Bethany safety plan

June 8, 2020

BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH OF BAINBRIDGE ISLANDCOVID-19 SAFETY PLAN

  1. Introduction

          Bethany Lutheran Church on Bainbridge Island has worked conscientiously and prayerfully to operate consistent with guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic provided by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Bishop Shelley Bryan Wee of the Northwest Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  Shortly after Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation, Bethany suspended in-person worship services and began to conduct worship electronically in collaboration with First Lutheran Church in Poulsbo. When Governor Inslee promulgated his list of phases to resume religious services, Bethany began to conduct drive-in worship on Saturday afternoons. 

          With Phase 2 on the horizon, Governor Inslee issued Phase 1 and 2 Religious and Faith-based Organization COVID-19 Requirements.  This document both describes specific requirements for worship in these two phases (both indoor and outdoor), and it requires development of a “comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation, and recovery plan.”  This document is intended to be that safety plan and to prescribe the requirements for conducting worship and related activities at Bethany in light of the pandemic.  (To the extent that this safety plan does not address specific issues in the congregation’s organization and activities, Phase 1 and 2 Religious and Faith-based Organization COVID-19 Requirements are incorporated by reference, and congregational leaders will be briefed on them.)  In addition to complying with legal requirements, Bethany Lutheran Church is committed to providing a meaningful worship experience, while also recognizing the Gospel’s call to love and respect our neighbors.

  1. Worship Preparation
  • The Pastor in collaboration with the Congregation Council is in overall charge of worship preparation and implementation of state policies and this safety plan. The Pastor may designate a COVID-19 Supervisor for specific worship services.
  • All worship leaders, volunteers, and participants will be provided copies of Phase 1 and 2 Religious and Faith-based Organization COVID-19 Requirements and this safety plan before the day they participate in worship. (These documents also will be available on the congregation’s website.)
  • Worship leaders, volunteers, and participants will be asked to self-screen for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 and requested to stay home if they feel or appear to be sick. In addition, all worship leaders, volunteers, and participants are requested to take their temperatures before attending a service or working at the church; any individual with a temperature of 100.4 degrees F.  or more, and any member of that person’s family or household with such a temperature, should not attend or participate in on-site worship.
  • Any worship leader, volunteer, or participant who is diagnosed with COVID-19 should promptly notify the Church Office, and all persons who participated in worship with that person will be notified by Bethany.  (Notification may be accomplished electronically.)  Areas in buildings and furniture/equipment touched by that person should be cleaned and disinfected promptly. 
  • When setting up for worship, individuals should utilize personal protective equipment (PPE), such as protective gloves and face coverings; and appropriate social distancing requirements (a separation of at least 6 feet from non-family members) should be maintained to the extent reasonably possible.
  • When worship will occur inside the sanctuary, or when worship leaders, volunteers, and/or congregants will be inside the sanctuary building for any purpose, surfaces that they touch frequently or share should be cleaned/disinfected after use. Facilities for washing and sanitizing hands in the restrooms will be provided.  
  • Restroom facilities will be available before, during, and after worship. Only one person at a time will be allowed in the respective restrooms. (An exception will be made for a child accompanied by a parent or a person with a disability who requires assistance.)  Individuals waiting to use the restrooms should maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others.  Individuals using the restrooms should wash their hands before and after using the facilities. Hand sanitizer also will be available in the restrooms and elsewhere.
  • Worship leaders and volunteers are strongly encouraged to wash their hands vigorously and to use hand sanitizer before participating in on-site worship preparation.
  • Trash receptacles will be available at the worship site, both inside and outside the sanctuary building.
  • A housekeeping schedule will be established and followed to provide frequent cleaning and sanitizing with a particular emphasis on commonly touched surfaces.
  1. Drive-in Worship
  • The Pastor and Office Administrator will provide timely notice of plans for Drive-in Worship and oversee coordination with worship leaders and other volunteers. All worship leaders, volunteers, and congregants will be advised of these policies and plans.
  • When worshipers enter the parking lot, volunteer Greeters will distribute worship materials and instructions, and volunteer Parking Directors will indicate where to park.
  • Vehicles customarily will be directed to park in every other space in the parking lot. (If alternative parking arrangements will take place, Greeters and Parking Directors will be notified in advance and collaborate regarding how to direct vehicles to designated locations and to exit from those locations after the service.) When parked, drivers should turn-off engines and not re-start them until after worship as instructed by a Parking Director.
  • Individuals may remain in their vehicles during the service, and windows may be open or closed. Face coverings are optional for individuals in parked vehicles.
  • Weather permitting, individuals may exit their vehicles during the service, but if they do so they must remain in close proximity to their vehicles and maintain appropriate physical distancing (a minimum of 6-feet) from non-family members. Lawn chairs or folding chairs may be used in proximity to parked vehicles, so long as physical distancing requirements are observed.  Also, persons outside their vehicles must wear face coverings, and coverings should not be removed for singing.  (Worship leaders at microphones need not wear masks, but physical distancing requirements must be met.)  There should be no direct physical contact between worship leaders, volunteers, and congregants.
  • Following worship, vehicle drivers will be instructed by a Parking Director when to start their engines and how to proceed to the exit(s). Offerings and worship materials may be deposited in designated places before departure.
  • Worship leaders and volunteers will maintain physical distancing and use of face coverings to the extent reasonably possible while taking down equipment and tent/stages.
  1. Worship in the Sanctuary
  • The Pastor and the Congregation Council will determine when worship will take place in the sanctuary and ensure that plans are coordinated with worship leaders and volunteers. The Pastor and the Office Administrator will provide timely notice of plans for worship and oversee such coordination.  All leaders, volunteers, and congregants will be advised of these policies and plans.
  • The sanctuary will be configured to provide, at a minimum, physical distancing of at least 6 feet between congregants. (Persons within the same family/household may be closer than 6 feet from one another.) To the extent reasonably possible, increased ventilation will be provided in the church building during worship.
  • All worship leaders, volunteers, congregants, and visitors will wear face coverings. Face coverings must remain on during worship, including during singing (which is authorized, although choir performances are not permitted).
  • Access to the sanctuary will be through the front door, although other doors may remain open before and during the service.
  • There should be no direct physical contact between worship leaders, volunteers, congregants, or visitors. Although bulletins and worship materials may be distributed, offering plates will not be passed. Communion may be distributed, but elements will not be distributed in a communal container or from a communal plate.
  • Following worship there will be no organized reception at which food is served. Worship participants are reminded to continue to maintain physical distancing requirements after worship, both inside the sanctuary building and outside.
  • Following worship, surfaces touched by worship leaders, volunteers, congregants, and visitors shall be cleaned and disinfected.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR DRIVE-IN WORSHIP

