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Health Commissioner Orders Churches Close Due To COVID-19

In order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the community, the Health Commissioner is prohibiting church gatherings in Allen County, including those held in non-church venues.

The order was issued Saturday in response to health officials learning some local congregations were still hoping to gather in small, separated groups of 10 for bible study or modified services. The order, effective Sunday, March 22 at 12:01 a.m., states no gatherings with an aggregate total of more than 10 individuals in a church building is permitted.

“While we understand people are still in need of spiritual guidance during these difficult times, we need to be sure everyone grasps the importance of social distancing and avoiding any non-essential gatherings,” said health commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan. “We need the whole community’s cooperation in slowing the spread of COVID-19 to a pace that allows our healthcare systems to provide essential medical care to the expected growing number patients who will contract the virus in addition to all other patients they serve on a regular basis.”

The order is effective until April 11 at 11:59 p.m. or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended in writing by the Health Commissioner.

Please note for public clarification: the order regarding church services issued Saturday by the Health Commissioner does not affect child care and day care services operated from those facilities.

Child care and day care facilities are considered essential services according to state guidance and allowed to operate in accordance with any issued Family and Social Services Administration rulings in this regard.

Guidance for such facilities can be found at

The full order can be found at