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COVID19 Health Guidelines for the Church

  • Conference implemented Phase 2 of the BC Restart Plan since June 1, 2020. We endeavor to support clergy, workers, members, families and visitors in staying safe and healthy as we enter into the “New Normal.” The challenge for all church members & friends will be to modify behaviors and implement protective measures to allow for greater interactions without putting health of our loved ones at risk.
  • No gatherings or events of more than 50 people may take place. If you are planning a smaller event, it is important to ensure that physical distancing is possible – so people are able to maintain at least two meters (or 6 feet) between them at all times.

    A. Church Services may continue as long as each event is set up for safety and has a written plan to keep people safe. Here are the risk-reduction measures to be implemented:
    • A group no greater than 50 people may congregate in one place.
    • Practice 6-foot physical distancing (including Praise team), including entering and exiting the church, going to and from the platform, etc.
    • Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. This is the most important COVID-19 preventions.
    • Wash hands with plain soap and water OR an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with a minimum of 60% alcohol content), before and after services, meetings, or events. 
    • Encourage members to greet each other with a smile and wave, as opposed to any direct person-to-person contact.
    • Inform those over age 60, those having compromised immune systems, or underlying chronic medical conditions to take extra precautions.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when coughing or sneezing and avoid others who are unwell. Cough into your elbow or use a tissue to avoid coughing or sneezing into either your hands or into the air. Dispose of used tissues right away into an appropriate receptable and immediately wash your hands.
    • Hand shaking or hugs are not permitted
    • Families from the same household can sit together.
    • Fellowship meals, buffets, potlucks, or sharing of food or utensils are not permitted. Eating pre-packaged meals is permitted.
    • Recommended: Have dedicated “Entrance Only” and “Exit Only” doors.
    • Household units may stay together.
    • Communion services are not permitted. (Virtual Communion Services are encouraged)
    • Remind members to stay at home if any of their direct family members (or people they have regular contact with) are unwell.
    • When the offering is taken, all those who handle cash or coins must wash their hands frequently with soap and water. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be passed on to others by touching or handling cash.
      • frequently with soap and water. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be passed on to others by touching or handling cash.
    • B. Non-Medical Masks or Face Covering

      1. Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, May 21, 2020: “With respect to masks, I don’t expect to make them a requirement in any settings.” Wearing a mask is an “additional layer [of protection] in some situations. . . particularly in enclosed or crowded settings where you might be indoors . . . where you may not be able to always maintain that [six foot] distance.”
      2. Recommended: In situations where reasonable physical distancing cannot be consistently maintained, and engineering controls are not available (e.g. plexiglass barriers). Since physical distancing is required at all church settings, masks are, therefore, not required.
    • C. Cleaning and Washroom Rules:

      1. Ensure increased cleaning throughout the day when in use. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, bathrooms and other surfaces at least once a day. Regular household cleaning products are effective at eliminating COVID-19. Follow the directions on the product label.
      2. Place sanitizers at building entrances.
      3. Provide COVID-19 prevention supplies during services or events, such as plain soap, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, tissues, and wastebaskets. 
      4. Ensure the washrooms are always well stocked with liquid soap and paper towels and that warm running water is available. Antibacterial soap is not required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
      5. People must still stay six feet apart in washrooms, or one person (or members of one household) may be in the washroom at any one time.
      6. Have paper towels to open door with garbage can by door.

        D. Posters: Post BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) posters on church doors (andbulletin boards where possible):
      1. In bathrooms and on bulletin boards:
        1. http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID19-Prevention.pdf 
      2. On entrance doors and on bulletin boards (where possible):
        1. http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Info-Site/Documents/COVID19_DoNotEnterPoster.pdf
      3. On entrance doors and on bulletin boards (where possible):
        1. http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Professionals-Site/Documents/COVID19_PhysicalDistancingPoster.pdf
      4. In bathrooms:
        1. http://www.bccdc.ca/Health-Professionals-Site/Documents/COVID19_Handwashing%20Poster_MD%20offices.pdf