On Wednesday Gov. Jay Inslee announced that houses of worship in counties that have moved to Phase 2 of re-opening can resume on-site services, so long as visitors wear face masks and maintain social distancing.
Churches, mosques, gudwaras and synagogues in Spokane can hold in-person services with up to 25 percent of the building’s capacity, or 50 worshipers, whichever is less. They must also have a sanitization plan in place and limit entry and exit points from buildings.
According to the governor, nothing can consumed during services, which means communion is not allowed.
Singing is permitted with face masks, but choirs are not allowed to perform.
Houses of worship are encouraged to keep a log of attendees in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Inslee’s orders include weddings, funerals and religious celebrations.
For counties still in Phase 1, outdoor services are permitted but masks must be warn and gatherings must not exceed 100 people.
Tracy Simmons is an award-winning journalist specializing in religion reporting and digital entrepreneurship. In her approximate 20 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas, Connecticut and Washington. She is the executive director of SpokaneFāVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Washington. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and national publications. She is a Scholarly Assistant Professor of Journalism at Washington State University.