Limitations on public attendance at the General Conference in April, cancellations of many other large gatherings, and a change to missionary trainings due to COVID-19 have been been announced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In a statement on March 11, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church announced General Conference sessions will continue as planned but public attendance will not be permitted at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. In a separate letter, it was announced that stake and leadership conferences, as well as other large gatherings, would be cancelled in Asia, Asia North, Europe, Europe East, the United States and Canada.
Missionaries will also be trained virtually beginning March 16 at the Provo and Preston, England, training centers. Additionally, the Church is giving more specific guidance to areas where COVID-19 is of particular concern.
In response to the Church’s announcement, Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox released a joint statement applauding the decisions.
“We appreciate the prudent steps taken by senior leadership of The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints to help mitigate the spread of novel coronavirus. The Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force encourages all organizations in the state of Utah to consider adapting their normal operations to help slow the spread of coronavirus in their spheres. These adaptations will vary greatly depending on the scale and scope of events and daily operations. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made wise decisions that will help minimize exposure to the virus, while simultaneously allowing church members to participate in meetings that are important to their worship.”
Update 3/12/20: The Church has canceled all public gatherings worldwide, including stake conferences, sacrament meetings, and other branch, ward or stake activities. The cancellations will remain in effect for as long as the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles determine is necessary.