          Drive-in worship at Bethany Lutheran Church is conducted in accordance with Governor Inslee’s Phase 1 and 2 Religious and Faith-based Organization COVID-19 Requirements and the congregation’s COVID-19 Safety Plan. These Instructions are intended to provide ground rules and specific instructions for worship leaders, volunteers, and participants in drive-in worship.

Worship Leaders:

  • Rendezvous at the time requested by Pastor Paul.
  • Before arriving, wash hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer.
  • Unless otherwise instructed, park in the westernmost row of the parking lot (the farthest away from the tent/stages).
  • Assist in setting up and rehearsing, as necessary, but maintain physical separation of 6 feet, to the extent reasonably possible.
  • Wear a face covering and protective gloves. (While leading worship at a microphone, the face covering may be removed but physical separation must be maintained.)
  • Do not have direct physical contact with others.
  • After worship, assist in taking down equipment and tent/stages, as requested.

Greeters:

  • Rendezvous at the time requested by Pastor Paul or the designated Supervisor.
  • Before arriving, wash hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer.
  • Unless otherwise instructed, park in the second or third row west from the tent/stages.
  • Wear a face covering and protective gloves.
  • Assist in setting up, as necessary and requested, but maintain physical separation of 6 feet, to the extent reasonably possible.
  • Approximately 30 minutes before worship is scheduled to begin proceed to the entry to the parking lot, as assigned.
  • Provide each vehicle arriving with bulletins and worship materials.
  • Advise drivers to park in every other space as instructed by Parking Directors, to turn off vehicles when parked, and not to start them again until instructed by Parking Directors
  • Advise drivers that persons may get out of their vehicles, provided that the physical distancing requirement of 6 feet is maintained from other families.
  • Advise drivers of the availability of restrooms, but also the requirement of one-at-a-time, physical distancing, and the necessity of washing and sanitizing hands.
  • Advise drivers about offering buckets and return of materials.
  • Respond as appropriate to any questions.
  • When worship begins, you may return to your vehicle.
  • At the conclusion of worship, return to the designated entry and collect offerings and returned materials. Deliver worship materials to the church office; place offerings in a designated manila envelope and deposit it in the lower level safe.
  • Assist in taking down equipment and tent/stages, as requested.

Parking Directors:

  • Rendezvous at the time requested by Pastor Paul or the designated Supervisor.
  • Before arriving, wash hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizer.
  • Unless otherwise instructed, park in the second or third row west from the tent/stages.
  • Wear a face covering and protective gloves.
  • Assist in setting up, as necessary and requested, but maintain physical separation of 6 feet, to the extent reasonably possible. (Consider marking designated parking spots, as appropriate.)
  • Approximately 30 minutes before worship is scheduled to begin proceed to assigned positions.
  • If two driveways are open, direct vehicles to park from the middle outwards, beginning in the easternmost row closest to the tent/stages. After the easternmost row is full, fill each following row to the west.  (If only one driveway is open, begin parking in the spaces farthest away from the parking lot entrance to minimize the possibility of vehicles backing up at the entry.)  Vehicles in the first and third rows will need to back into spaces.
  • Instruct drivers to leave an empty parking place on both sides of their vehicles.
  • Have drivers turn off their engines promptly after parked. Windows may be rolled down, weather permitting.
  • If people get out of their vehicles, remind them to wear face coverings and to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from other vehicles and other participants. (People may use folding chairs if they maintain physical separation and wear face coverings.)
  • When worship begins, you may return to your vehicle.
  • After worship, have drivers start engines when instructed and direct vehicles to the designated exits.
  • Assist in taking down equipment and tent/stages, as requested.

View COVID Phase 1, 2 requirements here