DIOCESE OF YAKIMA GUIDANCE FOR NEW FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT
As per the proclamation signed by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on August 19, 2021, and announced that every person in Washington State must wear a face covering which must cover their nose and mouth when they are in a place where any person from outside their household is present or in a place that is generally accessible to any person from outside their household, subject to the exceptions and exemptions below.
Exceptions to General Face Covering Requirement
People are not required to wear face coverings in any of the following situations
• When outdoors. However, the Department of Health (DOH) strongly recommends all people, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings in crowded outdoor settings, such as at sporting events, fairs, parades, concerts, and similar settings where there is decreased ability to consistently maintain physical distance between non-household members.
• While working indoors in areas not generally accessible to the public and when no customers, volunteers, visitors, or non-employees are present, but only if the worker is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
• While working alone indoors. A person is working alone if they are isolated from
interactions with others and have little or no expectation of in-person interruptions. Examples include a sole occupant in an office with a closed door who is unlikely to be visited, a crane operator isolated in an enclosed cab, delivery drivers with no face-to-face interaction with others when picking up or dropping off packages, or a lone janitor in a building.
• At a small indoor gathering in a private residence.
• While actively engaged in a performing arts performance, leading religious services, or engaged in other similar activities, subject to the authorization and requirements of the Department of Health, including any vaccination requirements.
• While engaged in the act of eating or drinking.
People Exempt from General Face Covering Requirement
The following people are exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering:
• Children younger than five years old;
• Children who are younger than two years old should never wear face coverings due to the risk of suffocation.
• Children who are two, three, or four years old, with the assistance and close supervision of an adult, are strongly recommended to wear a face covering at all times in public settings when around non-household members; and
• People with a medical condition, mental health condition, developmental or cognitive condition, or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. This includes, but is not limited to, people with a medical condition for whom wearing a face covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.
STATEMENT ON RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION FOR VACCINATION AGAINST COVID-19
The Diocese of Yakima, in accordance with the Vatican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), recommends that all members of the Catholic community, who are able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, should do so.
“Receiving one of the COVID-19 vaccines ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community. In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good.” – USCCB, Moral Considerations Regarding the New COVID-19 Vaccines
Since the vaccinations for COVID-19 have been found morally acceptable to protect the lives and ensure the health of all in our communities, the Diocese will not provide religious exemptions to receiving a vaccine against COVID-19. Parishes are not to provide religious exemption letters regarding the COVID-19 vaccination.
The following links might be helpful in understanding the morality of receiving the vaccine:
You may go to our website: ICSJBPARISHES.ORG and find the links to the document there also.
Let us continue to pray for all who have died from this terrible illness, for their loved ones who are experiencing the pain of loss, and for all who continue to work diligently to care for the sick and serve all in need during these challenging times.
Given this day, August 18, 2021, at the Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Yakima
Most Rev. Joseph J. Tyson, Bishop of Yakima
POPE FRANCIS' MESSAGE ENCOURAGING VACCINATIONS
In a brotherly spirit, I join in this message of hope for a brighter future. Thanks to God and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19. They grant us the hope of ending the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we work together.
Being vaccinated with vaccines authorized by the competent authorities is an act of love. And contributing to ensure the majority of people are vaccinated is an act of love. Love for oneself, love for one’s family and friends, love for all people. Love is also social and political, there is social love and political love; it is universal, always overflowing with small gestures of personal charity capable of transforming and improving societies (cf. Laudato si’, no. 231, cf. Fratelli tutti, 184).
Vaccination is a simple but profound way of promoting the common good and caring for each other, especially the most vulnerable. I pray to God that everyone may contribute their own small grain of sand, their own small gesture of love; no matter how small, love is always great. Contribute with these small gestures for a better future.
God bless you and thank you.