SALT LAKE CITY — Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are reiterating travel guidelines for missionaries and their families. The procedures have been put in place as a precaution for missionaries returning home from service and for departing missionaries as they head to new assignments after temporarily returning home due to COVID-19.
In a prepared statement, Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said:
“As we have recently announced, missionaries throughout the world are departing for their new assignments and will continue to do so during the next several months. Others are returning home at the end of their service. When they depart or return home – regardless of location – we ask missionaries and their families to strictly follow established guidelines to prevent the spread of illness while at the airport or on an airplane. Families should limit the number of people picking up, dropping off, or accompanying a missionary based on local airport regulations.”
The statement was released after large groups gathered at the Salt Lake International Airport in March to welcome home missionaries that had been sent home from the Philippines. The event also led to criticism on social media.
About 30,000 missionaries were sent back to their home countries during the pandemic’s peak. They were instructed to self-quarantine for 14-days before preparing for new assignments in their home countries.
Woodruff went on to explain that missionaries are being instructed to follow social distancing and other regulations while traveling to their new assignments.
“Whenever missionaries are inside the airport or an airplane, they should wear a mask, avoid congregating in groups, not shake hands or hug, and obey all social distancing measures. Above all, missionaries and their families should promptly follow all instructions from airport officials or volunteers.”
The statement concluded by expressing appreciation the cooperation of missionaries and their families as they follow the safety guidelines.