As we head into the final weeks of 2021, and look forward to 2022, we do so realizing the pandemic that started here in 2020 is still with us. You have been diligent in following our guidelines from the District, and from each state where we have local churches gathering (NY, NJ, CT).
To that end, we need to make sure you are aware of the new requirements by the NY State Department of Health. Effective today, Monday December 13th, ALL NY State public spaces (any space the public is invited to enter) will be required to institute a MASK MANDATE unless they have a vaccine mandate in place. This does not mean an either/or option, it means unless you have a full vaccine mandate then everyone, regardless of vaccine status, will need to be masked. There is no exception in the ruling for houses of worship.
This means you will need to require masks for entry to and use of your church, or anywhere non-family members are gathering, regardless of vaccine status. We also acknowledge this is a NY State ruling, but given so many of our congregants can travel easily across state lines, we're asking all of our churches in NJ and CT to also join in this effort.
We know how difficult these days have been, and this will be seen by most as a depressing reality, especially as it will impact your Christmas gatherings. But our diligence has been evident in that no mass spread of COVID (Covid 19, Delta, or Omicron) has been linked to any of our churches. You have done well - I ask you to continue to serve your congregation well by protecting them all.
PS - - if you have any questions about this new mandate, please feel free to email our Director of Finance and Operations, Bruce Barnard, at firstname.lastname@example.org.