The intention of these guidelines is to deter and contain the spread of COVID-19 among our members and in our communities. The health and wellness of our members, employees and their loved ones is our top priority. The guidelines outlined in this document are set forth with the protection of our constituency in mind.
Yet, we also consider the important ministry that is done in our churches, both for our members and the communities they serve. At this time, we have sought to evaluate how to maintain crucial health and safety precautions while also facilitating the valuable ministry we exist to provide.
One of the most important ways we can protect one another’s health is to avoid unnecessary close contact. Please review the infection control precautions below as they relate to the guidelines that follow. You may also find more helpful pointers at https://cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Infection Control Precautions
As infection control precautions are referenced throughout this document, these precautions will refer to the following four points:
- Strictly follow social distancing measures by requiring individuals present to be separated by at least 6 feet (excluding individuals or groups of family members that reside together)
- Have washing facilities available with hand soap or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Place a conspicuous sign at the entrance asking that those who are experiencing coughing or sneezing do not visit
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such a doorknobs and hard surfaces
1: How long will these guidelines be in effect?
These guidelines will be in effect until April 19, 2020, or until further notice.
2: How are local churches to collect and sort their mail, etc.?
Limited employees, such as the secretary or pastor, can go to the church to complete essential tasks that absolutely cannot be completed offsite, as long as infection control practices are followed strictly. It would also be recommended that, wherever possible, if two or more individuals are at the church they are in different physical areas of the church. Please coordinate such visits with other church employees to minimize overlap as much as possible.
3: Can church staff go into the church to pick up materials to take home for remote work?
Yes, as long as infection control practices as listed above are strictly adhered to.
4: Can a custodian work at the local church during the week?
Yes, please coordinate visits with other church employees to ensure as limited overlap as possible. Custodial/janitorial worker(s) should follow infection control precautions.
5: How are local church payroll checks to be processed?
Local churches are to follow SCC’s existing approval and timecard submission process. Approvals should be processed via email.
6: How are local church employee’s timecards to be signed off on?
Local churches are to follow SCC’s existing approval and timecard submission process. We are accepting email consent from the supervisor.
7: What about opening and closing the church and monitoring tenant use?
The church property manager may open and close the church for a tenant as long as they avoid unnecessary close contact with the tenant and practice infection control precautions. The individual opening and closing the church should not support sound systems for tenant events.
8: Is distribution of food allowed? How many people are permitted to participate, including recipients?
This is permitted, again as long as proper social distancing and hygiene is practiced at all times. Fresh foods should be bagged by volunteers, and no direct handoff of items should occur. An adequate number of volunteers needed to perform this service will be permitted to participate at one time, while still observing social distancing practices. Volunteers should ensure that recipients follow proper social distancing practices.
9: Will members have any opportunity to visit the church facility to pick up new Sabbath School lesson quarterlies?
Yes. The church should designate specific times that quarterlies would be available for pick-up and ensure that social distancing and proper hygiene are practiced in all aspects. No personal hand-off should occur.
10: Will members have any opportunity to visit the church facility to submit tithe?
Yes. Members to check with the local church leadership for instructions.
11: Can a group of 4 to 5 people meet at an individual’s house to livestream?
No. This would constitute a private gathering.
12: Can a church rent a drive-in theater to conduct worship services?
No. Drive-in theaters are considered non-essential businesses that should be closed.
13: Can livestreaming of services be done from churches?
Yes, as long as there are 5 or fewer individuals present and proper infection control precautions are practiced at all times. There should be no in-person audience for livestreaming.
Published March 25, 2020