Blog Post

COVID-safe guidelines for church meetings up to 10 and 20 people in size

As we emerge from COVID-19 based restrictions according to the federal government’s 3 Step plan, the possibility has emerged for groups to meet together on church property in groups of 10 (Step 1) and 20 (Step 2). If church groups within our parish are keen to do this, please do so following the plan below. Please note this guide is subject to change as Governement advice becomes more refined.

Preparations

1. Consider whether all members of your group feel comfortable meeting together. Are there members of the group who are hesitant but feel they cannot say No? Are you meeting because of the confidence of only a few? Could it pastorally appropriate to ‘serve the weaker member’ by holding off? Have you canvassed the feelings and opinions of everyone in the group?

2. If you decide to meet, book your meeting space by sending an email to office@waitaraanglican.com.au. Only confirm your meeting with group members once your booking has been confirmed by an email response (this email account is checked on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays). We ask you to book because it must be ensured that only 10 (Step 1) or 20 (Step 2) people at a time will be present on the site. If you are meeting while 2 staff are working, your group will only be able to accomodate 18 people under Step 2 conditions.

3. Ensure your meeting will be under the person limit. This may mean your event is run as an invitation-only meeting and/or emphasising to group members that guests and visitors are not yet permitted.

4. When planning the meeting, ensure that no church Bibles are being used – ask all attendees to bring their own Bibles and other materials.

5. Ensure that you don’t arrange any congregational singing for your meeting.

Setting up the meeting space

6. Consider how much ventilation is in the room; try and have as much fresh air as is bearable.

7. Set up chairs and/or tables, with seated positions at least 1.5m apart. Measure the size of the room and ensure the number of people does not exceed 4m2 per person.

Registration

8. Upon arrival, all meeting attendees must wash hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer.

9. ALL persons coming on to our site are asked to have their details entered into the church site register (located near the front entrance). This is to enable contact tracing if needed and to screen potential virus carriers. When a group is meeting, the leader of the group should fill in the register on behalf of the others so only one person handles the pen and register and, if required, they can take immediate action as outlined at point 10.

10. If a meeting attendee shows symptoms OR answers Yes to the relevant questions on the site register, the group leader should:

a. Hand them a mask and ask them to put it on (these are located in Vicki’s office on the shelf above her desk);

b. With graciousness, inform them that they cannot attend the meeting and that they must self-isolate and get tested; 

c. Immediately disinfect hard surfaces near where they have been (with alcohol-based disinfectant; Oomph in Vicki’s office or Glen20 in vacuum cleaner cupboard);

d. If the sick person has touched the register, take a photo of the relevant page, then, using disposable gloves, throw it out, along with the pen (disposable gloves are also in Vicki’s office); 

e. Replace register with fresh sheet and replace pen (fresh register sheets are on Vicki’s desk in a plastic sleeve);

f. Print out photo of destroyed register page and leave it on the clipboard, or email to office@waitaraanglican.com.au. 

g. Try and do all this with cheerfulness and without too much alarm!

Food service

11. No more than 3 people are permitted in the kitchen at any one time. People in the kitchen must maintain 1.5 between them at all times.

12. Nominate ONE person (for meetings of 10) or up to TWO people (for meetings of 20) to serve food and drink for all the others.

13. Serve food with tongs from a covered tray or plate or consider using individually wrapped items.

Finishing up

14. Group leader should indicate on the register when meeting attendees left.

15. Wash up used kitchen items

16. Clean all hard surfaces where people have likely touched (chairs, tables, bench tops, door handles, edges of doors, fridge handles) with detergent and warm water. There are two plastic spray bottles that you can put dishwashing liquid in with warm water; this is a sufficient cleaning agent. Spray, leave for a couple of minutes, then wipe down. There is no need to disinfect unless someone is sick.

Date this draft: 04/06/2020

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