It may not be 100 percent safe to go back to church. But, Marin health officers have given the green light for religious and cultural services to resume in person in groups of less than 100 people.
The new COVID-19 pandemic guidance includes expectations for physical distancing, face covering, signage and seating guidance, restroom access, and sanitation procedures, among other requirements.
Under the public health order guidelines issued June 5, religious and cultural services will be permitted. The guidance includes expectations for physical distancing, face covering, signage and seating guidance, restroom access, and sanitation procedures, among other requirements.
“We’re continuing to slowly build back,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s Public Health Officer. “We can only do this safely if we all take the personal steps to protect ourselves and those around us. Covering your face and staying at least six feet apart, whenever possible, are simple and very effective steps.”
As of June 6, the Bay Area has seen 15,302 cases of COVID-19 and 460 deaths. In Marin County, 571 cases have been recorded with 401 people recovering and 17 people dying. Since the outbreak, 52 people have been hospitalized with the virus. Two people are currently hospitalized with the illness. The hospitalization number, which is considered a key number in managing the pandemic, has held steady for weeks in Marin.
The county still recommends the use of video-conferencing. But physical attendance is now allowed provided attendance is capped at 25 percent of a building’s capacity or 100 people — whichever is fewer.
Other precautions include the marking of where people should stand while keeping at least six feet of distance from others, and aisles should be one-way. Eating and drinking inside facilities remain prohibited, as well as after-services gatherings.
The health department also mandates that kids in church not be allowed to interact with other children outside their families. No shared play areas are allowed if social distancing can’t be maintained.
Other activities and businesses now allowed include charter boat operators, limited use of swimming pools and dog parks. In addition, guidelines for outdoor recreational businesses were expanded to include a wider definition of outdoor businesses and allow indoor recreational businesses to move outdoors with cooperation of local jurisdictions. Guidance for peaceful public protests was also released.
The Marin Public Health staff says it is constantly monitoring public indicators of COVID-19 to inform future business reopening phases. As the State of California allows for higher-risk activities, Public Health works with industry leaders to develop reopening guidelines that consider the latest COVID-19 activity and special considerations for Marin’s more vulnerable populations.
In other coronavirus developments:
— Dog parks in Marin are open as of June 5 when the Marin County Health and Human Services released new guidelines for reopening. All visitors must comply with government restrictions designed to limit the spread of COVID-19, including the wearing of masks and social distancing. Do not let your dogs interact with other dogs outside your household and water fountains and benches in dog parks remain off limits.
— The City of San Rafael has created an automatic temporary encroachment permit to allow restaurants to use sidewalks and parking spaces to seat patrons outside. The city reminds visitors to “always remember to wear your face covering and maintain 6-feet from others whenever possible. Also, please only dine with members of your household and comply with the protocols put in place by the business.”