COVID-19 Precautions Update
May 9, 2021
May 9, 2021
- Pennsylvania lifts all business restrictions on May 31. For our worship, it means that beginning with the June 6 service capacity and distancing requirements no longer need to be followed. You will be free to sit in any location in the sanctuary. We will also maintain live streaming to Davidson Chapel, where chairs will still be set with distancing for those who prefer that format. And our YouTube channel live stream, which has been such a blessing to those who cannot attend in person for whatever reason, will become a permanent part of our ministry.
- Between now and June 6, capacity and distancing requirements remain in effect. However, noting that the congregation is well accustomed to the distancing protocols, we will remove the somewhat inhospitable caution tape from the pews, and instead simply request everyone to remain observant of the distancing requirements for the next few weeks.
- Also between now and June 6, we still ask for entry through the 21st Street doors and exit through the Market Street doors. This request will be lifted beginning June 6.
- The sanitizing guidelines are now more applicable to spaces that are in everyday use, and so we will no longer be sanitizing the sanctuary on Sundays.
- Because Davidson Chapel is frequently used for other gatherings, we will continue to sanitize it after Sunday services, and ask any other groups using it to also sanitize at the conclusion of their meeting if there’s a reasonable expectation that others will be using it any time in the 24 hours following their meeting.
Sunday School Classes, Community Groups and Boards
- Small group gatherings are welcome in the Church. Between now and May 31, to maintain current distancing requirements (particularly seating arrangements) small groups should continue to meet in Davidson Chapel or Fellowship Hall, although groups of 10 or fewer can meet in the larger 2nd floor room of the Education Wing.
- Beginning May 31, the capacity restrictions are lifted and so larger groups and closer seating arrangements will be permitted.
- Masks are still required for Sunday worship and music rehearsals, from building entry through departure and including the time while participating in the service, whether in the sanctuary or in Davidson Chapel. Going forward we will make modifications to this standard consistent with changes in state and federal policy, currently targeted when Pennsylvania reaches a 70 percent vaccination rate. We anticipate that determination will run independent of the May 31 business reopening, and we will keep you updated. In the meantime, we are grateful for your full cooperation.
- While guidance for vaccinated individuals permits optional masking when everyone in the room is vaccinated, 1) health privacy laws prohibit us from asking anyone’s vaccination status and 2) it is unlikely that all people in a mass gathering will be vaccinated, so there is no practical way for us to make this part of our protocols.
- However, we have determined that an acceptable exception to the mask requirement is for small group gatherings, so long as safe distancing can be and is maintained. Effective immediately, masks will be optional for small groups, defined as 15 or fewer in Davidson Chapel and Fellowship Hall or 10 or fewer in the larger rooms of the Education Wing. Because this is contingent on distancing, masks should be maintained for larger groups or groups where close seating is required.
- Please note our purposeful use of the word “optional” for the small group standard and for the time when state and federal rules change. We recognize that there may be many who will choose to continue wearing masks for some time to come. We want to acknowledge that preference, and ask everyone to understand that those choices are made for deeply personal reasons that may relate to underlying health conditions, capacity to be vaccinated, higher-level workplace requirements or other circumstances. We appreciate your kind understanding of those choices.
- The nature of coffee café makes it inherently difficult to maintain either distancing or masking requirements, and so a decision on resuming coffee café will be made at a later date.
- But with the arrival of better weather and the relaxation of outdoor rules, be on the lookout for some occasional outdoor special events following the worship service this summer!