Journey Church COVID-19 Policy and Plan for Worship Services

Overview 

Journey Church continues to encourage all of our congregation that is vulnerable to COVID-19 to continue participating in the Christ Community Church streaming services. It is important to note that even with adherence to physical distancing, gathering together of multiple different households in a congregational setting to worship carries a higher risk for widespread transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, and may result in increased rates of infection, hospitalization, and death, especially among more vulnerable populations. Our plan below is based on the following guidelines provided by:

  1. CDC Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/faith-based.html
  2. Illinois Places of Worship Guidance: Guidance for Places of Worship and Providers of Religious Services

We will be implementing the following measures to ensure the congregation’s safety:

  1. Attendance at worship services will be limited to our maximum capacity of 100 based on the State of Illinois recommendations of 25% capacity. 
  2. We will not have a reservation system to limit the number of congregants/visitors and will be seating attendee on a first come basis. 
  3. We will not allow potlucks or buffet-style meals or events that increase the risk of cross contamination in the building. 
  4. Physical distancing of at least six feet between workers, staff, congregants/visitors will be monitored by volunteers. Members of the same household may be seated together but should maintain at least six feet apart from other congregants/visitors. 
  5. Children must remain in the care of those in their household unit and not interact with children of other parties at any time while visiting facilities. 
  6. During the service we will have the sanctuary and external doors open for increased ventilation.  
  7. We will not be handing out bulletins for use in worship services. We encourage each congregant/visitor to go to the Christ Community Church website and download/bring the prepared materials instead. 
  8. We will have a dedicated team of volunteers to assist congregants/visitors:
    1. To direct guests immediately to their seats upon entry
    2. To maintain distances during services or activities.
    3. To limit touching, such as shaking hands, to members of the same household. 
    4. To limit congregating in lobbies or common areas 
    5. To use hand sanitizer and to wear face coverings. 
    6. To provide direction for service dismissal maintaining social distancing and minimize traffic flow. 
    7. To monitor the number of people using restrooms to allow for social distancing. Towel dispensers will be located near restroom exits. 
    8. To encourage congregants to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of their elbow. 
    9. To encourage staff and congregants/visitors who are sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or who have family members who are ill, to stay home. 
    10. Please note that we will not be screening congregants/visitors for temperature and/or symptoms upon arrival to places of worship. We ask that each attendee perform a self-check prior to attending and if in doubt, please do not attend for the safety of others. 

We will be instituting the following steps to ensure the safety of all individuals attending services.

Worship Safety

  1. We request all congregants/visitors to refrain from singing, which significantly increases the risk of transmission. (Some estimates are from 25 to 50 feet spread.)
  2. Our worship team will be located at an increased social distance of at least 10 feet between groups and will be wearing face coverings. We are reviewing the options of installing plexiglass to provide a physical barrier between team and the congregation. 
  3. We will be using pre-packaged communion items that will be placed on chairs prior to service.
  4. We will be discontinuing passing of offering plates. We request that all donations/ giving/ offerings be dropped in the secure drop box at the back of the sanctuary.
  5. We will not allow post service potluck meetings until we reach Stage 5 in the Illinois Recovery Plan.
  6. We will need volunteers to assist congregants/visitors with maintaining distancing throughout the service.

Cleaning and disinfecting protocols. 

  1. We will perform thorough cleaning of high traffic areas such as the lobby, hallways, sanctuary, meeting rooms, offices, and study areas. 
  2. We will be frequently disinfecting commonly used surfaces including podiums, donation boxes and seating areas. 
  3. We will be disinfecting microphones, music stands, instruments, and other items between each use. 
  4. We will have hand sanitizer dispensers at the main entrance and throughout areas of the building such as meeting rooms and the lobby. 

Restrooms 

  1. Will be regularly sanitized prior to all meetings/services and have sufficient soap and hand sanitizer available.
  2. We will be frequently disinfecting commonly used surfaces including doorknobs, toilets, hand washing facilities, and no-touch trash cans upon exit.
  3. We will be frequently disinfecting commonly used water systems and drinking fountains will not be available for use. Bottled water will be available upon request.
  4. We will not be providing bottled water and encourage congregants/visitors to bring their own if needed.