Re-Entry Update - - - October 18, 2020
You know what they say about the best-laid plans . . .
When we announced that we would hold an in-person Shabbat service on October 17, we did so with the knowledge that things could go sideways on us. No sooner had we announced the date than the numbers of new infections in Pinellas began rising. And not just slightly: in the last ten days, the average number of new cases per day rose by more than 50%.
We watched the numbers for a few days to make sure it wasn’t just a fluke or aberration, but with no indication that the trend was decreasing, we consulted our medical experts, who advised us that the safest course would be to delay our in-person re-opening until the rate of new infections gets down to a reasonable level.
This was not a step we took lightly. Although we only recently announced a target date of October 17, the Task Force actually set that target over six weeks ago. In the interim, we have been hard at work getting ready.
As you might imagine, there were a lot of logistics involved in getting ready to re-open for Shabbat services. We had already done a lot of planning during the summer. We installed three air purifiers to promote better air circulation in the sanctuary and lobby. Then over the last several weeks, between and after the holy days, we ordered and installed directional equipment and signs, as well as hand sanitizing stations and Plexiglas dividers for the bimah. And during that time, the office staff got out the mailing announcing our planned opening.
The good news is that none of that effort was wasted. Everything is now in place for our new target date of October 31.
We promised that we would re-open only when it's safe. We are disappointed that the data has compelled us to cancel for this Shabbat, but the well-being of the congregation remains our first priority. We look forward to gathering as a congregation in the sanctuary when conditions permit.
We thank you for your continued understanding.
The CBS Re-Entry Task Force