Faith-Based Organizations FAQs

Faith-Based Services Questions

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  • Do I still need to wear a mask? What about at religious worship services at places of worship?

    INDOORS: Starting December 15, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a statewide mandate that requires ALL individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in all indoor public settings. However, this requirement does NOT apply to attendees at religious worship services at places of worship.

    • Vaccinated attendees at religious worship services held indoors at places of worship are strongly recommended to wear masks in such settings. This does not alter the requirement that has been in effect since June 15, 2021 that unvaccinated individuals wear masks in indoor public places. Places of worship can also be more strict and require masks for everyone.
    • This guidance applies to both adults and children attending indoor religious worship services at places of worship; it does not pertain to school-settings such as Sunday School. In that case, the K-12 Framework and CDSS Childcare Guidance should be adhered to. For guidance about masking in school settings such as Sunday School, please see the question below - “What are the requirements for facial coverings in K-12, childcare, or other youth settings like Sunday School?”

    OUTDOORS: In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors. 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 with other people who are not fully vaccinated. San Diego County is currently experiencing high transmission of COVID-19.

    Visit the Face Coverings Q&A for more information.

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

    Yes, places of worship can still require attendees to wear face coverings. The County aligns with the State guidance, but places of worship can be more strict and require masks for everyone. That decision is up to each place of worship. 

  • 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 during religious worship services at places of worship? 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, everyone is required to wear a face covering in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. However, this requirement does NOT apply to attendees at religious worship services at places of worship. When singing during a religious worship service in a place of worship, vaccinated individuals are strongly recommended to wear masks. Unvaccinated individuals are required to wear masks indoors, including when singing.

  • 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. 

  • What are the requirements for facial coverings in K-12, childcare, or other youth settings like Sunday School?

    Refer to the CDPH K-12 Guidance for indoor masking requirements in school-based settings and the CDPH Childcare Providers and Programs Guidance for children under 5 in childcare settings. The December 15th CDPH Face Covering Guidance does not change K-12 masking requirements. For Sunday School, places of worship should follow this guidance, but it is not required.

    • K-12 students are required to mask indoors, with exemptions per CDPH face mask guidance. Adults in K-12 school settings are required to mask when sharing indoor spaces with students. Masks are optional outdoors for all in K-12 school settings.
    • Childcare providers must ensure compliance with the current CDPH Guidance for the Use of Masks. As of June 15, 2021, the use of face coverings is required by the CDPH and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) in childcare indoor settings  regardless of vaccination status.


    What is covered under "youth settings"?

    • "Youth settings" include K-12 schools and childcare, day camps for youth, youth sports, and other youth activities, including theater and music performances and band. 
  • What are the requirements for isolation and quarantine?
  • Who should get tested for COVID-19 infection?
    • You should immediately get tested for COVID-19 if you are feeling any symptoms – regardless of your vaccination status. COVID-19 symptoms can feel like a common cold (including just “the sniffles”), seasonal allergies, or flu. COVID testing in California is free to anyone who needs it.
    • If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated, get tested right away. If you test negative, retest 5-7 days after your exposure date. Those who are unvaccinated should also test 1-3 days before and 3-5 days after any high-risk events.
    • If you were fully vaccinated when exposed, you should get tested 5-7 days after close contact with someone who has recently tested positive.
    • If you have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 3 months and have had no new symptoms since your recent exposure, you do not need to get tested.
    • Traveling? Read the CDPH travel fact sheet.
  • 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