‚ÄčGUIDELINES FOR REOPENING THE CHURCH BUILDING

 

PHASE ONE - No Live In-Person Gatherings

 

Public Health Indicator:  COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing 

 

Church Protocols:  

  1.  Recorded Virtual Worship 
  2. Bible Studies and meetings via telephone or online
  3. Pastoral care via telephone or online

 

 

 

PHASE TWO – Significantly Limited Gatherings

 

Public Health Indicator:  several weeks of declining case counts, widespread availability of testing/ contact tracing

                                               and no PPE personal protective equipment) shortages.

 Church Protocols:  

 

BUILDING USE:

 

  1.  There is a limit of 25 people allowed for indoor gatherings. The limit for outdoor gatherings is 100 people.
  2. For religious, spiritual, or worship gatherings, 25% of capacity of the indoor space or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is smaller, will be allowed access to the building, provided in each case that appropriate safety and social distancing measures are employed. 
  3.  High risk individuals (people over 60 and those with underlying conditions), whether staff or volunteers, should continue to shelter in place.
  4. If we become aware of someone in the church or a building user infected with COVID-19, our communication plan will be activated (to be developed), we will cooperate fully with contact tracers, and we shall conduct a deep cleaning and disinfecting consistent with CDC guidelines.
  5. Building users/renters may resume operations, with cleaning needs addressed and an agreement to observe gathering and distancing protocols.
  6. Not all rooms will be available for use: Fellowship Hall is to be the only room used in this Phase unless otherwise approved. The Kitchens, Activity Room, Parlor, Common Room, Library and Prior Wing will remain closed. 
  7.  Regular office functions may resume more or less safely while maintaining social distancing and wearing masks. The church offices will be cleaned and sanitized, with particular attention paid to high-touch surfaces.
  8.  Staff or attendants will monitor the number of attendees and once the limit is reached, overflows beyond the maximum occupancy level will not be allowed.
  9.  Volunteers will direct people in high traffic areas and hold or prop open doors for others if necessary.
  10.  Volunteers will be limited to those who do not have pre-existing conditions and those who are under 65 years old.
  11.  Greeters and Volunteers will be trained on these procedures and policies. 
  12.  NO hand shaking or hugs allowed.
  13.  Fellowship Time following the service will be temporarily discontinued.
  14.  Nursery and Sunday School classes will be temporarily postponed until there is additional guidance provided.
  15.  Life rituals (weddings, funerals) should be kept to the minimum allowed for a church service. Consider using only immediate family. Publicize the date and location to only those who are on the approved list to prevent hurt feelings or awkward situations.
  16.  Bible studies, small groups, and church council groups shall continue to meet online.

 

 

PREPARING THE BUILDING

 

  1. Only essential rooms will be open and accessible. All others will be locked or clearly marked as off limits.
  2.  Custodian will clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas focusing especially on frequently touched surface, such as pews, music stands, pulpit, lectern, bathrooms, doorknobs, railings, door panic bars, light switches on a regular daily and weekly schedule.  All microphones, headphones, remote controls, computers keyboards, laptops shall be cleaned with an alcohol based cleaner.
  3.  An enhanced cleaning and disinfecting schedule will be maintained, including cleaning the sanctuary, restrooms, and any other rooms which were occupied after each use. Common and high-traffic areas will be disinfected.
  4.  Adequate supplies of hand sanitizer, tissue, soap, disposable paper towels, cleaning supplies and disinfectants will be maintained and made available.
  5.  Doors will be left propped open and light switches left on whenever possible to reduce the need to touch commonly used items.
  6. Water fountains will be taped off or turned off.
  7.  Signs will be posted regarding procedures on social distancing, wearing of face covering, changes to operations and importance of hand washing.
  8. “Room Logs” will be posted on the entrance door to every room to indicate who has been in the room, when it was occupied, and when it was last cleaned.
  9.  Stairs and hallways will be restricted to one-way foot traffic. Signage or floor markings will be posted to indicate the pathways to be used as deemed appropriate.
  10.  All non-essential items, including bibles, hymnals, songbooks, pencils etc. will be removed to limit surfaces for potential contamination.
  11. Furniture will be removed that encourages communal sitting/visiting.
  12.  Windows and doors will be opened to allow airflow through the building.
  13.  A “Tech Team” will be recruited and trained to live-stream services and run projections as needed.  All microphones, headphones, computer laptops, recording equipment and music stand shall be cleaned with an alcohol based cleaner.

 

 

PERSONAL SAFETY MEASURES

 

  1. Stay home if you are sick or are displaying symptoms.  
  2.  If you had contact with someone who has COVID-19, stay home for at least 14 days after your last contact.
  3.  Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  4.  If soap and water are not readily available, use the alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  5.  Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (bring your own) or your bent elbow if you cough or sneeze.

 

 

SAFETY RULES, REGULATIONS AND POLICIES

 

  1. All who enter the building must maintain a minimum of six feet of physical separation between persons.  Cones or tape will be used to indicate the distance needed. All who enter the building must immediately go into the sanctuary or meeting space to be seated.
  2.  All must observe an orderly entering and exiting of events to enable social distancing.
  3.  All who attend, work or volunteer must wear a face covering or mask per guidance of the CDC, unless they are unable to wear a face covering or mask because of a medical or disabling condition. Children under the age of 2 should not wear a face covering or mask.
  4.  Masks will be supplied for those without one to increase comfort levels.
  5.  Those who distribute anything or hold open doors will wear gloves.
  6.  Pews will be cordoned off to provide separation between family units. Attendees who are not part of the same immediate household must be seated at least 6 feet apart.
  7.  No bulletins will be distributed for services.
  8.  There will be NO SINGING allowed.
  9.  Individually pre-packaged communion elements will be distributed by a person wearing gloves at each entrance to the sanctuary on Communion Sundays.
  10.  Offering baskets will not be passed around. There will be stationary offering baskets located at both entrances to the sanctuary. Online giving is encouraged.
  11.  Streamed worship services will continue to be available online.

 

 

 PHASE THREE – Moderately Limited Gatherings

 

Public Health Indicator:  COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have fallen to near zero. Widespread testing and tracking in place.

 

Church Protocols:  

 Phase Two protocols remain in place except as amended below:

 

  1. Increased number of persons allowed for public worship, according to guidelines set by health officials
  2. Continued physical distancing and masking requirements likely 
  3. Restrictive practices may still be in place for communion, with gradual easing 
  4. Restrictions eased on office/classroom gathering, within guidelines 
  5. Larger group ministries (youth groups, Sunday School classes) may resume within established guidelines 
  6. Continued assessments of pandemic impact and prayerful discernment of future ministry 

 

 

PHASE FOUR – Unlimited Gatherings with Some Protections

 

Public Health Indicator: A vaccine has been developed and is available to all in the general public; Treatment of proven effectiveness is widely available; Testing is widespread for virus and immunity.

 

Church Protocols:  

 All Restrictions are lifted with the following exceptions:

 

  1. No limit to the number of worshipers who may attend, except that those who are known to be infectious, actively sick or who display any of the symptoms of being ill should not attend;
  2. Worshipers may wear masks throughout the service but masks will not be required;
  3. Community gathering restrictions are lifted.

 

 

 

 

Suffield, Connecticut

100 North Main Street

Suffield, CT 06078

860-668-1661

Office Hours: Mon-Fri. 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

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