|Easter blessings on everyone! Thank you to all the parishes that creatively reconfigured seating and created overflow spaces to safely accommodate people for Holy Week and Easter. Unfortunately, we did receive reports of large numbers of congregants sitting without any physical distancing. Please remember that we are allowed up to 15 people to sit together so long as they are six feet from the next group or individual. We want to give parishioners a safe experience at Mass, which is part of our care for the common good and the vulnerable among us. Welcoming parishioners back with a safe experience is very important– especially for those who are starting to consider returning to in-person Mass.
Rolling Back to Phase 2
Yesterday, Governor Inslee moved three counties back to Phase 2: Cowlitz, Pierce and Whitman County. Parishes located in these counties will need to follow the Phase 2 guidance for worship services, which requires a 25% maximum capacity for Mass, but not limited to 200 people. Also important to note is that if your parish has overflow space, it is no longer necessary to require that space to have its own restroom access. One set of restrooms is adequate to serve the church and other overflow space, provided 6 feet of distancing is maintained between each person. These counties will be reviewed again on May 3, 2021. You can read the latest guidance here.
From an archdiocesan perspective, this means you should follow your Phase 2 plans that were submitted for review. If you have any updates or changes to the Phase 2 plan, please use a parish addendum and email the update to SeattleMass2020@seattlearch.org.
The Governor’s Office has updated its “events” guidance as part of its “Wedding, Funerals and Events COVID-19 Requirements” document here:
Based on this information, it is possible to host events including receptions and events that include food. However, if food is involved it must be handled by an outside caterer and must follow the eating and drinking requirements, here:
- Indoor: Maximum capacity of 200 or 25% capacity (not including vendors), whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups.
- Outdoor: Groups of 15, limit 2 households per group. Maximum capacity of 200, so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups.
- Indoor: Maximum capacity of 400 or 50% capacity (not including vendors), whichever is less, so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups.
- Outdoor: Groups of 15. Maximum capacity of 400, so long as six feet of physical distancing is maintained between groups.
For all these events, face coverings, 6 feet of distancing, as well as COVID Safety Officers are required. For indoor events, there must also be good ventilation and doors and windows should remain open. Hand sanitizer must be available for everyone upon entry to the event. If you would like to host any new events, please fill out an addendum and submit it to SeattleMass2020@seattlearch.org for review.
Singing and Music Reminders
Live music and performances are permitted so long as individuals wear face coverings and adhere to physical distancing requirements.
Specifically, choirs with up to 15 singers are permitted to sing indoors during the service so long as each singer maintains 9 feet (12 feet is encouraged) of physical distancing and wears a three-layer surgical mask.
Soloist singers are permitted to sing during the service without a mask provided that the individual maintains 15 feet of physical distancing.
At this time in the Archdiocese of Seattle, congregational singing is NOT encouraged, for everyone’s safety.
The widespread wearing of masks reduces contamination to surfaces. This means cleaning of highly touched surfaces needs to take place only once each day, even on days with multiple groups using the same spaces like Sunday Mass. We encourage COVID supervisors and volunteers to monitor activity during events and do spot cleaning on surfaces as needed.
Thank you to all the parishes and schools that have hosted vaccine pop-up clinics across the archdiocese. To date more than 15 have provided vaccines to their local communities. We are partnering with Catholic Community Services on this effort. If you have been contacted by other agencies to host a pop-up clinic, please let us know at SeattleMass2020@seattlearch.org.
Additionally, here are a few vaccine resources, should you receive questions: