How to Safely Reopen Your Church During COVID

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( — December 27, 2021) —

After COVID hit, many church members were unable to gather together in their religious organizations. In order to stop the spread of the virus, churchgoers had no choice other than to stay out of the church and worship in the safety of their own homes. Although everyone has found a way to keep faith and worship at a distance, it’s still important to work on safely bringing all church members back into the church for gathered worship.

How can we make this happen in a safe and healthy way? There are safety tips and reopening guidelines that one must follow and put in place before opening the church back up to its members. In the guide below, you’ll find more information about how to do just that.

Continue reading to get started!

Create New Entrance/Exit Paths

A great starting point is to implement new entrance/exit paths. If you normally only have the back/front doors of the church open for people, then now is the time to consider opening all doors to the church. Side doors should be propped open and members should be instructed to enter through there as well.

This helps reduce the number of people trying to enter/exit through the same place. If members aren’t used to this system, then you’ll need to make sure you post signs and visible directions for members to follow. You might even want to have selected members of the church stand outside guiding people.

Section Off Areas With Tape to Enforce Social Distancing

The more space you have to work with, the better. If there are sections of the church that are normally not used for members during the service, then consider opening these areas. Use them for extra space so members aren’t sitting too close to one another.

Then, section off small areas with tape to enforce social distancing. For example, if you want to have an empty row of pews between each used row of pews, then be sure to tape every other row off for social distancing purposes. You can also place large red “X’s” on the pews being used to help prevent people from sitting too close to one another.

Keep one large “X” between people or have stickers on the pews that instruct people where to sit.

Limit the Amount of Materials Passed Around

It’s not uncommon to pass around a basket for donations in church or to use the same prayer book as the person who sat there in the service before you. This is where some changes will need to take place. You want to limit the number of materials being shared or passed around in the church.

You can do this by placing the collections bin at the front or back of the church for members to drop donations into. This prevents the need for passing the basket around. You can also have members access the prayer books digitally using their smartphones or have printable passages used for the mass that then get tossed afterward.

These changes will help prevent the spread of germs.

Offer Online Services/Worship

It’s also beneficial to offer online services/worship. You can do this while still offering in-person worship. When you provide two different options, you’ll reduce the number of members who come into the church.

If possible, keep the back/front doors of the church open for members to listen while standing outside. You can even consider installing televisions outside for members to watch the service on. Place a few chairs in front of the screens so everyone can sit comfortably.

You should then set up a payment portal online for members to make donations to avoid them having to drop money and envelopes into a bin.

Host Church Services Outside

Most churches have courtyards outside or a good enough amount of property to put together church services outdoors. If you’re able to, host church services outside to prevent members from having to congregate inside the church. They’ll still be directly next to the church and will still feel the beauty and love that radiates from the building.

Keep the church open for members to walk inside before or after the service. This allows them to still visit the prayer bench or pray at the alter if desired without being surrounded by a full church.

Place Hand Sanitizer at Doors

Another great way to reduce the spread of germs in your church is to place hand sanitizer at all doors. Members can then use it when entering and leaving the church. You should make an announcement of these changes before and after church to remind members that the hand sanitizer is there for them to use.

It’s also beneficial to ask members for ideas or suggestions of other safety/health protocols that can be implemented in the church.

Hire Cleaning Services

You have a maintenance team that comes in and conducts regular cleaning after each service, but it’s not COVID sanitizing or deep cleaning that’s being done. For this reason, it may be time to consider hiring a cleaning service to come into your church and conduct high-quality, professional cleaning services.

A church cleaning service will know how to properly clean and disinfect your entire church. After hiring a professional cleaning service, you can have some peace of mind knowing your church is cleaned well.

Religious Organizations Can Welcome Their Members Back

The spread of COVID might have kept church members from gathering together for worship for quite some time, but now is the time for religious organizations to welcome their members back. With all the right safety and cleaning protocols, members can confidently come back to church for gathered worship.

Use all of the safety measures listed in this guide above and then continue to check back here for other topics similar to this one.