COVID-19 Response

COVID-19 Dashboard

For {COUNTY} County, the recommendation is

based on the following statistics:

  • Cases per 100k: 1.00
  • Positive test rate: 1.00

A rationale for the criteria:
In-person gatherings and worship are not recommended if the “cases per 100k” benchmark is above 75 or if the “cases per 100k” benchmark is above 25 AND the “positive test rate” benchmark is above 10 percent.


This data is provided by CovidActNow.org under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license. If you have any issues with this dashboard, please contact Jacob Turner at jacob.turner@arumc.org.

Legal Disclaimer
Michelle Ator, Chancellor for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church, has provided COVID-19 legal advice for trustees.

In accordance with The Discipline, The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church cannot direct the actions of the trustees of a local church. In the strongest terms, however, the Conference urges all local church leaders to make themselves familiar with Arkansas Department of Health and CDC guidelines and to put them into practice immediately, if they have not already done so.

Local church trustees are reminded that The Discipline provides that subject to the discretion of the charge conference, they have supervision, oversight and care of all property of the local church. Under Arkansas law, this includes the responsibility to see that church premises are used in a reasonably safe manner. Trustees are urged to take reasonable steps to maintain the health of staff, members and visitors, including following current guidelines with respect to COVID-19 precautions.

Revised ARUMC Stage 2.5 Information (as of December 14, 2020)

  • Safe social distance seating is allowed for any indoor or outdoor in-person gathering
    • Safe social distance seating can be calculated by taking the square footage of available seating space in a room (not total square footage in a room) and dividing it by 36 (which is the ‘safety bubble’ of six-by-six feet). If your sanctuary can only accommodate safe social distance seating for 30 people, this is the maximum number of people who can gather in-person in that space.
    • Calculating the number of “bubbles” in sanctuaries and worship centers: This involves two separate calculations. First, calculate the number of 36 sq. ft. “bubbles” that can be fit in the area where worship leaders are located. This is the maximum number of pastors, liturgists, musicians, and worship leaders who can fit in the chancel or on the stage. Second, calculate the number of “36 sq. ft. bubbles” that can be fit into the sanctuary or worship center seating area. This is the maximum number of worshipers who can attend worship at any one time.
    • Adjusting your calculations for family units of two or more: You will have to make two adjustments because of households that want to sit together. The first is to create a bigger “bubble” to accommodate more people. The second is to make sure you have six feet in every direction between “bubbles.” You may want to create bigger “bubbles” as you plan for in-person events. This adjustment may result in fewer “bubbles” in the room, but allow more people to attend.
  • Worship and Events
    • Worship, Bible studies and formation groups should continue to be livestreamed to include those who choose not to come and to potentially reach new seekers.
    • In-person events (including nursery, children and youth) should last no more than 60 minutes if held outdoors and 45 minutes if held indoors.
    • All worship leaders and musicians may take off their masks while leading worship. All worship leaders must remain 12 feet apart.
    • Individually wrapped elements should be used for the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
    • All weddings and funerals must meet all ARUMC Stage 2.5 Guidelines.
  • The Board of Trustees of each congregation must approve all plans related to addressing COVID-19. Congregations must keep their District Superintendent apprised of their plans and of any instances of COVID-19.
  • Lists of participants for each event must be kept so that contact tracing can be undertaken if needed.
  • Churches should be aware that their local situations may include a higher positivity rate and develop closing policies based on:
    • the number of active cases and hospitalizations in their county
    • actions of their local school districts – if schools go virtual, worship should go virtual as well
    • probable exposure and contact tracing guidelines from the ADH and CDC
  • No candles should be blown out at any Christmas services, even if done outdoors. Battery operated candles are an acceptable alternative.
  • Recommended Resources

Legal Disclaimer
Michelle Ator, Chancellor for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church, has provided COVID-19 legal advice for trustees.

In accordance with The Discipline, The Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church cannot direct the actions of the trustees of a local church. In the strongest terms, however, the Conference urges all local church leaders to make themselves familiar with Arkansas Department of Health and CDC guidelines and to put them into practice immediately, if they have not already done so.

Local church trustees are reminded that The Discipline provides that subject to the discretion of the charge conference, they have supervision, oversight and care of all property of the local church. Under Arkansas law, this includes the responsibility to see that church premises are used in a reasonably safe manner. Trustees are urged to take reasonable steps to maintain the health of staff, members and visitors, including following current guidelines with respect to COVID-19 precautions.