Inslee issues updated COVID-19 guidance for religious services

OLYMPIA, WASH. (AP) — Some coronavirus restrictions on in-person worship have been relaxed for churches, under new guidance issued by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The Tacoma News-Tribune reports that the guidance issued late Monday includes worship, religious study classes, religious ceremonies and religious holiday celebrations.

While drive-in services or remote sessions are still the recommended option, counties in Phase 1 of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan can hold outdoor services for up to 100 people, with a required six feet of distancing and facial coverings worn by those who attend.

In Phase 2, outdoor services can be attended by up to 200 people with the same masking and distancing requirements as Phase 1, and indoor services can be held for up to 25% of the room’s capacity or 200 people, whichever is less.

Indoor services can expand to 50 percent capacity or 400 people with distancing and masks in place for Phase 3. Outdoor services can accommodate up to 400 people as well with social distancing enforced. In this phase, in-home religious services for up to 10 people, with masks required for all participants, is also allowed.

Organizations are also encouraged to keep a two-week log of visitors and attendees in the case of an outbreak.