Office of Government Relations

Government and Public Health Information

Below you will find Episcopal Church statements and action alerts related to legislation and public policy concerning the COVID-19 outbreak and the U.S. government response both domestically and internationally. You will also find resources from the CDC and others providing health guidance and further information to assist you during this ongoing situation. Finally, at the bottom of the page are resources for definitions of terminology related to COVID-19 and the response local governments are taking.

If you have questions concerning this material, write to us

Episcopal Church Statements & Action Alerts

Action Alerts

As we have highlighted, COVID-19 reveals the discrimination and systemic racism that pervades our society, and we have seen that the disease has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color, especially Black and Indigenous Americans. Congress needs to act to help our country make it through this pandemic, and our government has a role in helping us all through this moment of national trauma. 

Urge Congress to address the needs of Indigenous people and communities in the U.S. who, even before this pandemic, lagged far behind the rest of the country in public safety, health care, education, housing, and economic development. 

9 actions you can take today to learn about and address police violence in your communities
In the midst of this public health and economic crisis, the country and the Church have also been called to respond to racist violence perpetrated at the hands of the police. The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council passed resolutions acknowledging and addressing the issue of police violence and police reform. Take action, joining with Episcopalians around the world, using the resources linked here.

You can also thank Congress for their work so far:

Thank Congress for Passing the Stimulus Bill!

Below are the previous action alerts on this issue, which are still accessible links, but are here for reference only and not for sending.

Alert 1 Focus: Critical Hunger Programs

Alert 2 Focus: Prioritizing Those in Need!

Alert 3 Focus: A Now Retired Alert, This Encouraged Action for a Bill Now Signed Into Law

Alert 4 Focus: Urge the House to Pass the Stimulus Bill (no link available)


The Dangers of Detention During COVID-19

From May 11th
The Episcopal Church was no great supporter of the pre-pandemic enforcement regime and has long supported alternatives to policies like immigrant detention. In the face of a virus easily spread by contact in close quarters, our government has an obligation to ensure the health and well-being of all those in its custody, including detained immigrants.

COVID-19, Health Disparities and Systemic Racism: How do we respond as people of faith?

From April 29th
Read the remarks from Rebecca Linder Blachly, director, Office of Government Relations, at an event sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago’s Antiracism Commission, on #COVID19, health disparities and systemic racism, and how we can respond as people of faith.

Statement on President Trump’s Recent Immigration Executive Order

From April 24th
At this challenging moment for our nation and for countries and peoples around the globe, we continue to stand by Christian principles, including the fundamental human rights of all people and the importance of family unity.

Refugees and COVID-19

From April 23rd
This statement highlights international and domestic U.S. concerns for refugees in various contexts, the positive steps taken to assist them during this pandemic, and the work ahead.

OGR Statement and Recommendations on COVID-19

From March 11th
This statement focuses on U.S. domestic response to COVID-19, including resources on health precautions and legislative and policy recommendations.

Immigrants and COVID-19

From March 24th
This statement focuses on immigrant populations particularly within the U.S. and the unique challenges they face in this moment.

International Response on COVID-19

From March 16th
This statement focuses on U.S. policy towards international contexts and responding to COVID-19, including work with multilateral organziations, xenophobia, and the need to work together across borders to address the pandemic.

Letter to Appropriators Regarding COVID-19

The Episcopal Church joined this letter thanking leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for their efforts acting to provide support for key global humanitarian and development programs in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sign On Letters

Government Information Pages

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Collaborating to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health – through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats.

US Census Bureau
Census Bureau Statement information on 2020 Census adjustments concerning COVID-19.

World Health Organization (WHO)
On this website, you can find information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. Please visit this page for daily updates.

United Nations (UN)
Coronavirus global health emergency: Coverage from UN News.

Definitions and Terminology

Individual Practices During COVID-19

Physical Distancing/Social Distancing: deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness (generally 6 feet of space). Both terms are used synonymously. Includes but is not limited to:

  • Working from home instead of at the office
  • Closing schools or switching to online classes
  • Visiting loved ones by electronic devices instead of in person
  • Cancelling or postponing conferences and large meetings

Self-Quarantine: for people who have been exposed to the new coronavirus and who are therefore at risk of coming down with COVID-19. Self-quarantine lasts 14 days and involves:

  • Using standard hygiene and washing hands frequently
  • Not sharing things like towels and utensils
  • Staying at home
  • Not having visitors
  • Staying at least 6 feet away from other people in your household

Isolation: for people who are confirmed to have COVID-19. The same practices for self-quarantine should be used. Most people can isolate at home unless serious symptoms develop. Isolation should last for as long as instructed by your medical provider.

Government Orders During COVID-19

Stay-at-home ordervaries from state to state, so check with your local government officials for specifics. In general, all nonessential services are closed, and residents are urged to stay in their homes as much as possible. When going out for essential services, stay 6 feet away from other people. Most states, but not all, allow outdoor exercise so long as social distancing is maintained. Health and safety services, pharmacies, transit services, food banks, grocery stores, convenience stores, and carryout restaurants are usually still open.

Shelter-in-place orderShelter-in-place orders (repurposed for response to the new coronavirus) also vary from state to state and generally impose similar restrictions to a stay-at-home order. Some are legally enforced with fines and/or imprisonment.

Names Used by Health Officials

For the disease: coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
For the virus: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), “the virus responsible for COVID-19,” or “the COVID-19 virus”

The Office of Government Relations