COVID-19 Prevention & Mitigation
Updated - June 10, 2021
The SMART team met on Wednesday, June 2nd, to continue to evaluate protocols and next steps as a congregation. Here are the updates to our current COVID-19 protocols (these protocols now largely move the congregation to Phase 4 Stage 2 in our reopening plan)
- Throughout June we will continue to wear masks and maintain physical distancing for indoor worship services. We continue to watch trends on vaccination and positivity rates. At this point we anticipate continued indoor use of face masks and physical distancing through July. We are also looking at plans to begin congregational singing early in July.
- We will continue with small group choirs/soloists/duets/bells throughout June for the indoor services and refrain from congregational singing until after July 4th.
- Pre-packaged Communion will continue throughout June.
- Offering baskets will continue to be available while entering or exiting the sanctuary (versus passing the offering plates).
- We will be moving away from masks at the outdoor worship services, due to the extensive research available indicating little chance transmission outdoors, as well as the declining positivity rate.
- As of June 14, congregational singing will be allowed outdoors.
- We do ask people to bring masks and to wear them when coming forward for communion or moving around the worship space as a courtesy to others who have not yet been vaccinated.
- We will continue with continuous communion (as done on Easter, etc.)
Outdoor Ministries & Activities
- St. Michael's no longer requires masks to be worn during our outdoor programming and activities, unless specified. While masks will no longer be required, we welcome people to wear them, and even encourage mask wearing to help keep yourself and others safe and healthy.
Inside the Church
- We will continue to wear masks in the church hallways, public areas, and sanctuary.
Choirs & Music Groups
- SMART has updated guidance to allow for choir rehearsals of up to 30 people in the fellowship hall, sanctuary, or outdoors. Again, they encourage all who are able to be vaccinated to do so before joining in choral activities.
- Because of limited space for indoor worship with physical distancing, larger choral groups can sing at outdoor services, but not at indoor services (choral groups for indoor services remain at approx. 15 people).
Food & Socializing
- SMART approved finger/small food (appetizers, cupcakes, donut holes, etc.) for outdoor receptions for memorials and baptisms--with guidance for limited seating and encouraging physical distancing. Similarly, beverages and snacks are approved for smaller church and community groups outdoors with physical distancing.
- The plan is to resume coffee hours on July 11--with lemonade/coffee/water and donut holes on the fellowship hall patio—with physical distancing.
- SMART has approved meals/snacks for youth groups outside; and allows for indoor meals food for youth groups--encouraging guidelines similar to schools with physical distancing, facing the same direction, etc.
St. Michael's ELCA is a Reconciling in Christ Congregation.