Last Monday, October 5, the Extended Cabinet met with Kristen Kelley, Director of Infection Prevention at IU Health, to discuss COVID and how we as the United Methodist Churches in Indiana can help prevent this disease from spreading.
Below are a few guidelines based on leadership’s conversation with IU Health. This guidance is intended for reducing the risk if churches choose to consider the activities listed. We are not advocating these activities.
If a congregation would like to share a meal together (including funeral dinners), IU Health offers the following advice:
- Screen congregants before they enter the building
- Eat outside, if possible
- Ensure that tables are at least 6 feet apart with no more than 8 people per table (per family unit)
- Offer multiple meal times to limit exposure
- Remove your mask only when you are actively eating, not socializing
If a church’s choir reconvenes, suggestions include:
- Holding rehearsals outside (weather permitting), if a physical gathering is needed
- Limiting the number of participants to accommodate social distancing
- Wearing masks unless you are actively singing (while maintaining social distancing)
- Reducing the amount of time spent physically together
If churches want to implement congregational singing, IU Health suggests the following:
- Screening congregants before they enter the building
- Cleaning hymnals after use
- Practicing social distancing
- Wearing a form-fitted mask
As always, we encourage churches to “Do no harm” by doing all they can to reduce the overall risk of COVID. Pastors should consult with local health officials when making decisions for their congregations.