SALT LAKE CITY — The coronavirus spreading through the Puget Sound area prompted The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to close the Seattle Washington Temple on Friday and cancel its largest meetings there.
The decision was made after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee requested that no large gatherings be held. The church canceled all stake conferences and priesthood leadership councils in the Seattle area. Smaller meetings, including sacrament meetings — the weekly Sunday worship service — will continue in some areas.
The greater Seattle area has 70 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11 confirmed deaths.
Church leaders around the world have joined the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They have:
- Closed temples in five other countries — Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Italy.
- Canceled or limited worship services and activities in at least 17 countries, including at least one area in the United States.
- Suspended travel for all church business or missionary work to and from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea.
- Encouraged members outside the United States not to travel to the church’s April 2-3 general conference in Salt Lake City.
- Removed nonnative missionaries from Hong Kong, Mongolia and South Korea.
- Begun to postpone the missions of or reassign men and women preparing to serve as missionaries in Cambodia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.
- Limited the work and public contact of missionaries remaining in 10 countries — Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
“We wish to be good global citizens and do what we can to limit the spread of this disease,” a statement last week reads. “We also want to relieve concerns of our leaders, members and their families related to the uncertainties of travel at this time.”