Faith Communities FAQ
Phase 1 Guidance
Q. How many people can we have at a gathering?
Gatherings must be limited to no more than 50 individuals. Six feet of physical distancing between people should be maintained. More information on OHA's guidance document.
Q: If a location has both indoor and outdoor spaces, can there be multiple gatherings in both spaces with the maximum number of people per each gathering?
The maximum occupancy limits can be applied to each separate space if:
- The attendees in the separate spaces have no contact, including no shared bathrooms; and
- There are separate entrances and exits for each gathering.
If there is one event happening that has both indoor and outdoor facilities, no more than 50 people may be in either space at any given time.
Q: What happens if someone gets sick?
Washington County Public Health is notified of all positive test results. They will contact the individual to determine all the places they went while contagious. If your faith organization is as one of those locations, Public Health will reach out to you for your contact information records.
Q: Do our congregations have to wear face coverings to church?
Yes. Per the governor’s order, face coverings are required for adults and children over the age of five while visiting public indoor spaces, including faith gatherings, unless a medical condition or disability makes it unsafe to wear one.
Q: Where can someone get a face covering if they don’t have one?
- They can contact their local essential needs hub to see if any are available or review our cloth face covering vendor list to find one for purchase.
- If you are looking to provide single-use face coverings to individuals who forgot theirs, you may be eligible to receive some KN95s from the county stockpile. Complete the form here.
Q: How can we safely conduct communion?
- If communion is served, the person preparing the elements for the service should wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds immediately before starting preparation.
- Consider having communion ministers wear cloth face coverings while distributing communion. All ministers of communion should wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before and after masking and immediately before distributing communion.
- Ministers should try to avoid touching communicants’ hands while distributing communion.
- Use of a common communion cup is not recommended. If distributing communion from the cup cannot be omitted, consider distributing it in separate cups from a platter, spaced so that communicants can select a cup without touching the others.
- Communicants should be advised to maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves and others. Consider marking relevant areas on the floor to facilitate this practice.
Q: What cleaning products should we be using and what actually needs to be cleaned?
- To find a product that can be used against COVID-19 visit the EPA's website.
- In terms of what to clean, the venue guidance lists some items like bowls, sound equipment and bathrooms. In general, “highly touched surfaces” is left to the definition of the venue, since you understand the area and activities occurring best and will know which surfaces are touched often. This could be door handles, the back of the pew in front of where someone was sitting, a bible or cross used during the service, etc.
Q: What guidance should I be following?
- In general: Refer to the CDC’s guidance for faith communities.
- For childcare: If you are a licensed facility, follow the Childcare Guidance. If this is a service you offer that is unlicensed, follow the Summer Camp Guidance on the same website. For any type of childcare, you can also reference this safety procedures guidance from ODE’s Early Learning Division.
- For bible camps or youth groups, follow the Summer Camp Guidance.