Fr. Andrew shares news regarding new COVID restrictions, and how they will impact our church community.
As you probably know, DuPage county is being placed under more stringent restrictions in response to an increase in COVID cases. I wanted to briefly lay out how that will effect our congregation, and explain some of our thinking as we sort out our policies for keeping everyone safe when we gather.
First and foremost, our primary concern is public health. Gathering has been so good for us as a church, and we want to continue in whatever ways we can, but we want to be sure that our gatherings do not put ourselves, or our loved ones, at risk.
Churches are in a different category than restaurants or businesses, so all of the restrictions placed on those institutions don’t necessarily apply to us. The Illinois Department of Public Health has a document with guidelines for faith communities, and we’ve been using that as a template for our policies. Being in that different category gives us a little more leeway, but we never want to take advantage of those additional freedoms to the detriment of others.
So, in light of new restrictions, we are going to decrease our maximum number for indoor worship from 50 to 40 (which is 25% of the capacity of our nave). We are also going to be more vigilant about our disinfecting procedures, and continue to keep existing precautions in place, including:
- Wearing masks at all of our group gatherings at church (over the nose!)
- Maintaining social distancing when gathered
- Regularly using hand sanitizer
(Read the rest of our guidelines here)
Our outdoor service can continue to meet without a number restrictions, since we can mask and socially distance across the lawn and parking lot when we need to.
It is important to note: these precautions are effective! We had a case in the last few weeks where someone who was at a small event at All Souls later tested positive, but so far no one else at that gathering seems to have been infected. The person quickly informed everyone they came in contact with of the potential risk, and those folks were then able to take additional precautions while they figured out if anything had passed on.
These restrictions are tough. They make church life complicated. And they disrupt some of our life together. But in following them we are loving our neighbors and each other. I am so thankful that All Souls has been a place where we have stuck with those guidelines, and been able to limit potential and real exposure to the virus. May God continue to keep us safe in the weeks and months to come.