Yes. It is permissible to hold:
- Outdoor services on the organization’s property (or immediately adjacent property if explicitly permitted by the local jurisdiction) with up to 200 individuals, excluding organization staff. Indoor services at a place of worship with up to 25% capacity or up to 200 people, whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing can be achieved between groups (15 people maximum, limit 2 households per group). If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking requirements apply.If your organization has multiple rooms or another building, each can hold services for up to 25% of the space’s capacity or 200 people, whichever is less, so long as each room meets the following requirements:
- Each room has a door that leads outside that can be used as the entrance and exit
- Each room has restrooms
- Six feet of physical distancing between groups (15 people maximum, limit 2 households per group)
- Individuals in one room shall not enter other parts of the building if they are being used for services
- In-home services or counseling inside a person’s residence with up to five total individuals (excluding organization staff)
Any organization volunteers are included in the maximum number of permissible individuals. The services covered in these operational guidelines include all worship services, religious study classes, religious ceremonies, religious holiday celebrations, weddings, and funerals.Organizations are strongly encouraged to keep a log of attendees at each service or counseling session, and to retain that log for at least two weeks. If an outbreak occurs, this information may be critical to help save lives.
All organizations (including religious and faith-based organizations) have a general obligation to keep a safe and healthy facility in accordance with state and federal law, and comply with the following COVID-19 organization-specific safety practices, as outlined in Governor Jay Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation 20-25, and in accordance with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries General Requirements and Prevention Ideas for Workplaces and the Washington State Department of Health Workplace and Employer Resources & Recommendations.Religious and faith-based organizations must specifically ensure operations follow the main L&I COVID-19 requirements to protect employees, members, and visitors:
- Always maintain minimum six-foot separation between all employees, members, and visitors. When strict physical distancing is not feasible for a specific task, other prevention measures are required, such as the use of barriers.
- Educate all employees in the language in which they are most proficient about COVID-19, how to prevent transmission of the virus, and the owner’s COVID-19 policies. Trainings on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are available by request from Public Health – Seattle & King County.
- All employees, members, and visitors aged 5 and older in attendance must wear face coverings before, during, and after services.
- Exceptions: children ages 4 years and younger; those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or rely on facial cues to communicate; anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, or unable to remove the face covering without help; or anyone who has been advised by a medical professional to not wear a face covering because of personal health issues.
- Religious and faith-based organizations are required to provide face coverings to employees and volunteers. Additionally, they must require the use of face coverings by visitors. The State has additional information on face covering requirements.
- See additional services below on accessing free face coverings.
- Screen employees for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 before every shift. Ask members and visitors to self-screen for sign/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to attending services. Anyone with a sign or symptom of COVID-19 should not attend services and should self-isolate.
- Request employees, members, and visitors to take their temperature before attending a service. Any individual with a temperature of 100.4°F will not be permitted to attend the service or attend work at the organization.
- Any individual with a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or with symptoms of COVID-19 (including a fever above 100.4°F) may not attend the service or attend work at the organization. If they are fully vaccinated, they may not need to quarantine.
- Regularly clean and sanitize your workplace, especially frequently touched surfaces. Follow cleaning guidelines set by the CDC.
- Singing and chanting are high-risk activities because they can spread infectious droplets.
- Choirs and Congregational Singing with up to 15 singers are permitted to sing indoors during the service so long as each singer maintains 9 feet (12 feet is encouraged) of physical distancing and wears a three-layer surgical mask. For religious organizations without a choir or with a choir of fewer than 15 singers, congregants and staff are permitted to sing so long as the total number of people singing does not exceed 15 and all those singing adhere to the 9 feet (12 feet is encouraged) of physical distancing and three-layer surgical masking requirements. Choirs in excess of 15 individuals and the entire congregation are permitted to sing outdoors provided that all singers maintain 9 feet (12 feet is encouraged) of physical distancing and wear a three-layer surgical mask.
- Soloist singers are permitted to sing during the service without a mask provided that the individual maintains 15 feet of physical distancing.
- Disinfectants and soap and running water must be available to employees, members, and visitors. Ensure frequent and adequate hand washing with adequate maintenance of supplies.
- Members and visitors should not gather with those outside of their household before or after services.
- Members and visitors should bring their own readings. Readings and supplies provided by religious or faith organizations should be cleaned and disinfected as any other equipment involved in services.
- Staff, members, and visitors may not remove their face coverings during services. Staff must clean and disinfect any equipment that will come into contact with the lips (through a face covering) between uses.
- Staff should consider using voice amplification so that speakers behind face coverings, face shields, and physical barriers such as a plastic screen can be heard clearly.
A location-specific COVID-19 Supervisor shall be designated by the organization at each location to monitor the health of employees and enforce the COVID-19 safety plan.An employee may refuse to perform unsafe work, including hazards created by COVID-19. Review the Governor’s guidelines for religious and faith-based organizations and Washington State Labor & Industries’ FAQs on Paid Sick Leave and Coronavirus (COVID-19) for more information.
4. A staff or member of my organization was sick with COVID-like symptoms or was exposed to someone with COVID-19. How long until they can rejoin services?
The staff or member who was sick with COVID-19 symptoms may be around others again after:
- 24 hours with no fever (without fever-reducing medication) AND
- 10 days since symptoms first appeared AND
- Other symptoms have improved
The staff or member who was exposed to someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days and watch for signs or symptoms of COVID-19. If they are fully vaccinated, they may not need to quarantine. More information on COVID-19 symptoms, care, and isolation and quarantine can be found here.Anyone with a sign or symptom of COVID-19 or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should get a COVID-19 test. Testing information is available at KingCounty.gov/covid/testing.
Yes, wedding and funeral ceremonies or similar gatherings are allowed and must follow the appropriate venue requirements. These gatherings are limited to 200 people or 25% capacity (not including vendors), whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups (15 people maximum, limit 2 households per group). If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking requirements apply.Dancing is limited to no more than six persons from the same group on the dance floor at the same time and all must wear masks and remain at least six feet away from any other person. For wedding services, the following dances are expressly allowed: the couple’s first dance and the parent dances. For these specifically allowed dances, only one pair may dance at a time, both must be wearing masks (unless they are part of the same household) and must remain six feet away from other persons.Funerals and weddings are critical services provided by religious and faith-based organizations. Funeral services and practices often provide healing and spiritual guidance for all faiths. Weddings can provide joy, renewal, and hope, especially during the pandemic.In order to keep these events safe for all:
- Screen employees for signs/symptoms of COVID-19. Ask members and visitors to self-screen for sign/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to attending services.
- Anyone with a sign or symptom of COVID-19 should not attend services and should self-isolate (see previous question for more information).
- Organizations must follow operational guidelines outlined above. Staff, members, and visitors must maintain at least 6-foot distance from others. Face coverings must be kept on for the entire event.
- Staff, members, and visitors should not hug anyone outside of their household.
- No gathering before or after the event.
These guidelines also apply to secular weddings and funerals. See current guidance for full details.