Community and Faith Based Organizations


As of December 3rd, 2020:

Oregon has introduced a new health and safety framework→ that changes some guidance for community and faith based organizations. Please check the Sector Risk Level Guidance Chart→ for guidance on activities.

Occupancy and Capacity

For more information on occupancy and capacity, please visit: Maximum Occupancy Resource for COVID-19→

The following applies to in-home, small groups settings:

Statewide Gatherings, Indoor Social Get-Together Guidance→ Limit gatherings to 50 people or fewer. Gatherings of any size risk spreading illness, and the larger the gathering the greater the risk.

Social, recreational, cultural, civic, and faith-based gatherings should follow:

Sector Guidance-Gatherings→

Additional resources:

CDC Considerations for Communities of Faith→

CDC Considerations for Community Organizations→

OHA Safe + Strong→ For more guidance on population specific resources, such as shelter guidance and wrap around supports.

Take Precautions

Encourage all members to take precautions to stay healthy and prevent the spread of germs. Older adults and people with pre-existing health conditions→ are especially vulnerable.

  • Wear face coverings in indoor public spaces and outdoors when you cannot keep 6 feet from others. How to use face coverings→

  • Maintain at least six feet between people from different households.

  • Avoid handshakes and hugs. 

  • Do not share food or drink. 

  • Keep a list of who attended public and private events. Public health may need this information for a contact tracing investigation→

Shelter and Meal Providers


Ask volunteers at higher risk→ — those who are older, have underlying health conditions or are pregnant→ — to stay home as much as possible.


The riskiest part of the donation process is person-to-person interaction. To limit person-to-person interaction, financial donations to organizations supporting The community are safest at this time. If you plan on receiving physical donations, please visit Physical Donations During COVID-19 for guidance→

Faith Community

Receive Updates

Email Oregon Health Authority's Faith liaison at to be put on the mailing list.

December 18th, 2020

Oregon has updated is guidance for Faith Institutions, Funeral Homes, Mortuaries and Cemeteries→ based on Oregon's health and safety framework→

What guidance should my faith community follow?

Can we hold multiple gatherings/events in the same building?

The maximum occupancy provisions can be applied to each separate facility/activity, within the venue if:

  • the venue can separate its facilities and activities where attendees at the separate facilities and activities have no contact,
  • there are separate entrances and exits, and
  • there are separate bathrooms.

Are face masks required when speaking/preaching/leading music?

Yes. Current guidance requires everyone over the age of 5 to wear a face covering while indoors. Face coverings are encouraged for children 2-5, but are not required. You can find the current guidance here.

Is there guidance for children's classes and youth groups?

We are expecting new guidance for youth programs soon. We will send an update as soon as it's released.

What guidance should in-home faith gatherings follow?

Faith gatherings held in a home should follow the "Statewide Reopening Guidance - Gatherings, Indoor Social Get-Togethers→" regardless of whether it is a Phase 1 or Phase 2 County. This type of an event is considered a "gathering" and you should determine maximum occupancy of each indoor and outdoor area to maintain the requirement of at least six (6) feet of physical distance between parties, and limit number of individuals on the premises accordingly. Use 35 square feet per person as a guide to determine maximum occupancy. 

Can we serve coffee or food?

Comply with the Eating and Drinking Establishments Guidance→ for the designated risk level of the county in which the faith institution, funeral home, mortuary and cemetery is located, if applicable. ▪ For extreme risk counties prohibit on-site consumption of food or drinks unless integral to a religious service.

A few notes:

  • Prohibit self-serve coffee stations. Instead, have someone serve the coffee while wearing appropriate PPE as recommended in the food guidance.
  • Buffet style serving is prohibited unless food is served by employees or volunteers.
  • Single-serve, prepackaged food items are best.
Public Health Quick Links
General Information
Michael Paul
Phone Numbers
General Public Health Inquiries and 24-hour Emergency Contact: 503-397-7247
Fax: 888-204-8568
Emergencies: Dial 911
230 Strand St.
Columbia County Courthouse Annex
St. Helens,

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30