Tahoma 2021 Covid-19 Guidance Phase 3 update

Washington State has embarked on our “Healthy Washington” reopening roadmap which, for our region, has reached Phase 3.  This allows for more or less the same limited public options that we had been operating under at the close of last year. As the infection rates fall and vaccinations increase we will be able to increasingly allow greater attendance at our events.   We hope to resume most of our regular events by the summer, but be prepared to be masked and distanced even if you are vaccinated. If you have an opportunity to get vaccinated do take it. For any of our offerings this year and for the foreseeable future that will be required.

We currently are open to the public for Choka (chant service) and evening Zazen and daylong retreats for a maximum of fifteen (15) people in the zendo. This is the maximum we can accommodate and maintain six (6) feet of physical distancing.  Sunday Zazenkai remains closed to the public.  Zazenkai will continue to be held virtually.

Tahoma Guidance

  1. Masks are required at all times when in the zendo, even if you are vaccinated. These are required for chanting, but note that the chant leader does not have to wear a mask but will be 15 feet separated.
  2. DO NOT come if you feeling sick.
  3. We are allowed to have a maximum of fifteen (15) practitioners in the zendo. If your party would exceed that number please come another time
  4. Stay Six (6) feet apart from other practitioners at all times. Allow for additional time for entering and exiting the zendo.
  5. Do not move cushions, chairs or other items from where they are. You can change or add cushions from the cabinet in the gaitan.
  6. Do not close the windows.
  7. If you start to feel sick, depart at a stretch break or during kinhin (walking meditation).
  8. Sanitize your hands before opening the zendo door.
  9. Thoroughly wash your hands.
  10. Cover your mouth/nose with your elbow or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. 
  11. Do not shake hands or hug. A gassho (bow) is sufficient.
  12. If you are in a High Risk Population only come if vaccinated.

Visiting Tahoma

We have been allowing people to visit and walk the trails and grounds. This continues into Phase 3 with no changes to our general policy. If visiting please follow these general rules.

  1. Please stay out of all buildings, except for the zendo during designated public zazen. 
  2. Do not congregate into groups. 
  3. Maintain physical distancing.
  4. Wear a mask.

Covid-19 (coronavirus), Tahoma and You

Washington State is the US epicenter for the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Along with the rest of Western Washington Island County has formerly declared a State of Emergency. However as of March 7th there are no confirmed cases in Island County but King County (to the south) and Snohomish County (to the east) are experiencing increasing numbers of cases. Washington remains under a general State of Emergency and recommends those over 60 years of age avoid gatherings.

As of this posting there are no plans to cancel the May sesshin. We are constantly monitoring and assessing the situation as it develops. There will be updates here and through the mailing list if anything changes.

How does this affect us at Tahoma?

At this time we will continue with our regularly morning chant and meditation service as well as our regular evening meditation. These remain open to the public but please observe the following guidelines if you wish to attend.

Tahoma Guidance

  • DO NOT come if you are feeling sick.
  • If you start to feel sick, depart at a stretch break or during kinhin (walking meditation).
  • Thoroughly wash your hands before attending. We recommend that upon entering the zendo you proceed to the bathroom and wash your hands.
  • You should wash your hands for the length of time it takes to chant (to yourself!) the Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo three (3) times.
  • Wash your hands THEN use the hand sanitizer that has been placed in both bathrooms and in the gaitan.
  • Do use the hand sanitizer whenever you feel you need to.
  • Cover your mouth/nose with your elbow or sleeve when coughing or sneezing. 
  • Do not shake hands or hug. We should all be comfortable with a gassho (bow).
  • Feel free to sit more widely separated. We have a lot of space, no reason not to use it.


  • We are still holding Zazenkai (community sitting) as usual at 8am on Sunday mornings.
  • We will NOT be having tea afterwards. We will resume tea after the crisis has passed.
  • Otherwise follow the guidance as above.

Other Events

Upcoming events (the March All Day Sit, Buddha’s Birthday, etc.) are currently continuing as planned, but we will asses or modify these events as conditions evolve.. We will post updates here on the website if anything changes with regard to these events.

For more information

Island County Health: Covid-19 Community Guidance.
Washington State Department of Health: Novel Coronovirus Outbreak 2020.
Federal CDC: Covid-19.