DC health officials reject church’s request for ‘COVID-immune’ seating section

A request from a D.C. church for a “COVID-immune” section for fully vaccinated parishioners that would have allowed more than 300 people to gather without social distancing requirements has been rejected by D.C. health officials.

The request was submitted by Capitol Hill Baptist Church, asking for the special section of up to 328 people. The request did not ask to do away with masks.

In a letter responding to the church, Christopher Rodriguez, director of the District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, pointed out the seating arrangement did not align with CDC guidelines, adding that putting vaccinated people in one section doesn’t allow for social distancing from unvaccinated people from multiple households.

The District did approve the church’s request for a nonimmune seating arrangement, which would allow about 500 people, twice the capacity currently allowed without approval.

This isn’t the first request the church has submitted to health officials. The 850-member church won a legal battle last fall, which allowed it to resume in-person services. The lawsuit against the District claimed that banning in-person religious services was unconstitutional.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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