COVID-19 ResponseFrequently Asked Questions
Do we need to wear masks for worship?
The current guidance from the CDC is that “to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” Please note that this applies to indoor worship only, for both fully vaccinated people and unvaccinated people. Church leaders should take this into consideration before making any announcements to their congregation. (source 1, 2)
Is there still a time limit for gathering for in-person worship?
No, gatherings are only limited depending upon ventilation and space. However, “if your faith community offers multiple services, consider scheduling services far enough apart to allow time for cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces between services.” (source)
Do we need to maintain the 36 square foot bubble per family unit?
The current guidance from the CDC is that “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without…physically distancing…except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” Please note that this only applies to fully vaccinated people, unvaccinated people (whether in a group of vaccinated or unvaccinated people) should continue to socially distance themselves with at least 6 feet of space. Church leaders should take this into consideration before making any announcements to their congregation. (source)
May we sing in worship?
If the worship service is indoors, both fully vaccinated people and unvaccinated people may also sing, but only if masked and distanced.
May we use hymnals, registration pads, offering plates, etc?
You should strongly “consider temporarily limiting the sharing of frequently touched objects, such as worship aids, prayer rugs, prayer books, hymnals, religious texts and other bulletins, books, or other items passed or shared among congregants, and encouraging congregants to bring their own such items, if possible, or photocopying or projecting prayers, songs, and texts using electronic means.” (source)
What elements should we use for communion?
You should still offer pre-packaged elements only.
May we gather at full capacity?
“The size of the event should be determined based on whether attendees from different households can stay at least 6 feet (2 arm lengths).” (source)
May visitation teams resume calls to nursing homes and healthcare facilities?
While current federal guidance is that facilities should “allow responsible indoor visitation at all times and for all residents”, you will need to check with your local facility before visiting to gather their guidelines for pastoral visits. (source)
Children and Youth
May youth groups attend overnight in-person summer camps?
If attending any overnight camp programming, that programming should be in accordance with CDC guidelines found here.
May we offer childcare during worship and other events?
Yes, if in accordance with the CDC guidelines here and any applicable guidance from the Arkansas Department of Health or Department of Human Services (including these guidelines here).
May we resume offering self-serve coffee stations for small in-person gatherings?
No, as CDC guidance currently states that small gatherings should “have one person serve all the food.” (source)
May we resume having food and beverages at church-wide events?
“If food is offered at any event, consider pre-packaged options, and avoid buffet or family-style meals.” (source)
How does “population immunity” affect my church and community?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, population immunity “means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease or because they’ve been vaccinated.” Right now, the CDC says they are “still learning how many people have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before the population can be considered protected.” (source)