On Thursday, June 4, Governor John Bel Edwards issued a proclamation officially moving Louisiana to Phase Two of Reopening.
This applies to the entire state, with the exception of Orleans Parish
, where local leaders have determined that they are not yet ready to enter Phase 2, and will continue with Phase 1 restrictions and directives for at least another week.
United Methodist churches in Orleans Parish remain under the directives of Phase 1 until the Parish approves the transition to Phase 2.
As we enter Phase 2, pastors and congregational leaders will be 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.
Phase 2 reopening is allowable based on a 50% occupancy with parties maintaining at least 6 feet of distance, and the same method of determining occupancy as provided by the State Fire Marshal applies in Phase 2 as in Phase 1. (Family units may sit/worship together)
As both the federal and state guidelines evolve over the next several weeks, we encourage local leaders to pay close attention to any changes in guidelines that might impact decisions going forward.
Individuals 65 years or older, people of all ages with poor control of medical issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, or a weakened immune system are at a higher risk for getting very sick or dying from COVID-19 and should strictly adhere to all CDC guidelines, and are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible.
The specific requirements and guidelines for operation during this phase are listed below. These requirements and guidelines supplement and do not replace any directives or guidance provided by other state agencies, boards, and commissions, or other authorities having jurisdiction. Where conflicts occur, the stricter of the requirements will apply.
FACT: COVID-19 is still prevalent across Louisiana.
It's important to remember - COVID-19 is a highly contagious and deadly disease. The fundamental concept behind the recommended guidelines for our churches is similar to those recommended by the State of Louisiana in that reduced occupant capacities will allow for social distancing and circulation to keep everyone safe.
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 2 best practices:
- Everyone should wear masks or face coverings in public except children under 2 and individuals with severe breathing issues.
- Everyone should practice good hygiene.
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use hand sanitizer if soap and water not available.
- Clean high-touch surfaces and high traffic areas frequently.
- Avoid touching your face.
- Sneeze and cough into tissue, elbow or mask.
- Maintain physical distance of at least 6 ft from non- household contacts.
- Sick individuals are asked to stay home, isolate from household contacts, and contact medical providers.
Thank you for your faithfulness during these challenging times. May God continue to guide us as we take our next faithful steps together.