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1/11/22: Updated to reflect changes made to the County Health Officer Order, which, effective January 17, 2022, require employers to provide medical grade masks to employees who work indoors and in close contact with others; updated definition thresholds for Mega Events to be consistent with state rules lowering attendance levels for what qualifies as a Mega Event.


Given the ongoing community transmission of COVID-19 and the presence of new and emerging variants, a layered approach to prevention that includes masking indoors, full vaccination with a booster dose, if eligible, and good ventilation, is essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Per published reports, factors that increase the risk of infection, including transmission to people more than 6 feet away, include:

  • Enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation or air handling that allow for build-up of exhaled respiratory fluids, especially very fine droplets and aerosol particles, in the air space.
  • Increased exhalation of respiratory fluids that can occur when an infectious person is engaged in physical exertion or raises their voice (e.g., exercising, shouting, singing).
  • Prolonged exposure to these conditions.

Below is a summary of requirements and best practices for communities of faith to enhance the safety of their employees, volunteers, and attendees, and to lower the risk of COVID-19 transmission within their faith communities. In addition to this information, please remember:

  • Organizations and venues located in the City of Los Angeles, including houses of worship, that host indoor gatherings of any size where food and drink are served, such as a wedding reception, must comply with the LA City Vaccination Verification Ordinance. For clarity, proof of vaccination is not required where food and drink are served indoors briefly only as part of a religious ceremony (e.g., communion or kiddush.) Please visit the SafePass LA website and FAQ page for more information.
  • Organizations and venues that host indoor events with more than 500 attendees or outdoor events with more than 5,000 attendees must follow State Guidance for Mega Events. Please note that the directives in the LA County Health Officer Order must be followed when they are more stringent than the State Guidance. All other events should follow guidance for Smaller Events.
  • Requirements for employees are different than those for attendees. Employers must follow the Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) and the LA County Health Officer Order. Please note that the directives in the LA County Health Officer Order must be followed when they are more stringent than the Cal/OSHA ETS.

Please be sure to read and follow the general guidance for businesses & employers.
The specific best practices below are intended to supplement the general guidance.

