Revised Worship Guidelines
Blessings of Easter to you all! Grace and peace to you in the name of our Risen Savior.
As of yesterday, all three of our California counties had moved into the “orange tier” (moderate spread) for COVID precautions. (As always, I am treating Yuma as similar to neighboring Imperial County.) This is good news, as it reflects falling case numbers and increasing vaccinations.
The orange tier also comes with loosened health authority restrictions on worship gatherings. Accordingly, following the recommendations of our diocesan Public Health Task Force, I am making the following modifications to our worship guidelines:
- Outdoor worship is still the preferred option. Masking and distancing rules apply.
However, indoor gatherings for worship may take place as long as the following capacity restrictions are met:
- No more than 50% of capacity is filled.
- Each household group is spaced at least 6 feet from any other household group. Please note that the distancing requirements may mean that your attendance limitation is actually less than 50%.
- Double masking for all participants is required. Please have extra masks available at the door as people enter.
- Congregational singing is still not permitted.
- Choir singers and instrumental musicians may sing (or play their instruments) while wearing masks, and should be well distanced from any other participant.
- Please provide the best ventilation possible for indoor worship.
- Please keep worship services to 45 minutes or less, to the extent possible.
- Previous restrictions on communion still apply; i.e., no sharing of the common cup at this time; please distribute bread while taking care to maintain masking and distancing. A small amount of wine should be consecrated and consumed by the celebrant.
Small groups may meet indoors:
- Without restriction if all participants are fully vaccinated;
- With masking and 6-foot distancing if participants are not fully vaccinated.
- Church offices may reopen when all staff members are fully vaccinated or have had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated, and two weeks have elapsed to gain full immunity. Masking and distancing should be maintained when visitors are present. If two or more staff members are not vaccinated, please take precautions to protect them from each other.
As always, I am praying for you all as you lead your congregations through this challenging time.