Part of Reopening

Reopening guidance for places of worship

Documents for churches, synagogues, mosques, and other faith-based organizations to reopen.

General requirements

Keep holding remote services for older adults or people with chronic conditions. They are more at risk of serious complications if they get COVID-19. You can have up to 12 staff helping with a livestream.

Encourage all worshippers to choose 1 service to attend per week, at most. More gatherings means more risk to all worshippers. Religious services include funerals and wedding ceremonies. They do not include more casual gatherings like receptions, wakes, or remembrances.

Have attendees sign in for each service. If someone tests positive for COVID-19 later, the City can help everyone get tested.

Plan your services to be 2 hours long at most. You should only hold 1 service at a time. Do not have attendees move to another space during the service.

Do not shout, chant, sing, or play wind or brass instruments. Breathing out strongly can spread COVID-19 more readily.

Only 1 person at a time should speak. They must wear a face covering and be 12 feet away from everyone else. Have them use a microphone instead of raising their voice.

Everyone must wear face coverings while attending a religious service

If someone must remove their face covering for a ceremony, they must keep their mouth closed and be 6 feet away from others. 

If they must speak without a face covering, they must be behind a solid partition and more than 12 feet away from others.

Limit contact between people

Change rituals to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

Prevent people from sharing items, like books, offering plates, and religious objects. If people share items, they must wash or sanitize their hands before and after. Close water vessels, fonts, and fountains, unless you can disinfect them between uses. 

Outdoor services are allowed

You can have up to 200 attendees outside for a service. Everyone must stay 6 feet apart. All attendees must leave by 10 pm, due to the State’s Limited Stay Home order.

Indoors services are not allowed

Many indoor activities are not allowed, due to SF being assigned to the State’s Purple Tier.

Prepare for reopening indoor services, when SF is out of the Purple Tier

Screen everyone for COVID-19 symptoms before they enter. Send people home if they feel sick.

Set up your indoor space for physical distancing

Make sure everyone can stay 6 feet apart. You can:

  • Install barriers
  • Move podiums
  • Make entrances, exits, and aisles one way
  • Move or block off every other seat and worshipping space
  • Block off every other bathroom sink

Prevent people from gathering inside. Close lobbies, meeting rooms, and other common areas. Have attendees seated in the back row leave first, at the end of a service.

Maximize ventilation by opening doors and windows. Consider installing HEPA filters. See more options for ventilation.


8.5 x 11 poster in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino addressing the pause in reopening.

Action required: Complete and post a Health and Safety Plan from this fillable PDF, before you reopen indoor religious services.

Action required: The Health Order requires that facilities post certain signage for their patrons during the coronavirus pandemic. This poster meets of all the signage requirements for indoor worship. It is in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino.

Action required for facilities that regularly hold outdoor gatherings: Complete and post a Health and Safety Plan from this fillable PDF.

Action required: Complete and post this Social Distancing Protocol. See this protocol in Español or 中文 or Filipino or русский or Tiếng Việt or عربى.

Action required: The Health Order requires that businesses post certain signage during the coronavirus pandemic. This poster meets the requirement for communicating indoor risk, for all businesses doing indoor operations.

Summary of tips and frequently asked questions about how to participate in gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, when they are allowed again.


See this Guidance in [Chinese]  [Spanish]  [Tagalog]  [Vietnamese]  [Russian]

Guidance about ventilation from the Department of Public Health, for businesses, offices, schools, faith-based and similar organizations.

Other languages: [Chinese]  [Spanish]  [Tagalog]

Health directive about best practices for indoor worship.

The Shelter-in-Place Order that states what activities are allowed and prohibited during the COVID-19 emergency.