Inslee loosens restrictions for religious gatherings


Physical distancing required

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that he is loosening restrictions of religious gatherings in the state.

Starting now, outdoor religious services can be held on the organizations property, with up to 100 individuals, who all must use face coverings. For areas in Phase 2, indoor religious services will be held at 25% capacity or 50 individuals with face coverings.

Inslee talks Washington’s ‘Safe Start’ plan

Also for counties in Phase 2, in home services with 5 people or less is allowed, but if they include people from outside the household, then face coverings are required.

Religious services included are all worship services, religious classes, weddings and funerals. There is no limit on how many times per day.

No choirs are allowed but singing is allowed with face coverings. Inslee is also encouraging physical distancing in all situations.

‘Close contact’ redefined

Also Wednesday, the Washington State Department of Health updated the definition of “close contact” to be in alignment with new guidelines from the CDC.

A close contact is now defined as someone who was within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes (instead of 10 minutes.)

“Our guidance has changed over time as we learn more about COVID-19, and will continue to do so in the future,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy. “This update doesn’t change our recommendations for members of the public. We continue to urge people to maintain physical distance to protect themselves and others.”

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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