 but was extended.
The emergency order should not be confused with a stay-at-home order.
Currently, in Phase 2, telework is still encouraged within the District, and mass gatherings are permitted up to 50 people. Certain activities, like churches, are allowed to increase that number if requested and approved from a waiver.
A number of restrictions still remain in place in order to slow the spread of the virus.
Here's what's Phase 2 looks like in the District:
- Restaurants, non-essential retail and beverage establishments can open indoors at 50% capacity. Indoor dining must have tables six feet apart, with no more than 6 people to a table.
- Gyms, yoga studios and dance classes can reopen with restrictions like having only 5 people allowed per 1,000 sq. feet and an emphasis on smaller group classes.
- Movie theaters, entertainment venues are to remain closed. Certain programs and events could reopen if the venue applies and is approved for a waiver.
- Houses of worship, churches can resume at a maximum 50% capacity, with choirs discouraged.
- Libraries can reopen at 50% capacity.
- Pools: D.C. public pools will reopen for structured activities like lessons, lap swimming.
- Parks and fields may reopen for activities, including playgrounds.
- Nail salons, tanning and waxing: Open by appointment only with stations at least six feet apart
- Colleges and universities in D.C. can begin reopening, as long as they have submitted their reopening plan to D.C. Council.
- Camps can reopen as long as there are no more than 10 people to a cohort.