Follow mask rules for employees and attendees
Wear a mask
  • Attendees: All persons aged 2 years and older attending indoor services are required to wear masks when they are indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Be prepared to provide masks to attendees who arrive without them. Organizations are responsible for messaging, signage, and compliance with all masking rules.
    • Outdoor Services and Events: To enhance safety and lower the risk of transmission at outdoor events, it is recommended that attendees wear masks when they are in crowded outdoor settings, especially if there is singing or chanting and/or when physical distancing is difficult to maintain. If you are holding an outdoor Mega Event all persons aged 2 years and older must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.
Wear a mask
  • Employees*: All employees and volunteers, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear masks when working indoors, riding in shared vehicles, or at outdoor Mega Events (events with more than 5,000 people in attendance). Masks need not be worn indoors if the employee is alone in a room or actively eating or drinking. If employees must eat indoors, they should be distanced at least 6 feet from other persons.
    • Employees who work indoors and in a setting where they are in close contact with other people must be provided with and required to wear a medical grade mask, surgical mask, or higher-level respirator such as an N95 or KN95 at all times while at the worksite or facility.
    • Upon request, employers are required to provide unvaccinated employees with the correct-size N95 respirator along with basic instructions on how to use the respirator. Respirators must be replaced if they get damaged, deformed, dirty, or difficult to breathe through. For more information about free and low-cost PPE for businesses and organizations visit: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/docs/FreeAndLowCostPPE.pdf.
Wear a mask
  • Performers or presenters must wear face masks indoors except when performing a task that cannot feasibly be done while wearing a mask. If any presenter or the person performing the service cannot feasibly wear a face mask, consider the following ways to reduce risk:
    • The presenter/performer should be fully vaccinated and boosted, if eligible.
    • The presenter/performer should have a negative COVID-19 test result within 2 days prior to the service (if PCR) or within 1 day (if antigen).
    • The presenter/performer should be physically distanced at least 12 feet from all others while unmasked.
    • The presenter/performer must wear a mask when not actively presenting/performing.
    • Only one presenter/performer may be unmasked at any given time.
    • The presenter/performer should use a microphone to amplify their voice during the service, if possible, and should be aware that the louder they project their voice, the greater the risk of producing respiratory aerosols.
    • Any wind and brass instrument used by a presenter/performer must have a cover over the output (such as a fabric bell cover) to lessen the expelled aerosols and should be physically distanced at least 12 feet from all others.
    • Choirs and singers must be masked and physically distanced from each other and the audience as much as possible.
  • See the Los Angeles County Health Officer Order page and the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards page for more information about mask requirements. Please note that the directives in the LA County Health Officer Order must be followed when they are more stringent than the Cal/OSHA temporary standards.
    * Some independent contractors are considered as employees under the State Labor Code. For more details, check the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Independent contractor versus employee webpage.
Screen attendees
  • Screen attendees, volunteers, employees, and performers for symptoms before they attend the service and ask them not to attend if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or if they are under isolation or quarantine orders. See the DPH Entry Screening Guidance.
  • Consider requiring all attendees to show proof that they are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or they have had a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within 2 days (if PCR) or within 1 day (if antigen) of attending indoor services. More information about implementing a vaccination requirement can be found in the LA County Business Compliance Toolkit.
Take extra care if serving food and beverages
Take care when serving food and beverages
  • Places that serve food and beverages indoors are considered higher-risk settings because persons, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, are without face masks for an extended period of time. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that faith communities serve food only in outdoor spaces.
  • If food is served and consumed indoors:
    • Masks must be worn at all times except while actively eating or drinking. When actively eating or drinking, all attendees should be seated or positioned at a stationary place such as a table or counter. “Actively eating or drinking” refers to the limited time during which the mask can be briefly removed to eat or drink, after which it must be immediately put back on. Attendees must wear a mask when not actively eating or drinking, such as when they are waiting for their food or while seated after finishing the food or drink.
    • Consider requiring all those in attendance to show proof of being fully vaccinated.
    • Please note, as described above, that if your house of worship is located in the City of Los Angeles, indoor gatherings of all sizes where food and drink is served, such as a wedding reception, must comply with the LA City Vaccine Verification Ordinance. For clarity, proof of vaccination is not required where food and drink are served indoors briefly only as part of a religious ceremony (e.g., communion or kiddush.) More information about this requirement is available at the SafePass LA website and FAQ page.
Reduce crowding, especially indoors
Social distancing
  • Outdoor services present a lower risk of transmission compared to indoor services. Whenever possible, hold services outdoors.
  •  Use assigned seating for services (both indoors and outdoors) with the same seat assignments, if possible. This limits exposure and makes it easier to determine close contacts if there is a person present who is later diagnosed with COVID-19 infection.
  • Establish procedures to prevent crowding among attendees waiting to enter or exit.
  • If there will be a presentation or performance, maintain at least a 12-foot distance from performers and audience members. Place any unvaccinated performers that sing, yell, or play wind and brass instruments at least 12 feet away from others.
  • If your faith community offers indoor religious classes, consider maintaining a 3-foot physical distance between participants.
Improve ventilation
  • If your services are held indoors, make sure your building’s HVAC system is in good, working order.
  • Maximize ventilation. Options include installing portable high-efficiency air cleaners, upgrading the building’s air filters to the highest efficiency possible, and making other modifications to increase the quantity of outside air and ventilation in all working areas.
  • When weather and working conditions allow, increase fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors. Consider using fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows – position window fans to blow air outward, not inward. See below for additional guidance if there are performers.
  • Decrease occupancy in areas where outdoor ventilation cannot be increased. Consider use of carbon dioxide monitors to monitor the effectiveness of your ventilation in more densely occupied indoor spaces.
  • If your services are held indoors and have performers that will generate aerosols (such as a singer or a musician playing wind or brass instruments) take the following steps:
    • Assess the direction of the air flow in the room to determine where the air is exiting the room. In buildings with HVAC systems, this will be the air-return vents; if doors or windows are open, check the direction that the air is flowing.
    • During performances, position aerosol-generating performers closer to the locations where the air is exiting the room.
  • See State Interim guidance for Ventilation, Filtration, and Air Quality in Indoor Environments.
Support handwashing
Wash hands
  • Consider using advanced registration as much as possible for services so you know how many people will attend. Advanced registration can also help you to reserve seating and convey your COVID-19 safety plans to attendees before they attend.
  • Use your online platforms to communicate your COVID-19 safety policies to your faith community, including the requirement that all attendees must wear a face mask while indoors.


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  • Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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