Guidelines for Gathering after Stay Home Orders are Lifted
Published May 27, 2020
The Federal government has issued advice that should guide governors and mayors as they consider lifting restrictions on gathering, work, and travel. Also, President Trump announced on May 22nd that all churches should reopen as soon as possible. Constitutionally, the decision rests finally with the governors, not the federal government or the President of the United States. As of May 1st, Gov. Inslee has listed a few prerequisites for restarting public life (as best I understand). These include slowed growth of COVID-19 cases, adequate PPE for health care workers and first responders, and robust public health framework, including testing, tracing, and isolation capabilities. Inslee has indicated that any loosening will be carefully monitored for a few weeks/months to determine if coronavirus cases increase. In such a case the relaxed rules would be reconsidered. On May 27th Gov. Inslee opened up the opportunity of churches to gather outside in phase 1 for worship and the possibility of indoor worship services during phase 2.
In Phase 1:
- Continue online Sunday morning service - May 31st and June 7th
- Encourage small groups, bible studies, youth group, etc., to meet virtually.
- Possibly begin an outdoor service with a maximum of 100 people present with physical distancing (our A/V team is checking on feasibility) with the possibility of offering this Sunday June 14th.
In Phase 2 (possibly mid-to-late June):
- Shift to multiple gatherings (No Adult-Core Seminars) on Sunday morning with 40 people present, strongly recommending that high-risk vulnerable populations stay home.
- This would leave room for unexpected visitors while ensuring we stay under the 50-person limit with physical distancing.
- Our live-stream of the morning service will begin for those that choose to stay home.
- No nursery, children’s church or children’s Sunday school.
- Youth group resumes with physical distancing, excluding both volunteers from high-risk vulnerable populations and youth with high-risk vulnerable populations (the group
should not exceed 50)
- All small groups may resume meeting in person, with physical distancing protocols, excluding high-risk vulnerable populations.
- Bible studies would resume, limited to 50 with physical distancing, high-risk vulnerable population excluded.
- Key question before coming to church” self-test each week: Am I and everyone in my household feeling 100% well today? (If yes, come meet with the church in person! If no, please worship with us from home, and Lord willing we’ll see you next week!)
- Counseling, membership interviews, and discipling with physical distance.
- Elder meetings meeting at church facility with physical distancing
- All staff working in the office with in-person staff meeting.