Update: An earlier version of Mayor Lucas’s stay-at-home order did include a point asking that churches take record of attendees. As of Lucas’ May 4 updated order, this is no longer compulsory. Liberty Council's article mentioned in this fact check was true at the time of its publication (May 1), and they have since published an update reflecting the new order visible here .
A widely shared claim online alleges that Kansas City, Missouri, is requiring churches to maintain an attendee register and submit it to the government.
One post states: “Kansas City, Missouri, officials are now requiring every church to submit a list of members and attendees,” and “Churchgoers Must Register With the Government in Kansas City”.
The claim, which likely stems from an article published on the religious organization Liberty Council’s website on May 1, 2020, visible here , is inaccurate. Some iterations of the post include a screenshot from the Liberty Council article.
The Office of Mayor Quinton Lucas confirmed to Reuters that Kansas City is recommending, not requiring, public-facing establishments and in-person religious gatherings to maintain a record of attendees on the premises for a minimum of 30 days.
Mayor Lucas’ Stay-at-Home Order update signed on May 4, establishes that: “in the interest of public health and to avoid a Covid-19 outbreak in the community, event organizers should consider maintaining a record of attendees where appropriate. Attendees are not required, however, to provide their names or contact information at any religious gathering.” (Points H and F visible here )
The recommendation is not exclusive to religious gatherings. It applies to all non-essential retail stores and personal care services in which non-employees typically spend more than 10 minutes inside, like restaurants and salons. (See Section Two, Letter F, page 3 here )
This recommendation is to “help with contact tracing in the case that a COVID-positive individual visited said establishment while they were ill”, a spokesperson from the Office of Mayor Quinton Lucas told Reuters.
It is misleading to say these records will serve tracking and surveillance purposes. In a statement shared with the media, Mayor Lucas stressed the government “will not create or keep any records” from this information and that “the Health Department is bound to confidentiality as it works with any organization to protect its attendees.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes contact tracing as a “key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19” and as a “core disease control measure” that has been employed by health department personnel for decades ( here ). As countries investigate how to lift stay-at-home orders, extensive contact tracing will be needed to prevent new outbreaks. Read more about how it works here .
Partly False. Churches and other public establishments are recommended, not required, to keep a record of attendees to help health authorities with contact tracing amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .