Covid19 Gathering Guidelines as of October 20, 2020.
The Safety Ministry team was asked by our church leaders to propose safety-related criteria for limited access of our church buildings as well as for outdoor meetings, including worship. We agreed that an incremental approach should be considered for building access, focusing first on the Parish House. We also discussed Howard House tenant usage (i.e., Junior League, nourishNJ) and will propose related criteria. We did not discuss COG building use and assume it will remain closed for the time being except for virtual worship filming, contracted security projects, and maintenance.
Limited Access to the Parish House
The following safety criteria are proposed to allow initial limited access to the Parish House.
- Use will be limited to:
- Small groups
- All use will be scheduled and require prior approval through the church office/staff (e.g., pastors, Director of Operations).
- Social distancing guidelines must be followed throughout the building, including the Office, work rooms, and rest rooms. This includes no handshakes, hugs, etc. Particular care should be taken in areas where people may tend to congregate (e.g., the Office, a copy room, etc.).
- Everyone should wear masks while on church property. A supply of masks should be available in the Office for those who arrive for meetings without them. Staff working alone in their offices need not wear a mask.
- Rooms used for meetings should not be scheduled for another meeting until 7 days have elapsed. This follows current CDC guidance and scientific findings that a 7-day period of non-use is sufficient to assure the virus is no longer active. This requirement should be revisited once we are able to acquire more advanced disinfecting equipment.
- Cleaning of high touch surfaces and commonly used areas should be performed according to CDC guidelines. This includes wiping down frequently used doors, copy machines, any phones in common areas, and the elevator panel often while the building is in use; including at the end of the day. Cleaning will be the responsibility of the Director of Operations and his team.
- Everyone should be encouraged to bring their own hand sanitizer. A supply should be available to replenish the public dispenser in the first-floor hallway when necessary.
- A screening questionnaire will be available for required use by meeting facilitators and others in screening meeting attendees and visitors. This will include questions as to:
- Recent travel
- Illness and any current symptoms
- Exposure to someone who is COVID-19 positive or who is suspected positive and awaiting test results.
- Persons in categories the CDC considers ‘high risk’ for COVID-19 should be advised not to attend meetings in our buildings at this time.
- All visiting the Parish House for whatever purpose should sign in at the Office and provide their name, phone number, date/time and reason for their visit – to facilitate contact tracing.
- The Parish House Kitchen should not be used, nor should food and beverages be brought in for use by others. (Personal kitchen use by the staff would be excepted.)
- Appropriate signage should be placed on the Parish House door informing those entering to sign in, wear a mask, and not to enter if screening questions (noted in 8 above) are not met.
- Individuals visiting the Parish House should comply with the general criteria in Section 1.
- The screening questionnaire should be sent in advance to the individual by the person approving the individual’s visit. That person should confirm the individual reviewed the questionnaire and has no issues prior to arrival.
Small Group Meetings
- Meetings will be limited to our 3 large meeting rooms: the Erdman Room, Sheffield Hall, and South Street Hall; and scheduled as available (i.e., one meeting per week per 5 above). Smaller rooms (e.g., the Conference Room, Library, etc.) should not be used.
- The total number of attendees will be subject to state limitations (currently 10 per meeting).
- Set-up and seating should comply with social distancing guidelines (i.e., 6 feet between individuals).
- Meeting facilitators are responsible for sending the screening questionnaire to all attendees in advance of their meeting; and confirm those attending have read it and have no issues also prior to the meeting. They should ask attendees to wear a mask when attending the meeting.
- There should be no use of the kitchen or food served at the meeting.
- Attendees should limit rest room access to one at a time to avoid queuing.
- Staff who are working onsite should comply with the general criteria in Section 1.
- Companies sending workers onsite (‘Contractors’) should be informed by the Director of Operations of our criteria and that we hold them responsible to screen their employees daily prior to their arrival on the job site.
- Contractor’s employees should be required to conform to CDC guidelines established for contractors regarding ‘distancing and masks’ in the daily activities required for their work.
- Workers will be required to wear a mask while on church property, except in remote areas of the building (e.g. basement, wiring closets) where other visitors are not present and wearing a mask may not be feasible.
- In the event Contractors are working on a project that does not allow appropriate separation from others in the building, the Director of Operations will determine whether other visitors should be limited, or the building closed on certain days while the project is ongoing.
- Contractors should be advised that in the event a worker is onsite who later develops COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, the Director of Operations should be immediately notified.
Use of the Howard House
The following safety criteria are proposed to allow use of Howard House by current tenants:
- Cleaning of common areas will be increased to once daily (from weekly).
- Tenants will be advised that their leased facilities are available subject to state restrictions.
- Tenants will be advised that masks are required in all common spaces in Howard House. Common spaces include the entrance foyers, downstairs hallway, downstairs bathroom, and the stairwell.
- Tenants will be responsible for implementing their own safety criteria per state/CDC restrictions and guidelines for their leased space, including social distancing, wearing of masks while in the building, screening, and contact tracing.
- Tenants will be responsible for advising PCM (Director of Operations) if a person testing positive for COVID-19 was in the building. All other tenants should be advised accordingly (by the Director of Operations or church office).
The following are proposed safety criteria for outdoor meetings on church property:
- Meetings will be subject to state and local restrictions, including limits on number of attendees.
- All attendees should wear masks.
- People with health issues or in categories the CDC considers ‘high risk’ for COVID-19 should consider not attending.
- There should be no food provided, although individuals can bring their own.
- Social distancing guidelines (e.g., 6 feet between each person) should be enforced at all times. This includes no handshakes or hugs.
- Attendees should be encouraged to bring their own personal hand sanitizer as none will be provided.
- There should be no access to any church buildings. If the Parish House is to be used (e.g., for rest room access) the criteria in the ‘Limited Access to Parish House’ section for Small Group Meetings will also apply.
- Meeting coordinators are responsible for sending attendees screening questions prior to the meeting, similar to those we will use for building access, to indicate those situations where people should not attend.
- Meeting coordinators are responsible for retaining a list of those attending the meeting to facilitate contact tracing, should that be necessary.