• MLWA 7

Inslee announces religious and faith-based services guidance

PHOTO BY: Sendero Life Center

- Olympia, WA

Gov. Jay Inslee today announced the state’s plan for restarting religious and faith-based services for Phases 1 and 2 of Washington’s “Safe Start” reopening plan.

Beginning today, religious and faith-based organizations in Phase 1 counties may host up to 100 people for outdoor services. In Phase 2, they can host up to 25% of their capacity or 50 individuals, whichever is less, as well as conduct in-home services of five people.

“As I have said before, this crisis may affect our ability to physically connect but it should not affect our power to strengthen our emotional connections,” Inslee said during a press conference Wednesday. “I have been heartened to see the ways religious groups found to not only continue to connect, but to give back and to support their communities in this time of suffering and uncertainty.”

The religious services covered include all worship services, religious study classes, religious ceremonies, religious holiday celebrations, weddings, and funerals. Choirs are not allowed, but singing may be done with face coverings. This is because the virus is transmitted through breathing: The louder voices are projected, the farther germs travel. Organizations will be expected to meet requirements to protect employees, members, visitors and volunteers. These requirements include protections such as social distancing and face coverings, environmental cleaning, providing PPE, and educating employees about COVID-19 and how to prevent transmission.