Tips for Churches: A CBF Resource on Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Your Congregation
Knowledge about COVID-19 (the coronavirus) and ways to prevent its spread is vital for churches in these days of rising numbers of infections in this United States and around the world.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released “Interim Guidance” to help “Get Your Community — and Faith-Based Organizations Ready of Coronavirus 2019”. For the most updated guidance from the CDC, click here. According to the CDC, community- and faith-based organizations, including churches, should help protect the health of those they serve and members of their staff.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has compiled a list of ways you and your church can prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your congregation.
1) Know how COVID-19 is spread
COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus which is spread person-to-person by:
- Droplets from coughs and sneezes of an infected person
- Touching surfaces contaminated with the virus (it can live for hours or days, depending on the surface and the temperature) and then touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth where the virus can enter the body
- Aerosols – tiny liquid droplets which can linger in the air over time and distance – are now suspected of also being able to spread the virus by lingering in a room, or traveling through air ventilation systems.
2) Promote the practice of everyday preventative actions by encouraging members to …
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (and dispose immediately prior to washing hands) or use the inside of your elbow
- Stay home when sick
3) Provide prevention supplies at your church, including
- Hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol
- Touchless trash cans
- Disposable facemasks (in the event someone gets sick)
4) Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Increase cleaning frequency of all common and high traffic areas
- Sanitize commonly touched surfaces such as door handles, restroom fixtures, water fountains, elevator call buttons, handrails
- Increase concentration of cleaning disinfectant
5) Plan ahead …
- For what your church would do if access to your building is affected. Continuing the essential functions of the church if onsite operations are scaled back requires a plan. Increase the use of email, conference calls and video conferencing. Prepare to live stream your service.
- For how your church will communicate with church members about disruptions to normal church facility access or programming
- To mobilize your church lay leadership to check on older members who may be vulnerable
6) Modify your worship practices to minimize physical contact between members
- Fist or elbow bump rather than shaking hands while passing the peace or during the welcome time
- Lock arms rather than holding hands during the closing song
- Promote online giving
- For the time being, order pre-filled Lord’s Supper cups that contain both the bread and the juice