Faith-Based Organizations FAQs

Faith-Based Services Questions

Expand All | Collapse All

  • Are Sunday School and youth groups permitted? Are face coverings required in these settings?

    Sunday School and other in-person child supervision and limited instruction may be conducted. At this time, masks are required in K-12 and youth settings, regardless of vaccination status. View the Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings for more information.

  • Do I still need to wear a mask? What about if I am vaccinated?

    Masks are not required for fully vaccinated individuals, except in the following settings where masks are required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status:

    On public transit[1] (examples: airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares) and in transportation hubs (examples: airport, bus terminal, marina, train station, seaport or other port, subway station, or any other area that provides transportation)

    Indoors in K-12 schools[2]childcare[3] and other youth settings.

    Note: This may change as updated K-12 schools guidance is forthcoming, pending updates for K-12 operational guidance from the CDC.

    Healthcare settings[4] (including long term care facilities[5]

    State and local correctional facilities and detention centers[6]

    Homeless shelters[7]emergency shelters[8] and cooling centers[9]

    Additionally, masks are required **  for unvaccinated individuals in indoor public settings and businesses (examples: retail, restaurants, theaters, family entertainment centers, meetings, state and local government offices serving the public).

     

    Exemptions to masks requirements

    The following individuals are exempt from wearing masks at all times:

    Persons younger than two years old. Very young children must not wear a mask because of the risk of suffocation.

    Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask. This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance.

    Persons who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.

    Persons for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.

     

    For additional information, individuals should refer to CDC Recommendations for Safer Activities (see CDPH Masking Guidance Frequently Asked Questions for more information). 

  • Can places of worship still require attendees to wear face coverings?

    According to the CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings, in settings where masks are required only for unvaccinated individuals, businesses, venue operators or hosts may choose to:

    • Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry.
    • Implement vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask. 
    • Require all patrons to wear masks.

    No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.

  • Can we offer self-serve and buffet-style food options?

    Yes, both are allowed, there are no more restrictions for self-serve and buffet-style food offerings. However, places of worship can be more strict by providing pre-packaged food or having a screened or vaccinated server if they choose.

  • Are Places of Worship allowed to fully reopen indoors?

    On June 15, 2021 California opened fully.  As we move to reopening, the state will be sunsetting “industry guidance” and instead be operating by a set of generally accepted practices and protocols for all, largely based on whether or not individuals are vaccinated.  More information about these protocols can be found at Beyond the Blueprint Framework for Industry and Business Sectors

  • Is singing allowed indoors? Are face coverings required when singing indoors?

    Singing is allowed both indoors and outdoors. According to the CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings, fully-vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a face covering indoors, and that includes when singing or chanting. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask indoors, including when singing or chanting. 

  • Are we still required to have a safe reopening plan posted?

    California fully reopened the economy on June 15, 2021, so safe reopening plans are no longer required. If a place of worship chooses to continue implementing certain safety precautions, it is recommended to revise the safe reopening plan to reflect their current practices. 

  • The leadership at our place of worship has been discussing the dilemma of unvaccinated people NOT wearing masks. What can we do to enforce the mandate? Do some churches insist on seeing vaccination cards?

    Per the CDPH guidance, a place of worship can conduct a vaccine verification if they choose. They can also require everyone to wear masks. They could also simply have the place of worship leadership address the concern and request the congregation “do the right thing” in regards to staying masked if unvaccinated or not.

    See the guidance below:

    CDPH Face Covering Guidance for Businesses, Venue Operators or Hosts

    In settings where masks are required only for unvaccinated individuals, businesses, venue operators or hosts may choose to:

    • Provide information to all patrons, guests and attendees regarding vaccination requirements and allow vaccinated individuals to self-attest that they are in compliance prior to entry.
    • Implement vaccine verification to determine whether individuals are required to wear a mask. 
    • Require all patrons to wear masks.

    No person can be prevented from wearing a mask as a condition of participation in an activity or entry into a business.

  • What are the requirements for facial coverings and physical distancing in K-12, childcare, or other youth settings like children’s worship services?

    Face coverings are still required indoors for our youth (older than 2 yrs.) regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are optional but recommended outdoors – in gatherings of non-household members. There are no physical distancing requirements/mandates in either setting, however, places of worship can choose to be more strict.

     

    For more information, please see the guidance below:

    • Are children ages 2 through 11 required to wear masks indoors in K-12 schools and other youth settings?
      Yes, since they are currently ineligible for vaccines and are therefore "unvaccinated." This requirement is subject to forthcoming CDC guidance addressing schools and youth.
    • What is covered under "youth settings"?
      "Youth settings" include K-12 schools and child care, day camps for youth, youth sports, and other youth activities, including theater and music performances and band. Updated CDC guidance is forthcoming for youth settings. 
    • Will unvaccinated children and youth be required or recommended to wear a mask during recess outdoors if they cannot maintain physical distancing?
      In general, unvaccinated children and youth do not need to wear a mask outdoors, even if they cannot maintain physical distancing. However, per CDC recommendations, in areas of  substantial to high transmission , people who are not fully vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that involve sustained close contact (including high-risk contact sports) with other people who are not fully vaccinated.

     

    The state no longer requires masks for children (vaccinated or not) while they are outside at school. They do however encourage unvaccinated children to use them per CDC recommendations:

    • When the school is in an area of substantial to high transmission
    • During activities that involve sustained close contact (including high-risk contact sports) with other people who are not fully vaccinated.

     

     

  • What if I've previously tested positive for COVID-19 or been vaccinated, do I still need to quarantine?

    According to the CDC, quarantine is not required for those who gained immunity within three months.

    • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
    • People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
    • People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease within the last three months and show no symptoms
  • Who should get tested for COVID-19 infection?
    • People who have symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Most people who have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with confirmed COVID-19.
      • Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-19 symptoms do not need to be tested following an exposure to someone with COVID-19.
      • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not need to get tested following an exposure as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
    • People who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot physically distance as needed to avoid exposure, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded or poorly-ventilated indoor settings.
    • People who have been asked or referred to get tested by their healthcare provider, or statetribal, or territorial health department.

    CDC recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. If you get tested because you have symptoms or were potentially exposed to the virus, you should stay away from others pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional.

  • What is the call-to-action for faith leaders?

    Faith-based leaders are valuable sources of comfort and support for their members and communities during times of distress, including the growing presence of COVID-19.  As such, they have the unique ability to address potential concerns, fears, and anxieties regarding COVID-19. Additionally, by reiterating simple hygienic precautions and practices, and encouraging people to get vaccinated, faith leaders can broadly promote helpful information, managing fear and stigma, and restoring a sense of calm into the lives of those in their care. 

 

For additional questions and resources, please email Covid-CBO-Faith@sdcounty.ca.gov