- COVID-19 Preparedness PlanEmmaus Baptist Church
Effective June 14, 2020 (subject to revision)
[Portions of this Plan were borrowed, with revision and permission, from Preparedness Plans of the Evangelical Free Church of Hastings (New Life) and Bethlehem Baptist Church.]
Plan Administrator: Pastor Abe Johnson
Back-up Administrators: Rob Ryden, Pastor Tim Drake, Pastor Susan Quinnell, or April Schweickert
Sanctuary Occupancy Limit: 300 at 100% occupancy, 149 at 50%, 74 at 25%
PROTOCOLS FOR WORSHIPERS AND GUESTS
- All who are infected live with someone who is infected must stay home. Those who are at-risk are strongly encouraged to stay at home. Online streaming will be available for those who cannot attend.
- Prior to coming to the building, all will be encouraged to self-screen your whole family for COVID-19 symptoms.
- We ask all of those over age 2 to wear a mask unless a medical condition advises against it. Free masks will be available to those who need one.
- Hand sanitizer and tissues will be available in several locations.
- Hymnals and other papers will be removed from common spaces.
- No food or beverage will be offered by Emmaus in the building.
- Doors will be propped open when possible and no-touch trash receptacles will be available.
- Markers on the floor near the main entry doors and the doors to the sanctuary will indicate proper social distancing.
- Hand sanitizer and tissues will be made available at multiple locations in the facility including entrances and in each seating area.
- Signage will promote healthy practices such as hand washing and covering of coughs.
- To reduce custodial pressures, much of the building will be off limits including: the children’s education wing, the youth education wing, the nursery, the nursing mother’s room, the main office, and the kitchen.
- Communal drinking fountains will be closed indefinitely.
- The east stairs will be designated for downward movement only. The west stairs will be designated for upward movement only.
- Restrooms will be single-occupancy. Signage will be posted and tape marks on the floor in the bistro area will facilitate social distancing in lines.
- Congregants will be asked to RSVP their planned attendance with the church office to aid planning.
- Congregants will be encouraged to wear facemasks when arriving and being seated. (Once seated, masks may be removed.)
- Parking attendants and greeters will assist with questions about parking and the outdoor worship area.
- A limited number of parking spots will be available for those who wish to attend but remain in their cars. (However, we will not broadcast audio, so worshipers will likely need to roll windows down to hear the service.)
- Congregants will be asked to bring their own lawn chairs for seating.
- Congregants will be ushered to designated areas so that social distancing is maintained between households on the way to seating areas.
- The ground will be marked so that households maintain social distancing during the service.
- Greeters will count worshipers to make sure we observe capacity constraint per the Minnesota Department of Health.
- Self-serve bulletins, if any, will be made available on a table. On communion Sunday’s, individually packaged communion packs will also be placed on this table.
- To facilitate contact tracing in the event someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, a “family photo” will be taken of all who are present for a service. Visitors will be encouraged to email Emmaus with their contact information.
- Collection plates will not be passed. Rather, a plate will be placed where people exit.
- Worshipers will be dismissed from the back to the front and asked to exit directly.
- Services will be shortened to about 45 minutes by limiting singing to 2 songs. Singing will be done at the end of the service to allow those who wish to leave prior to singing to do so.
- Congregants will be encouraged to remain 6 feet away from anyone from a different household.
- We will offer more services as necessary to decrease congregant density.
- All will enter at the main entrance. Doors will be propped open and greeting will be from a distance.
- We observe capacity constraints per the Minnesota Department of Health.
- If worshipers exceed capacity in the sanctuary, overflow space will be available in the auditorium with a closed-circuit video of the service.
- Those choosing to engage in fellowship before or after the service, will be asked to do that outside in the parking lot rather than congregating in the entryway.
- Self-serve bulletins will be made available on a table near the entry to the sanctuary. On communion Sunday’s, individually packaged communion packs will also be placed on this table.
- Rows of pews will be labeled off-limits and families asked to sit at the ends of pews to maintain at least 6-feet’s distance between households.
- To facilitate contact tracing in the event someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, a “family photo” will be taken of all who are present in the sanctuary for a service. Visitors will be encouraged to email their contact information.
- Collection plates will not be passed. Rather, a plate will be placed at the back of the sanctuary as people exit.
- Worshipers will be asked to leave the sanctuary from the back to the front and to exit the building directly.
Small Groups and Other Visitors to the Building
- All those entering the building must email [email protected] to arrange access to the building and let staff know the date and time the group will meet.
- Groups will be expected to meet in the fellowship hall or auditorium as determined by staff.
- All participants must maintain 6-feet social distancing and wear masks.
- After each meeting, groups will email [email protected] to let staff know who was in the building.
- Other visitors will log entry and exit in the building.
Response to Illness
- Anyone falling ill while in the building will go home immediately. Anyone falling ill and unable to leave immediately will be quarantined in the Middle School Girls Sunday School Classroom.
