New guidance was released on Wednesday regarding religious or faith-based services within Washington.
As the majority of the state is in Phase 2 of Governor Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan, religious services will be permitted to begin some in-person services again, with limitations.
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.”
Hold outdoor services on the organization’s property (or immediately adjacent property if explicitly permitted by the local jurisdiction) with up to 100 individuals, excluding organization staff.
Hold indoor services at a place of worship with up to 25% capacity or 50 individuals, whichever is less, (excluding organization staff) and Hold or provide in-home services or counseling inside a person’s residence with up to 5 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.
In the announcement from the state, it asks that “ if possible, spiritual worship should continue to be done remotely or at a drive-in service. “