In-Person Worship Guidelines and Suggestions: Phase 3

October 16, 2020
On Thursday, October 8, 2020, Governor John Bel Edwards extended Phase 3 coronavirus restrictions through November 6, 2020. 

As local congregations begin to return to in-person worship, here are some guidelines and best practices that should be adhered to for the duration of Phase 3. 

When we entered Phase 2, pastors and congregational leaders were empowered to make their own decisions, in consultation with their District Superintendent, on resuming public, in-person worship, and other activities based on their local context and their capacity. 

As stated in previous guidelines, the virus spreads primarily through person-to-person contact, from droplets that are formed by coughing, sneezing, or other projections, or by touching infected surfaces and then touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth.

Individuals can carry the virus and be contagious for up to 14 days prior to having any symptoms. Therefore, the guidelines outlined below for social distancing, face coverings, and sanitation are proven methods of mitigating these modes of transmission.
  
 

Phase 3 Best Practices 


Wear Masks 

  • This remains one of the primary means of protecting ourselves and one another from the spread of Covid-19.  
  • Everyone should wear masks or face coverings in public except children under 2 and individuals with severe breathing issues.

Wash Hands 

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer if soap and water not available. 
  • Handwashing/sanitizing is the most important hand hygiene that can be done to stop the spread of Covid-19. 

Keep Your Distance 

  • Maintain 6 feet of social distance at all times. 
  • Limit group seating to persons who are members of the same household.
  • While maximum seating capacity has increased to 75%, social distancing requirements will keep maximum seating capacity well below 75% in most instances.   
  • Stay home if you have a fever, exhibit symptoms, or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19. 

 Greet but Don't Touch

  • Greet your neighbor, but don't touch them.
  • Eliminate physical contact as part of worship services.
  • Eliminate gatherings in the building while entering, exiting, or moving about. 
  • Activities such as serving coffee and refreshments and gathering for fellowship should be avoided in order to maintain social distance and avoid physical contact. 

Clean the Church

  • Follow current CDC guidelines for proper cleaning and disinfecting of facility
  • As much as you should clean the facility, remember to offer ways to cleanse hands; this includes stocking up on supplies such as hand sanitizer.

Use Extra Caution with Sacraments and Singing

  • Celebrating the Sacraments of Baptism and Communion require close proximity and typically entail physical contact, both of which place individuals and congregations at a higher risk of possible Covid-19 transmission.  
  • According to early CDC guidelines, choral and congregational singing introduce the emission of aerosols that may increase the likelihood of Covid-19 transmission.
  • Congregations are encouraged to exercise extra caution and care in determining if and when to resume singing and celebrating the Sacraments. 

Communicate to the Church

  • ​Tell your congregation how the church has been prepared for their arrival. Be sure to use words such as: clean, safe, sanitized, disinfected, etc. 
  • Remind people ahead of time that if they are sick they should not be present and can join online instead.
  • Tell people the precautions you want them to take ahead of time (masks, hand washing, etc.) and consider posting signs 
  
Thank you for your faithfulness during these challenging times.  May God continue to guide us as we take our next faithful steps together.
 
 

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