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July 24, 2021

Weddings permitted with social distancing

Receptions, parties, celebrations still prohibited

The San Benito County Public Health Department on Wednesday announced that the State of California expanded the Place of Worship guidance to include outdoor religious services and cultural services. 

According to a press release, the services include weddings–religious or nonreligious–provided that physical distancing is practiced. 

Secular weddings, which includes nonreligious wording, vows and readings, are permitted under the same parameters as a nondenominational ceremony that might include religious references.

Public Health officials said indoor venues are limited to 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, despite the ceremony being held in a secular venue. 

County officials are asking all businesses and activities that take place to self-certify to comply with the state guidance by posting the San Benito County Self Certification Placard in public view.

Cultural ceremonies are considered religious rites but the county considers wedding receptions, quinceañeras and sweet sixteen parties as celebrations and therefore not permitted.

According to the press release, San Benito County Interim Public Health Officer David Ghilarducci can approve any outdoor venue without a specified limit that permits appropriate social distancing between members of different households. He encourages people to avoid close interaction between persons of different households such as during photographs. 

The San Benito County Public Health Department hasn’t announced when larger gatherings and receptions will be permitted. They said it will depend on public health metrics and state guidance.

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