Almost as quickly as health authorities asked us to cease holding public worship in March 2020, the CDC has suddenly announced that it is appropriate for fully vaccinated people to gather unmasked indoors and outdoors. This is a lot for many of us to wrap our minds around…especially in Oregon, where restaurants and bars were just recently shut down due to exponentially increasing cases and hospitalizations. 

There was also a church in Salem that made national news after dozens of members became infected, and several—including their head pastor and his wife—were hospitalized. None of us wants to be “that church,” and yet it is reasonable for parishioners to wonder when we will gather again for worship (if we’re not already) … or when we can sing again … or whether we must still wear masks and sit apart from others if we’re fully vaccinated. These concerns and the anxiety you may feel are valid, and these guidelines aim to answer some of those questions and ease some anxieties. 

Some congregations, particularly small congregations, may voluntarily share their vaccination status, or some may have already, with each other. It is encouraged for parish leaders to inquire (without being invasive) the vaccination status of their congregation to better assess the next steps in reopening their parish for in-person worship. Congregations that are fully vaccinated may resume in-person worship unmasked. Congregations who may have some members vaccinated and some not must inform all parishioners that masks are required still for non-vaccinated individuals (including children over the age of 5). 

Please continue to read the full guidelines available as a PDF below. Please note that a Spanish version will be available.