People in California can still attend their house of worship. But they are now being warned against singing or chanting during services.

Fearing the spread of the novel coronavirus, updated COVID-19 regulations were issued on Wednesday by the California Department of Public Health instructing that “places of worship must therefore discontinue singing and chanting activities.”

And although California Governor Gavin Newsom initially allowed religious institutions to reopen in late May, the state is now saying that these institutions should “strongly consider discontinuing singing, group recitation, and other practices and performances.”

Health agencies including the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claim that shouting or singing can spread the coronavirus just as easily as can coughing or sneezing.

California’s health department concurs, and as Newsom started to tighten restrictions during a resurgence of the pandemic, it now says that both singing and chanting are outright banned.

“Activities such as singing and chanting negate the risk reduction achieved through six feet of physical distancing,” the state said in its new guidelines.

California Senator Melissa Melendez cynically to the ban saying: “Singing, chanting and group recitation now banned in church by order of King Newsom. So basically you can go, you just can’t actually participate in active religious activities. But hey, shout “defund the police” all you want.”

Texas senator Ted Cruz (R) called the move “Grossly, transparently unconstitutional.”