I hope that you are enjoying the summer and that you are getting a break and experiencing a slower than usual pace of life. As I head into three weeks of holiday, I wanted to take a moment to write to provide this update on leading and attending worship, and COVID-19 protocols.
I know many of you are beginning to think about the fall, and the possibility of a full return to worship, and some of you have already returned. In my most recent meeting with the Public Health officials, they indicate that there is no plan to return to province wide restrictions. Measures will be taken on an as needed basis to manage local outbreaks. While worship services are not subject to restrictions under current Provincial Health Officer Orders, there are many basic precautions that Communities of Faith can implement to keep their services a low risk setting for transmission. Many of the measures put in place during the pandemic still offer a level of protection and help to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Communities of Faith may choose to put precautions and requirements in place that are above and beyond what is in the Provincial guidance document. Encouraging or requiring mask use, physical distancing, and restricting activities such as singing or sharing food are all measures that reduce virus transmission.
The most important message is that staff and congregation members need to stay home when they are unwell. Communication about how important this is, as well to stay connected electronically will be important to facilitate this goal. LeaderShift is offering workshops to help think about ‘hybrid’ offerings.
The national church advises us that we should not be asking people about vaccination status. We should, however, encourage people to be vaccinated in order to protect themselves, as well as those who are unable to be vaccinated. You may also suggest that people who are unvaccinated adults to wear masks at all times when in the building.
Dr Henry has expressed some concern about the potential for transmission when offering communion. As such, we are still recommending single serving communion. Pre-cut bread served using tongs or gloves, and individual communion cups served at the front (as opposed to passed along the rows) is recommended.
Online offerings, or opportunities to deposit donations into a receptacle upon entry or leaving is recommended.
WorkSafe requires a contagious disease prevention plan. Please refer to the guidance here: https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/books-guides/communicable-disease-prevention-guide-employers?lang=en
Key elements of this plan include:
- promoting hand hygiene by providing hand-hygiene facilities with appropriate supplies, and reminding people through policies and signage to wash their hands regularly.
- Maintaining a clean environment through routine cleaning processes
- Ensuring building ventilation is properly maintained and functioning as designed.
We will be fully re-opening the Cliff Ave office after the labour day weekend.
Enjoy these blessed days of summer