The following suggestions to prepare for opening our buildings for worship are adapted from
Karen Ball MSN, RN New Mexico Faith Community Nurse Network (NMFCNN),
CDC, and Evelyn Maxwell MN, RN
Building preparation for COVID 19:
Professional cleaning. If vacuuming, use a Hepa filter vacuum, face mask.
Cushions and carpet, are these cleanable? Should they be replaced? Non-skid flooring.
Air conditioner and heating system filters, need replacement.
Obtain general information of how many people plan on attending, then draw a seating map. Rope off the number of rows necessary to maintain a distance of 6-8 feet between them.
Seating should be documented in the event someone is a positive COVID 19 person and contact tracing needs to be followed up. Seating information should be saved for each event. Don’t pass a registration pad, take a picture. Locating and contacting individuals for testing then would be much easier and accurate.
Limit number of entrances into building.
Entrance and exit of building:
Preferably have one way of entering and a different way of exiting. If rear entrance: Enter seat people to the front of the building first. Excuse people at the furthest back first. Opposite if front entrance. This reduces the number of times people pass each other. Currently being practiced by airlines.
Avoid using elevators due to poor circulation of air, and people’s sensitivity to aerosol disinfectants. If elevator is used, provide wipes for buttons and contact surfaces. Ask all able bodied persons to use stairs to enter and exit.
Seat people in family groups.
Seat people apart as per CDC guidelines. Currently 6 feet apart. Rather than shaking hands, people may greet using their hands put together in a praying position and bowing to others.
Remove hymnals, papers, or cards that might be routinely accessible.
Replace, with electronic or individual printing or hymns as per request.
Envelopes for giving should be mailed or distributed upon entering.
Passing of offering plates should be discontinued:
Instead have them placed where the people enter and exit. With reminders.
Offering on website.
Mail in offerings.
Singing? consider low volume chanting to reduce spread. Or, use instrumentals instead.
Communion individual servings that can be purchased. If not available, sanitarily prepare juice individual cups in containers without using adjoining cup spaces. Individual cracker packets can be purchased and both available/consumed as people exit building at end of service.
Closed individual servings are offered as people enter to be seated.
Closed servings are consumed where seated during service.
Other items, snack and visitation:
Difficult one. Avoid for the time.
Offer pre-packed purchased snacks. Hand Sanitizer available. Consider one person to squirt liquid on members hands.
Monitor people as they approach. Remind about best practice social distance to avoid virus spread and using sanitizer.
Signs reminding about required distance at entrances, classrooms, and fellowship areas..
Small groups resume with number of people as per CDC guidelines, currently 50 in
Saline County Ks, phase 3. Keep distance. Keep using masks.
CDC Cleaning post-service.
Wait at least 20 minutes after congregants leave to allow all particulates to settle.
CDC Disinfectants include several that require 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Many have an acid component. Consider the health of persons and use of sprays and use masks. Fine furniture (Pews) use only moistened soap water cleaning with strokes all in same direction, do not swipe back over the cleaned area. (Evelyn wonders if large cotton bed sheets could cover pews in front of congregants and washed between events to reduce the amount of cleaning required.)