Because we are family, members of the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:12), we have a responsibility to one another. Recently, the Governor of the State of Virginia issued an amendment to Executive Order #67 (Phase Three Further Adjusting of Certain Temporary Restrictions Due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). These temporary restrictions are a direct result of the increase in COVID related cases in the state and a plan to minimize the spread of this disease.
Today (Dec. 10th, 2020) the Governor conducted a press conference release further expanding and extending those guideline and restrictions. The concern of the State is the continuance of the increase of COVID positive cases and the seeming lack of adherence to the current guidelines in place. But for our particular responsibility as a church (or place of worship) none of these recent guidelines directly affect New Berean. In brief the Governor issues the next steps:
- Beginning 12/13/2020, at 12:01 am Virginia will begin a “modified stay at home order”. On that day beginning from Midnight to 5:00 am each day until further notice all residents and guests of Virginia are asked to stay at home unless it is to commute to and from work. We are asked to stay at home anyway but in particular these hours which are critical to help curb the spread. Knowing this virus is easily spread from person to person, the most effective way to minimize the spread is to reduce the number of person to person interactions. It is not practical to stay home completely but the idea is, if you don’t have to leave your home, don’t.
- Secondly, masks are expected to worn by everyone if you are outdoors and around other people. Masks are expected to worn by everyone if you are outdoors cannot maintain a minimum distance of six feet. Masks are a key element to reducing the spray produced when talking, coughing or sneezing.
- Social gathering limits have been reduced from 25 before the Thanksgiving holiday to 10. But as it was stated in Executive Order #67, religious services are not restricted to this limit. If you have to meet publicly or in private the limit by this order is no more than ten people.
The expectation behind all these expanded measures is temporary and will be evaluated periodically depending its effectiveness. His thought is the use of “common sense” in adhering to these measures is the most effective way to reduce the positive cases and impact on our state medical facilities.
Again, section B of the Order addresses All Public and In-Private Gatherings. Governor Northam refers to places of worship as “gatherings”.
All public and private in-person gatherings of more than 25 individuals are prohibited. The presence of more than 25 individuals performing functions of their employment or assembled in an educational instructional setting is not a “gathering.” A “gathering” includes, but is not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, whether they occur indoors or outdoors. Individuals may attend religious services of more than 25 people subject to the following requirements:
a. Individuals attending religious services must be at least six feet apart when seated and must practice proper physical distancing at all times. Family members, as defined below, may be seated together.
b. Mark seating and common areas where attendees may congregate in six-foot increments to maintain physical distancing between persons who are not Family members.
c. Any items used to distribute food or beverages must be disposable, used only once and discarded.
d. Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently-contacted surfaces must be conducted prior to and following any religious service.
e. Post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 is permitted to participate in the religious service.
f. Post signage to provide public health reminders regarding physical distancing, gatherings, options for high risk individuals, and staying home if sick.
g. Individuals attending religious services must wear cloth face coverings in accordance with Amended Executive Order 63, Order of Public Health Emergency Five.
h. If religious services cannot be conducted in compliance with the above requirements, they must not be held in-person.
If you have any further questions regarding these guidelines, please contact “Bruh” Steven Barnes. But please read the linked documents included below first.
Executive Order #67 – PHASE THREE TIGHTENING OF CERTAIN TEMPORARY RESTRICTIONS DUE TO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Safer at Home : PHASE THREE, GUIDLEINE FOR ALL BUSINESSES SECTORS
And remember when you visit New Berean:
- Wear Your Mask
- Maintain Six-Feet Distancing Between Each Other
- Wash and Cleanse your Hands Often
- And If you are sick or experiencing symptoms such as:
- Have you been out of your community or state in the last 10 days?
- Have you or anyone you’ve been contact with been tested for the COVID virus?
- Have you a cough, fever above 100 degrees F or sore throat, we are going ask you not to enter the building