Guidelines For Reopening Your Church or Place of Worship

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that Government will be allowing the re-opening of Religious Places of Worship. With this, Government has set strict rules on the re-opening, notably, a maximum of 50 people per Service, as well as strict Social Distancing and Screening Prevention measures.

Below is a list of guidelines and procedures to follow to ensure that your place of Worship is ready for re-opening.

PREPARE YOUR CHURCH

  1. Deep clean your entire church. Where will germs be transferred? Consider shampooing carpets, sanitizing
    pews, bathrooms, doorknobs, light switches, and microphones.
  2. Use chemicals and disinfectants as directed and allow for the proper dry times. Here is a list of approved
    disinfectants for COVID-19.
  3. Pay attention to children’s areas. Consider removing everything nonessential from the room
    to limit surfaces for potential contamination and do a thorough cleaning in between uses.
  4. Remove Bibles, hymnals, pens, information cards, etc., from the backs of chairs/pews.
  5. Post signs about not shaking hands and doing non-contact greetings. You can promote the hashtag #smileandwave

Screening & Prevention

Before allowing anyone inside, make sure that they are wearing a mask and try to screen everyone by checking temperatures and sanitizing their hands, as well as underneath their shoes before entering. The normal human body temperature remains around 36.5°C to 37°C, regardless of the external temperature or weather. Should anyone have a temperature higher than this, we suggest having a “cool-down” area in which the person can wait 10 minutes and take the test again; if the temperature is still high, we would suggest that the person is not allowed into the service and that they either get tested or quarantine themselves.

Service Times & Location

  1. Keep an online meeting option for those who are afraid or unable to attend your service in person. Many
    churches have seen a spike in engagement since their online presence has increased. Capitalize on it!
  2. You can offer multiple services to encourage a greater chance of social distancing. One way to ensure your
    services are evenly spread is to have people sign up for a service. You can use Facebook events and have
    people mark which event they’ll attend.
  3. Remember that if you have multiple services, you will need to clean between each service. You can shorten the
    service time to help with the timing of cleaning thoroughly. Some churches are moving to having multiple
    services during the week to allow for cleaning in between service times.
  4. Determine how many volunteers you have available to assist. Limit volunteers to those who do not have
    preexisting conditions and those who are under 65 years old.

WORSHIP SERVICES

  1. Celebrate the return! Hopefully you have some time to plan a Comeback Service. Encourage praise, provide
    times of testimony, and a sermon that spurs people to embrace life changes God has revealed to them during the
    quarantine.
  2. If your people are from the same household, they can sit together. Consider spacing out other groups. See the
    preparation section.
  3. Remember to avoid handing out bulletins, and instead project all announcements on screens. Also do not allow
    people to come by and pick up bulletins out of stacks.
  4. Change the way you offer communion. Avoid passing a plate or bowl. Avoid passing microphones on the stage.
  5. Try to Sanitize Microphones by using Alcohol Swabs between each speaker/service.
  6. Continue offering online giving options if possible. Have stations in the church where people can drop offerings instead of
    passing a plate.
  7. Come up with a fun way to greet others in a no-contact way.
  8. Clean the pulpit after every use.
  9. Consider dismissing in an orderly way to ensure there is social distancing

AMENITIES: COFFEE, BULLETINS, AND HAND SANITIZER

  1. Restrooms: You must decide whether you will allow bathroom usage at this time. If you don’t think you can
    allow it, then it may not be time to return to the building.
  2. Do not hand out bulletins. Do not allow people to come by and pick them up out of stacks.
  3. We recommend withholding coffee stations, donuts, or groups meals at this time. You can stay attuned to the
    guidelines to know when is best to reintroduce these services.
  4. Be sure to post signs about washing hands in bathrooms with appropriate guidelines to doing so.
  5. Display hand sanitizer throughout the church. It may be difficult to obtain at this point, so consider if you
    should meet in person without this element.
  6. Supply masks for those without one to increase comfort levels. Again, these may be difficult to obtain, but you
    could have people make masks as a service to the church.

TECH TEAMS

  1. Clean microphones, headphones, computers, laptops, etc. after every use. Keep a record of when each item was
    cleaned. DO NOT use water. Rubbing alcohol or alcohol-based cleaners are best.
  2. Rotate your tech team if possible. Again, encourage those who feel sick or run down to not come into the
    service.
  3. Keep using the online services. Facebook may be more accessible as many people have accounts, but consider
    other options like YouTube for those who’d like to watch on their smart TVs.
  4. Add in text on screens through projectors if you haven’t already. This may be a good opportunity to do so.
    Secure a CCLI license for copyright compliance if you do.

Source: https://gabaptist.org/reopening-your-church-building/