May 14, 2020
Sisters and Brothers in Christ.
As you know, the Governor of Maryland has created an Executive Order entitled: Allowing Reopening of Certain Businesses and Facilities, Subject to Local Regulation. In this order, houses of worship may open to the general public, provided, however, that “the total number of persons permitted…at any one time shall not exceed 50% of maximum occupancy.”
The order therefore permits church gatherings, and articulates the following:
- Social distancing guidelines are still in effect (distance of 6 feet from one another)
- Masks are to be worn inside public places
- CDC guidelines for health and safety are still in effect
The order does not offer amended guidelines to the original Church Reopening Guidelines. Also a reasonable assumption can be made that Maryland is in Phase I and II of the Maryland Strong Plan for reopening. One outcome of the plan are its Faith-Based Recommendations. Most importantly, the order allows local jurisdictions, (towns, cities, counties) to decide if their community is ready to enter into said Phase I/II as outlined by the Governor.
Therefore, for purposes of the Presbytery of Baltimore:
All church buildings should remained closed on Sunday, May 17, 2020 and optimally, remain closed at least through Sunday, May 24, 2020 if not longer.
Congregations are to form a team or teams to address and accomplish the following:
- Review and abide by local orders concerning reopening
- Develop plan to maintain six feet distance between worshippers in worship space – indoor and outdoor
- Develop plan for sanitation, abiding by guidelines for “no touching” of people or objects
- Develop plan for cleaning and monitoring of entrances and exits
- Develop plan for children and vulnerable populations following CDC guidelines
- Continue on-line services for members, guests and vulnerable populations
- Provide masks for members and visitors
COVID-19 is still impacting communities in the State of Maryland, and with travel restrictions lifting, the virus can easily move between counties. Watch our website and my Midweek blog for up to date information and interpretations.
Friends, be smart, creative, faithful and diligent. We will get through this if we covenant to keep one another healthy and safe.