Safer Gatherings

Beginning Monday, Jan. 11, all counties/regions in Washington are subject to the public health measures outlined in the governor’s regional-based Healthy Washington plan (PDF). Detailed guidance and information is available on the governor's website.

If you think a business isn't operating in compliance with the Safe Start plan, you can anonymously report a violation.

Phase 2 guidelines

    1. Indoor social gatherings with people from outside your household should not include more than 5 people, limit two households.
    2. Outdoor social gatherings shall be limited to fifteen (15) people from outside your household, limit 2 households.
    3. Worship services allowed up to 25% indoor capacity.
    4. Retail stores, including farmers markets, allowed up to 25% indoor capacity. Curbside pick-up is encouraged.
    5. Professional services allowed up to 25% indoor capacity. Remote work strongly encouraged.
    6. Personal services allowed up to 25% indoor capacity.
    7. Eating and drinking establishments are limited to 25% capacity for indoor service. Outdoor dining and to-go service are permitted, provided that all outdoor dining must comply with the requirements of the Outdoor Open Air Guidance. Table size for indoor and outdoor dining is limited to a maximum of six (6) people and two (2) households. Establishments only serving individuals 21+ and no food remain closed.
    8. Wedding and funeral ceremonies and indoor receptions, and wakes are permitted and must follow appropriate venue requirements. If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking establishment requirements outlined above apply. Dancing is prohibited.
    9. Low and moderate risk sports competitions a permitted. Tournaments are not permitted. Fitness and training establishments can operate at a maximum of 25% capacity.
    10. Indoor entertainment establishments such as aquariums, theaters, arenas, concert halls, gardens, museums, bowling alleys, trampoline facilities, cardrooms and event spaces are open at a maximum of 25% capacity. If food or drinks are served, eating and drinking establishment requirements outlined above apply.
    11. Outdoor entertainment establishments such as zoos, gardens, aquariums, theaters, stadiums, event spaces, arenas, concert venues and rodeos can be open for groups of fifteen (15), with a maximum of 200 individuals including spectators.                                                                                                                                             

Here’s what we know: 
Gathering with people we don't live with—even close friends and family—may spread COVID-19. The more people we interact with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the risk of becoming infected.

The safest action for everyone is to avoid gatherings, 
even outdoors, and find different ways to celebrate this season.

This site includes ideas for how to gather virtually. If that’s not an option, below is a checklist to help plan a safer outdoor gathering. Indoor social gatherings with people from outside your household are restricted.

Celebrations During Covid

Highlight these bright spots by This years, out game days, family gatherings, and holidays will be a little different.  There are still fulfilling ways to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Check out these ideas from the Washington State Department of Health.  

Giving thanks | In a year filled with challenges, it can feel good to pause and consider the things for which we are grateful, whether that be a person, pet, place or thing. Highlight these bright spots by writing them down or sending notes, texts or emails to people in your life to express why you are grateful for them.

On-screen get togethers | Sure, it won’t be quite the same, but scheduling a few virtual holiday gatherings can take the sting out of being separated. Getting together online to cook, open gifts, decorate desserts, do a craft project, listen to a playlist, or read stories can create a bit of the togetherness we crave. Consider time zones when scheduling, and make sure that any people who are not tech-savvy get help beforehand so they can be included.

Secret gift exchange | Assign each family or friend a name, and ask them mail or do a no-contact delivery of a small gift they make or buy to their assigned person. Open gifts on a group video chat and try to guess who gave what to whom.

Play dress-up | If you have a willing crowd, create a theme for your virtual party. Themed masks, silly hats or ugly sweaters can give everyone something to laugh and talk about.

Remote potluck | Rather than getting together, you can assign dishes to friends and family and deliver them to one another’s homes. Or deliver just the ingredients for a dish or meal. Then, log in to your favorite video chat app to cook or dig in.

Learn a recipe together |  Pick a favorite family recipe, share an ingredient list ahead of time with friends or family, and then get together virtually to try cooking or baking. Good times are guaranteed, whether you end up with delicious dumplings or poorly decorated cookies.

Game night | If you thrive on competition, make your virtual gatherings about more than just conversation. Trivia, charades, and even board games, can all work great online. Or try out a virtual bake-off, talent show or a scavenger hunt where teams race to find common and not-so-common items around their house. This is also a fun one to set up for kids so they can connect virtually with friends.

If you choose to celebrate with friends or family (outside your household) in person, you are increasing the risk of COVID-19 infection. Help to lessen the risk by keeping the group small, gathering outside if possible, and wear masks. Make sure you have room for guests to spread out and avoid sharing food and beverages. Follow our safer gatherings checklist.