Best Practices for Health Safety
Evangel Phase 1 Plan
Complete Phase 1 Plan
A decision was made to cancel services beginning March 22 for at least two weeks in response to COVID-19. Since that time the pandemic has grown in ways few imagined, and restrictions on in-person gatherings have been extended several times. The Evangel staff has responded to these restrictions by conducting online worship services and teaching opportunities each week, and working to ensure that members are staying in touch.
On May 8, 2020, Gov. Ralph Northam indicated that Virginia would enter Phase One of his Forward Virginia plan on May 15, 2020, which would include the easing of restrictions on businesses and religious bodies. Thus, it is time to start on the gradual, responsible and safety-conscious road to reopening our church facility. This will be done with government, CDC and other health professionals’ guidelines in mind. Currently, we are only meeting online. We plan to move into “Phase 1” beginning this Sunday, May 17, based on changing health trends and guidelines.
Evangel Church leaders are committed to making each service the best it can be while still submitting to the larger scope of wisdom regarding in-person gatherings. Clearly, this situation is fluid, yet, despite the uncertainty, we are working on a phased plan to reopen our facility based on the best available information. This plan prioritizes love for our neighbors by keeping people safe (Matt. 22:39), showing proper, biblical respect for our government officials (Rom 13:1), and demonstrates that we trust our Church family to make wise decisions.
There is no question that we desire to gather in-person. But we are committed to doing so in a safe and responsible way. A phased plan will not only help avoid gathering too soon but also not hold our church in this online only era for longer than needed. Deciding how to move through the phases is rather complex. Although we are monitoring the situation and working in conjunction with our state and local authorities, the reality is our Governor will set the phases, the criteria, and precautions to be taken as restrictions are loosened. In addition, the White House has established a framework for a three phased approach to resuming activity and is probably close to what will be recommended. You can view that plan at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/#criteria. In addition, we will employ the following best practices:
Best Practices for Health Safety
FOR FURTHER RESEARCH ON COVID-19:
|Medical Professionals: We will follow recommendations to ensure we are adhering to basic health protocols related to the health of those attending in-person worship.
||Provide COVID-19 Protection: Hand sanitizing stations will be provided at the exits and entrances of the building. You are enouraged to wear masks, gloves, or other protective gear.
|General Guidance: Each person has a responsibility to look out for the welfare of others. From the CDC, -symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms or combinations of symptoms may have COVID-19:
•Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Or at least two of these symptoms:
•Repeated shaking with chills
•New loss of taste or smell
|Discourage Personal Contact: We will discontinue fellowship times in worship and maintain social distancing.
|Clean & Clean Again: We will ensure a clean building. Protocols have been implemented to reduce the spread of the virus at our facility.
|CDC Guidelines: Follow specific CDC guidance for childcare or educational programming for children and youth, as well as encouraging those with underlying health conditions to avoid in-person gatherings (for a detailed list, see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html
|Appropriate Social Distancing: Since the standard is 6 feet for appropriate social distancing, we utilize that standard in calculating the distance between family units in pews, worship leaders, and all volunteers and staff.
|Worship and Christian Education Options
|We will continue to offer online services as in-person phases begin. In this way, the church provides two options: limited worship in the church and church online Sunday 10am.
||Small groups/Educational classes for adults will continue online Wednesdays 7pm. Small adult groups will be allowed to meet during the week (Adult Small Group Study - Wednesday 4-5pm) in the sanctuary practicing social distancing and high safety and health standards. Classrooms for children or youth will not be available during this initial phase of reopening.
|We will reduce seating capacity with social distancing measures in place. Seating will be limited to every other row. Family units can be seated together.
CDC’s main COVID-19 Web page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html
Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 Web page: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/ coronavirus/
Virginia Governor’s COVID-19 Web page: https://www.virginia.gov/coronavirus/
Evangel Church Phase 1 Plan
*Vulnerable Populations as Defined by the CDC:
||PHASE ONE (Limited)
||Encouraged to Stay Home
|Those w/Symptoms of COVID-19
|Group Activities (Café, Lunch, Men/Women meetings)
|Worship Services Sunday 10AM
||Service with Reduced Seating and Social Distancing/Online Church
|Adult Small Group Study
||Reduced Seating and Social distancing Wed 4-5PM/Online Teaching Wed 7PM
|Nursery/Evangel Kids/AWANA Clubs
Vulnerable populations include, but is not limited to:
How will we make sure people are not sitting too close to one another?
- Individuals 65 years old and older
- Individuals with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised (such as by chemotherapy or cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy)
We will utilize the CDC recommendation of 6’ per person separation guideline. Every other pew will be available for seating with participants encouraged to maintain adequate social distancing. This guidance does not apply to members of the same household. Pews “unavailable” for seating will be roped off.
Where do I enter?
We will limit access into and out of the building to the two main sanctuary entrances. Doors will be clearly marked. There will be no access to other areas of the facility. In addition, all external and internal doors will be propped open to ensure a “touchless” entry.
Should I wear a mask?
Information from CDC on cloth face coverings indicates wearing a mask reduces the potential for transmission of the COVID-19 virus. You are enouraged to wear a mask, gloves, and any other personal protective equipment that you wish.
Will the bathrooms be open?
Yes, but access will be limited to one person at a time during Phase One. And, of course, there is signage reminding folks to wash their hands.
How will the offering be received?
Offering buckets will not be passed between congregants. Ushers will be attending offering buckets at the exit doors at the end of the service to receive the offering.
What about Communion?
Communion trays will not be passed between congregants in the first phase of in-person worship. We will provide online opportunities for participants to join for communion in their own homes.
Will there be Children’s Ministry available?
There will be no Children’s Ministry available during Phase One. It is not possible to ask children to social distance! As such, we have determined that our “safest” approach is to follow the lead of the schools. Under the White House plan, schools are allowed to reopen in Phase Two. So, we anticipate some type of return to Children’s Ministry during Phase Two, although it will be limited in scope.
Where should I park?
There are no restrictions on where people can park. Our lot is large and spacious. Keep in mind, only the two main sanctuary entrances will be open. Look for signage.
What should I do when I arrive?
The doors will open 15 minutes prior to service time. If you arrive before then, please remain in your vehicle as there will be no common gathering areas within the facility in order to maintain adequate social distancing.
What will be different?
During Phase One expect an abbreviated service, 10-10:45AM. When service concludes, drop your offerings in the offering bucket as you exit. No fellowship time, hugs, handshakes, or elbow bumps – but know you are loved. If you don’t feel comfortable attending quite yet, no worries, continue to tune in to our online service.