UPDATE: There have been a number of changes issued by the CDC, the Governor of the state of Virginia and from our local health agencies which has generated a lot of buzz for our Country. Our responsibilities to keep you informed and safe is our priority. Virginia Governor’s Executive Order # 79 “ENDING OF COMMONSENSE PUBLIC HEALTH RESTRICTIONS DUE TO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): goes into effect May 28, 2021. It provides a guidance of directives for the wearing of masks and face coverings both inside and outside. Based upon the numbers positive COVID19 case declining, it has been decided the need to reduce the previously enacted guidelines.
New Berean is responsible to provide our members, our guests and friends with a safe facility to grow in our faith, fellowship with other saints and be discipled in the teachings of Christ. Our plans will be to maintain our current course and will expect the following from all our faithful attenders:
- Face masks and coverings are expected to be worn by everyone while inside the facility. You will not be required or asked to wear the coverings outside, while you are still expected to socialized and fellowship responsibly.
- Distancing has been a tool to support the minimizing the risk and decreasing the spread of the virus. We are asking everyone gathering for any meeting inside the facility to maintain a safe (recommended 6 foot) distance from others.
- Because the virus is communicable, it is strictly encouraged to wash and cleanse your hands frequently to minimize the risks of spreading the virus. If you are comfortable with using the “elbow and fist bumps” as your version of greeting one another with “a holy kiss” do so but use the hand sanitizers provided to wash your hands.
- We will continue to work to provide you a safe and cleaned facility by wiping down varied hard surfaces, disinfecting the other surfaces and ensuring the airflow is clean.
The Governor of Virginia has been careful in rescinding and easing these safety restrictions but he has also allowed the religious communities of faith to lead the efforts and be the example. We give honor and praise to the Lord our God for his grace and mercy towards the family of New Berean. If you have any concerns or issues with these guidelines, speak with one of the Trustees so we can get the clarity and understand we need.
Guidance for Organizing Large Events and Gatherings
Based upon the above mentioned guidelines and instructions, we are issuing and announcing the following “in-house” guidelines for the ministry of New Berean Baptist Church. It is our intent to maintain an atmosphere safe for ministry and Christian discipleship.
- Face masks and coverings will still be required while inside the building facility
- A minimal distance of 6 feet is to be maintained especially if personal engagement is sustained
- We (as a church staff) will continue to provide body temperature monitoring upon entry, hand sanitizer and a clean facility to support our work for the Kingdom of God.
CDC continues to recommend avoiding large events and gatherings. Currently, CDC does not provide numbers to define small and large events.
Large gatherings bring together many people from multiple households in a private or public space. Large gatherings are often planned events with a large number of guests and invitations. They sometimes involve lodging, event staff, security, tickets, and long-distance travel. CDC’s large events guidance might apply to events such as conferences, trade shows, sporting events, festivals, concerts, or large weddings and parties.
Small gatherings are informal in nature and may occur with family and friends you regularly socialize with, often at someone’s residence. They typically do not involve long distance travel. Small gathering guidance might be more appropriate for social gatherings that are more intimate with close friends and family, such as small holiday parties, family dinners, and small special celebrations.
CDC offers the following guidance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Event planners should work with state and local health officials to implement this guidance, adjusting to meet the unique needs and circumstances of the local community. This guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any state, local, territorial, or tribal health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which gatherings must comply.
Risk Factors to Consider
Several factors can contribute to the likelihood of attendees getting and spreading COVID-19 at large events. In combination, the following factors will create higher or lower amounts of risk:
- Number of COVID-19 cases in your community—High or increasing levels of COVID-19 cases in the event location or the locations the attendees are coming from increase the risk of infection and spread among attendees. Relevant data can often be found on the local health department website or on CDC’s COVID Data Tracker County View.
- Exposure during travel—Airports, airplanes, bus stations, buses, train stations, trains, public transport, gas stations, and rest stops are all places where physical distancing may be challenging and ventilation may be poor.
- Setting of the event—Indoor events, especially in places with poor ventilation, pose more risk than outdoor events.
- Length of the event—Events that last longer pose more risk than shorter events. Being within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more (over a 24-hour period) greatly increases the risk of becoming infected and requires quarantine.
- Number and crowding of people at the event – Events with more people increase the likelihood of being exposed. The size of the event should be determined based on whether attendees from different households can stay at least 6 feet (2 arm lengths) Physical distancing at events can reduce transmission risk—for example, blocking off seats or modifying room layouts.
- Behavior of attendees during an event— Events where people engage in behaviors such as interacting with others from outside their own household, singing, shouting, not maintaining physical distancing, or not wearing masks consistently and correctly, can increase risk.
After reviewing this guidance, large event planners, operators, and administrators can use CDC’s Events and Gatherings Readiness and Planning Tool pdf icon[360 KB, 10 pages] to determine their level of readiness to implement mitigation and safety measures. Organizers should continue to assess, based on current conditions, whether to postpone or cancel large events and gatherings, or significantly reduce the number of attendees for events. If organizers are unable to put safety measures in place during large events and gatherings, they may choose instead to host a virtual event.