Here Are Some General Takeaways From Dr. Babinchak’s Presentation:
Outdoors gatherings are always safer than indoors. (Very few cases of outdoor transmission have been documented.) The more air exchange you have indoors, the better.
People should not attend church if they are sick (regardless of whether they think they have COVID).
Emphasize hand-washing. Open restrooms or provide other ways for people to wash hands at church.
Wearing masks and maintaining distance will always lower risk. Masks protect others, not the wearer. You will not always know if you have vulnerable or ill people in your church.
If wearing your mask is comfortable, it’s probably not on correctly. Proper fit is important.
Dr. Babinchak suggested that singing softly and soft liturgical responses with masks is possible indoors and outdoors. Distancing reduces risk. Remember, if someone is unvaccinated or ill, singing is a high-risk activity for those around them.
For vaccinated persons, there should be no issue with sharing communion as usual, Dr. Babinchak said. Provide other options for unvaccinated or vulnerable persons.
Coffee hours and social times are best done outdoors and kept short.
It is safe to return hymnals to the pews. As long as people wash hands and stay home if they are sick, there should be no problem. If services are back-to-back, materials should be cleaned in between.
There is little risk of transmission when people move in the sanctuary; for example, to read at the lectern or participate in a children’s sermon. Close grouping of people has a higher risk.