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Washington state loosens coronavirus guidelines for weddings and funerals

The changes to the state's 'Safe Start' plan would allow weddings and funerals of up to 30 people in Phases 2 and 3, but require face coverings.

Weddings receptions and funerals will be allowed under new social distancing guidelines for Washington counties in Phases 2 and 3, state officials announced Wednesday.

Wedding and funeral ceremonies of up to 30 people will be allowed or 25% of maximum building capacity, whichever is less, according to new guidelines issued by Gov. Jay Inslee's office.

Before the change in policy, the number of people allowed at gatherings, including weddings and funerals, were more restricted in Phases 2 and 3.

Everyone in attendance, except for a wedding couple, must wear face coverings, though speakers are allowed to be mask-less behind a Plexiglas barrier. Though wedding couples are exempt from face-covering requirements and can stand closer than six feet to each other, they must socially distance from their guests.

Choirs won't be allowed, though solo singers may perform wearing a face covering.

Seating arrangements must allow for six feet of space between the seats, pews, and benches or have physical barriers between them. Immediate household members may sit together. 

Wedding receptions are limited to no more than 3 hours. Alcohol service must end at 10 p.m.

Ceremony hosts are encouraged to keep a log of guests for at least two weeks to help with contact tracing.

The state issued a five-page document with all the guidelines.

The state created a phased reopening for Washington state, which is determined county-by-county. Since the beginning of "Safe Start," guidelines for certain industries and activities have changed.

In Maine, an outbreak of 176 coronavirus cases, including seven deaths, was linked to a wedding. The seven who died were connected to people who went to the wedding, but did not go themselves, health officials in Maine said.

RELATED: Person tests positive for COVID-19 after attending wedding in Kittitas County