EVERY NATION CHURCH, NEW YORK – SAFETY PLAN
Adopted August 5, 2020
This Safety Plan has been adopted by Every Nation NYC for the safe regathering of church staff, volunteers and congregants for in-person Sunday Church Services given the risks presented by COVID-19. This Safety Plan is adopted from New York State mandatory and recommended best practices as applied to all religious gatherings statewide. This Safety Plan is an iterative plan which may be further amended in the future to stay up to date with any changes to state and federal requirements. This Safety Plan is not intended to replace any existing applicable local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and standards.
This Safety Plan is divided into the following sections: (i) Physical Distancing; (ii) Protective Equipment; (iii) Communications; (iv) Screening; and (v) Hygiene and Sanitation.
I. Physical Distancing
In accordance with NYC’s Modified Phase 4 guidelines, we will seek to adhere to the following guidelines for our Sunday Services:
- 100% face covering compliance of all church attendants; with face shields for stage leaders
- No more than 33% of the maximum fire capacity of an indoor space
- No more than 50 people at an outdoor gathering
- 6 feet of distance must be maintained between individuals/families
- If unmasked, 12 feet of distance must be maintained between individuals or families during singing or vigorous preaching
- Small spaces (e.g. elevators) with no more than 50% maximum capacity
- No hand holding/shaking of members from different households
- Reduced volunteer staffing to essential levels
- Advanced sign-ups will be offered to ensure NYS guidance compliance.
- Encouraging uni-directional foot traffic with signs
II. Protective Equipment
We will seek to provide the following prospective equipment for Sunday Services:
- Provide staff/volunteers with an acceptable face covering (cloth coverings, surgical masks, face shields) depending on the ministry area and have an adequate supply of coverings in case of replacement.
- Forehead thermometer for temperature checks of all staff and congregants upon entry
- Face coverings for all entrants, which will be required at all times.Face coverings must be cleaned or replaced after use and may not be shared.
- Provide and require [all] staff to wear gloves when in contact with shared objects or frequently touched surfaces; or, require individuals to sanitize or wash their hands before and after contact.
In addition to protective equipment, we will seek to adhere to the following protective precautions:
- Individuals/families should be seated 6 feet apart from each other
- If providing gowns or other garments, we will seek to ensure they are cleaned and laundered between uses
- Train workers on how to don, doff, clean (as applicable), and discard protective equipment
- Limit the sharing of objects (e.g. information cards, collection plates) as well as the touching of shared surfaces (e.g. pews, instruments, doors, railings)
- Place donation dropoff in a central location with proper distancing protocols in place and consider special time for completing via text/online giving during service
- Remove reused church Bibles and encourage attendants to bring their own
- Place pens, informational cards, and communion supplies (if used) at the seats before service
- Worship team will meet the recommended distancing requirements, will use disposable mic coverings, and where feasible, will bring their own instruments.
- Adapt church practices such as visitor greeting; mid-service handshakes; after church fellowship; and meet-and-greet hospitality (single serve snacks) that traditionally require close contact in order to minimize contact between individuals
- Block off water fountains from use
- We affirm we will seek to adopt the safety procedures that meet or surpass the applicable state and city-issued legal guidelines for churches.
- We will post signs throughout our venues to remind staff, volunteers and congregants to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, and appropriate use of PPE.
- We will post additional signs so volunteers and staff follow cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
- We will post this Safety Plan prominently posted on-site and on www.ENNYC.org.
- We will seek to clearly and appropriately communicate this Safety Plan to our staff, volunteers and congregants. We will communicate through in-person and online training, ennyc.info, The Weekly email, text messages, and our social media channels.
- Sunday Service attendees (including staff, volunteers and congregants) will be required to complete an online registration prior to attending Sunday Services.
- The Registration will include a health screening assessment that consists of three questions, asking about (i) COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, and/or sore throat, in the past 14 days, (ii) positive COVID-19 test in the past 14 days, and/or (iii) close contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days (collectively, “Attendance Requirements”). Attendees must answer all three questions in the negative to be admitted to the upcoming Sunday Service.
- The People Engagement Team will review Registration responses and will maintain appropriate documentation of the review.
- Prior to the Sunday Service, an automated message will be sent to all registered attendees reminding them of Attendance Requirements and notifying them that they should not attend the Sunday Service if they no longer meet these.
- An additional on-site screening will be conducted outside of the Sunday Service venue by a trained volunteer or staff. Any person conducting the on-site screening will be provided with the best personal protective equipment available to ENNYC. The on-site screening will require (i) a temperature check using a forehead thermometer that shows the attendee has a temperature at or below 100.3 degrees, and (ii) the attendee to re-confirm that they meet the Attendance Requirements.
- Any person who shows a temperature above 100.3 degrees or otherwise screens positive for COVID-19 symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, and/or sore throat, will not be allowed to enter the Sunday Service venue and will be told to contact their healthcare provider for assessment and testing.
- If a pastor or staff tests positive for COVID- 19, we will immediately notify state and local health departments and cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including ANONYMOUS notification of potential contacts who had close contact with the person, while not identifying the person, as required by state and federal law and regulations.
V. Hygiene and Sanitation
We will seek to adhere to the following hygiene and sanitation guidelines with respect to a Sunday Service held at our 414 West 51st Street (“414”) or other meeting location:
- Deep cleaning and disinfecting will be done the day before and after the Sunday Service by a hired cleaning service. The Sunday Service cleaning team will maintain cleaning logs on-site that document date, time, and scope of cleaning will be maintained after each cleaning.
- Automatic hand sanitizers containing 60% or more alcohol will be placed throughout the location – by the main entrance, glass door, service area & kitchen. The upstairs sink will also be available for handwashing. Soap, water, and paper towels will be provided.
- Common areas like bathroom and kitchen will be cleaned and disinfected in between services with household cleaners and EPA-registered product disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.
- Frequently touched surfaces like handrails, doorknobs, faucets, and sinks and commonly used items like tables and chairs and equipment will be cleaned and disinfected before, after and, to the extent we hold multiple Sunday Services, in between Sunday Services, with household cleaners and EPA-registered product disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface, following label instructions.
- Floor labels will be placed to ensure individuals waiting to use the restroom will maintain at least 6 feet of distance between each person.
- Buffet-style food and beverages will no longer be offered. Individual bottled water and single-pack food will be available upon request. Person serving will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Tissues and trash cans will be placed throughout the location (indoor and outdoor).
- Staff, volunteers, and attendees will be required to wear a face covering throughout the Sunday Service. Masks will be provided for those who do not have one. The preacher, other speakers, and worship ministers will use a face shield when on stage or as otherwise necessary.
- Anyone who is coughing/sneezing incessantly will be asked politely to excuse her/himself from the Sunday Service.
- Staff and volunteers will use appropriate personal protective equipment including gloves and face shields, depending on the area of ministry.
While ENNYC will seek to ensure that Sunday Services are conducted in accordance with the Safety Plan, ENNYC and its directors, officers, employees and volunteers shall have no liability to any staff, volunteers or congregants for failing to meet any of the Safety Plan, including any liability related to contracting COVID-19 directly or indirectly as a result of attending a Sunday Service.