- If a symptomatic guest refuses to leave, the Plan Administrator has the authority to cancel the event and require that all attendees to leave the facility immediately.
PROTOCOLS FOR STAFF
Note: Volunteers constitute “staff” under Minnesota Department of Health regulations.
Minimizing Workplace Contact
- To the extent it is possible to work from home, employees are encouraged to do so.
- We recognize the power of personal interaction in ministry. At the same time, some are clearly more susceptible to COVID-19 than others. We encourage staff to routinely consider and discuss with supervisors how distance ministry can be done effectively while reducing the number of contacts had by staff.
- At-risk staff/volunteers are strongly encouraged to stay at home until further notice. No staff/ volunteer will be penalized for self-selecting to stay at home. See CDC guidance for defining “at-risk.”
- For the foreseeable future, all staff travel is canceled.
- Staff should not use each other’s phones, computers, or other personal equipment. Microphones should either not be shared or sanitized after each use.
- Arrange for contactless drop offs and deliveries when possible.
- Staff will practice social distancing.
- All interactions between staff members will maintain appropriate social distancing. This may mean some meetings will need to move to large classrooms or continue virtually.
- Staff are prohibited from gathering in groups and in confined areas including elevators and work rooms. The kitchen is closed.
- The east stairs will be reserved for downward traffic. The west stairs will be reserved for upward traffic.
- Bathrooms will be used one person at a time.
- Common sense should be used as staff enter and exit the buildings—employees taking turns through entrances and practicing social distancing.
Screening and Response to Illness
- All staff will self-screen for symptoms of COVID-19 before entering the building or meeting with others for Emmaus.
- Any staff showing symptoms should stay home. Staff who develop symptoms while at work should go home immediately. Staff who cannot go home immediately will be quarantined in the Middle School Girls Sunday School Classroom. Staff who fall ill are encouraged to seek testing and medical care from their provider.
- If the church is notified of a staff member diagnosed with COVID-19, Pastor Abe will share all appropriate information with appropriate staff and others potentially exposed.
- To facilitate tracking of exposures, staff will log date and time of entry and exit into the building.
- Staff/volunteers who are sick or caring for sick family members must follow MN Department of Health guidelines for returning to work.
Hygiene and Source Controls
- Upon arrival, all staff must wash their hands. Hand-sanitizing stations will also be provided in the building. Staff are instructed to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water, frequently throughout the day—especially at the beginning and end of their shift, prior to any mealtimes, and after using the toilet.
- In the church building, all staff must wear cloth masks while interacting with others when not at a distance from them. Custodians will also wear gloves. One mask per employee will be provided, if necessary. All staff must wear masks when interacting with the public.
- Staff are being instructed to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and to avoid touching their face—in particular their mouth, nose, and eyes—with their hands. They should dispose of tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward.
- Respiratory etiquette will be demonstrated on posters and supported by making tissues and trash receptacles available to all staff.
- Doors will be propped open when possible and no-touch trash receptacles will be available.
- Staff must wash hands and wear a mask while preparing items for consumption. Staff who serve any food or beverage must wash hands and wear a face mask.
- Custodial staff will wear gloves.
- Regular housekeeping practices will be implemented, including
- routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces and areas in the work environment (following CDC guidance)
- routine cleaning and disinfecting of restrooms
- routine cleaning and disinfecting of meeting rooms
- routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces in the sanctuary.
- Daily cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted on high-touch areas, such as
- door handles,
- elevator panels,
- copy machines.
- We will maintain a documented sanitation schedule and checklist.
- Disinfecting products will be made available to staff in our reception areas so that individuals can daily disinfect their own phones and keyboards.
- In the event that we become aware that an infected person has been in the building, all areas infected by the individual will be fully sanitized before anyone will be allowed in those areas again.
- Where possible, signage developed by the Minnesota Department of Heath will be used to communicate protocols to staff and guests.
- Hand washing guidance will be posted at each sink or hand-wash station.
- “Slow the Spread” signage will be posted at all major entrances and gathering locations.
- “Social Distancing at Work” signage will be posted in the main office
- Fans in the HVAC systems will be turned to “on” position to promote air circulation.
- A copy of this plan will be posted in the main office.
Specific Ministry Notes
For the time being, in-person children’s ministry programming for children is suspended.
Programming for adults will follow protocols for groups delineated above.
Outdoor, in-person youth ministry programming is allowed in group sizes up to that permitted by the Minnesota Department of Health. (Indoor programming is suspended for the time being.)
Masks are required when social distancing cannot be maintained.
Communication and Training
This Preparedness Plan along with a video explaining it was emailed to all staff on June 13, 2020. The Plan and video will be shared with volunteers as they become involved in Emmaus programming. As needed, additional communication and training will be ongoing.
Guidance for Developing a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
Respiratory Etiquette: Cover Your Cough or Sneeze
Employees Exhibiting Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19
Version Date: October 1, 2020