COVID-19 Reopening Guidelines
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly altered our lives in ways many of us could never have imagined. One of those areas is the way that we, as God’s people, assemble and worship together. It is our desire to be able to do so once again in a safe and informed way. The following are guidelines and precautions that we at the North East Church of Christ are going to put into practice so that we might safely assemble together once again.
These guidelines and procedures are not mandates, but practices that we feel will best enable us to be able to come together safely during this pandemic. This is a fluid situation and these guidelines and procedures will change as the world around us changes and responds to the COVID-19 virus.
Please be mindful of others who will be worshipping around you when you attend. We do not all have the same view or concerns of this virus. There may be some who are not currently concerned about it at all, while there are others who are very concerned about how the virus might affect them and their family members. There are individuals who do not leave their home or interact with the public at all during this difficult time, but their strong desire to worship has compelled them to attend. So please, follow the guidelines that are being put in place and be compassionate of others around you.
- Know your own health conditions. If you are at a greater risk to be susceptible to the virus and its effects on your health, than make wise decisions if the time is right for your return to public worship services.
- If you are already sick or showing signs of sickness: cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell than please stay at home.
- Know how the virus is spread. COVID-19 is spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Virus-carrying airborne droplets can remain in the air or on surfaces even after the ill person is no longer near. The virus can live as long as 72 hours on some surfaces and still be transmitted.
- If you feel that you need to wear a face mask while attending then please feel free to wear one, but they will not be mandatory in the building.
Preparing The Building
- The building will be cleaned and sanitized before every service.
- Signs are posted to encourage non-contact greetings. Handshakes and hugs are discouraged due to the spread of the virus.
- Signs will also be posted to remind and encourage 6 foot social distancing while in and around the building.
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available throughout the building. Everyone will be encouraged to sanitize as they enter the building.
- The public restrooms will be available, but everyone is encouraged to only use them if it is a necessity. This will limit the chance of spreading the virus. All restrooms will be cleaned and sanitized between services. The building will be left dormant and unoccupied for at least 72 hours between services to allow the virus to die off before it is used again.
- The water fountain will be turned off, but there will be cups available in the bathroom to get a drink of water. This again is to limit contact with things that might spread the COVID-19 virus.
- Every other pew will be marked as a non-seating area to ensure we meet the 6 foot social distancing mandate.
During Our Services
- We will make every effort to limit the contact and physical interaction between those who serve and lead, and those who are present in the assembly.
- Congregants are to sit on every other pew to maintain proper social distancing.
- Families are encouraged to sit together on the same pew.
- Those who are not family are to maintain a 6 foot distance if sitting on the same pew with someone else.
- The Serving of Communion.
- The communion bread will be divided up into individual pieces.
- The communion cups will be spaced out in the trays to help congregants pick them up without touching the other cups around them.
- The servers will go up and down the rows and hold the trays at all times so that no one else touches the trays as communion is served.
- Those who are elderly or more susceptible to the COVID-19 virus are encouraged to sit up front, so that less people will have come in contact with the communion emblems.
- The Collection
- The servers will go up and down the rows and hold the trays at all times so that no one else touches the trays as the collection is taken up.
Our Temporary Schedule of Services
- As we begin this reopening process we will start with having one service per week.
- We will meet on Sunday morning at 10:00am.
- This will ensure that the virus has more than 72 hours to die off before the building is used again.
- It will also give time for the building to be cleaned and sanitized.
- By meeting in this limited capacity it will also reduce the personal contact and interaction of the members.
- We will continue to monitor the reports on the COVID-19 virus and add services as it seems safe to do so.
- At this time there will be no classes for the children due to the lack of space to socially distance them while in the classrooms.
- We pray that this will be something that will only be done for a short period of time.
- We are also considering ways to add a period of time that all of the young people can have a time of learning geared towards them.
- This may be accomplished by adding a short period just prior to or immediately following our worship service.
Our prayer and desire is that we will be able to worship collectively in a way that is safe and uplifting for all who will attend. It is our desire to worship and honor God in a way that is acceptable to Him first and foremost, and is safe and healthy for all who have come to worship Him. We also desire to follow and obey the mandates that have been handed down by our governing officials during this COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that by following these guidelines and precautions we will be able to accomplish this. May God bless our efforts and give us wisdom in doing so!