As Sugar Grove Church prepares to offer onsite services beginning Sunday, May 24th, the recommendations from the State of Indiana’s Place of Worship Guidelines (updated May 6, 2020) are being put in place to provide a safe environment to reopen.
HOW DOES COVID-19 SPREAD?
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close
contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then
touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
GUIDANCE AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Places of Worship are encouraged to conduct as many activities as possible remotely.
Places of worship should continue using live stream, virtual services and drive-in services. Faith communities and
religious leaders quickly adapted to these alternative services which continue to be recommended practices. Preparing
live stream services and drive-in services should be conducted in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
In-person services are permitted in much of the state beginning May 8, 2020. However, social distancing and other sanitation measures will continue to apply.
If implementing in-person services, consider the following practices:
- All individuals who are 65 and older, those who have an underlying at-risk health conditions, and those with compromised immune systems are asked and encouraged to stay home and watch services online
- Ensure 6 feet between individuals or family units of the same households during services
- Space and mark seating, alternating rows when possible
- Clean between each service and regularly disinfect high-contact surfaces
- Place hand sanitizers in high-contact locations (e.g. bathroom, entry, exit) and ask staff, members and guests to sanitize their hands before entering the building
- Recommend putting on a face covering before entering the building
- Consider placing signage telling staff, members and guests to not enter if they are symptomatic or if they tested positive for COVID-19
- Implement no-contact greetings
- Avoid handing out materials
- Keep cafes, coffee and other self-service stations closed
- Establish safe protocols for any communion and collection to avoid contact
- Dismiss services in a way that supports social distancing
- Place readily visible signage to remind everyone of best hygiene practices
Additional resources for COVID-19 are available at the links below:
- Back on Track Revised Guidance for Places of Worship: https://backontrack.in.gov/files/BackOnTrack-IN_PlacesOfWorship.pdf
- Additional guidance for the faith community from the CDC can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/guidance-community-faith-organizations.html
- CDC COVID-19 webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/
- ISDH COVID-19 webpage: https://coronavirus.in.gov