Update on UUC Gatherings On Site
UUC continues to closely follow announcements from local and national health officials regarding safety guidelines related to the coronavirus. We are looking forward to gradually reopening the church building to physical gatherings as various public safety benchmarks are reached.
This week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated. In addition, Governor Inslee announced that the entire state of Washington would move into “Phase 3” of reopening as of March 22, given statistics showing generally low rates of infection here.
The CDC’s current advice is that no earlier than two weeks after people have received both shots (or the newly released single dose vaccine) they may:
- Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people in private residences without wearing a mask, and
- Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household in private residences (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
The CDC further advises:
Regardless of vaccination status, people should still take steps to protect themselves and others while in public settings. This includes wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. In addition, people should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings and continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if they’ve been around someone who is sick.
Washington State’s Phase 3 plan, on the other hand, provides for most indoor venues to re-open up to 50% of capacity. The Governor will announce further details next week, but the plan that has been in place still includes face masks and physical distancing measures. Live music performance, including choirs, small ensembles (vocal or instrumental), and congregational singing are likely to remain prohibited.
Given these guidelines, UUC is not yet ready to open the church building to indoor gatherings, even if groups are small and consist of only fully-vaccinated people. We continue to take seriously our responsibility to safeguard congregants and public health. This includes the safety of our staff, most of whom remain unvaccinated (most are not yet eligible according to state and local vaccine schedules). We will not be offering or taking reservations for indoor gatherings at the church until we have the ability to safely support meetings without putting our staff at risk.
However, with the spring weather offering clearer skies and warmer temperatures, we ARE ready to welcome limited outdoor gatherings on the church grounds. This includes the East Patio (suitable for up to 10 people), the Lower Plaza (pathway from parking lot to the lower entrance, suitable for up to 20 people), and the parking lot (up to 40 people).
Please note the following details about current use of outdoor spaces:
- Folding chairs and tables are available for groups using these spaces.
- Restroom access in the building is available during events.
- Two 10’x20′ canopies are available to provide additional covered area for outside spaces.
- No food or beverages will be provided by the church, and nothing may be shared with more than one household.
- Portable heaters are not allowed. Please dress for the weather and bring your own blankets or wraps as needed.
- Mask wearing and social distancing are required of all event participants at all times, regardless of vaccination status.
Use of outdoor spaces at UUC must be reserved in advance through Jessica Monahan, UUC Office Manager, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please wait for confirmation before communicating dates and times to your groups. Use requires at least one staff person on site. If a staff person cannot be available during your requested time, we will contact you to discuss alternatives before the reservation is confirmed.
Thank you for your patience as we continually modify our safety and security policies including our building reopening and use plan, in response to the evolving public health environment. We will update the congregation regularly as we have more information that allows us to advance our plans for building use.