June 4, 2020
It is with great joy that we are able to share, effective this week we have the blessing of Metropolitan Gregory for a limited reopening of our parish for services. The purpose of this document is to share information with parishioners regarding our re-opening, set expectations, and answer some questions that we have been receiving. Some of the main points regards our re-opening plan are:
• Our Parish reopening, and the guidelines/protocols that we use, will be within State/Municipal guidelines and with the blessing of Metropolitan Gregory.
• For the safety of our parishioners and their families, our plans will be cautious and gradual/phased in our approach to reopening.
• We will communicate clearly with all parishioners what safety precautions we are taking and what expectations we have.
• We will communicate clearly with all parishioners what we expect of them, and each other, as we reopen the parish for services
• We will continue to live-stream services and focus on enhancing the quality.
• For our initial phase of re-opening our capacity cannot exceed 50% and must also be able to maintain social distancing of approximately 6ft between households. Based on our calculations we will initially reopen to a capacity a minimum of 11 households per service, with the intentions of increasing capacity over time.
• Due to our capacity limitations, we will be coordinating how households sign-up to attend a service. It may not be possible to attend every service, for example our weekly requests to attend liturgy may exceed available capacity. We will ensure an equitable approach to households being able to attend regularly.
• The common areas that we will use (Nave, Narthex, and Downstairs Restrooms) will be sanitized after every service. Other areas of the church will NOT be open.
• Adults and teens are expected to wear masks at all times. Children who are old enough to wear masks should be wearing a mask too. If a parishioner has received specific guidance from their doctor that they cannot wear a mask, please let us know.
• For those who do not have masks, the parish has a limited supply of re-useable (and washable) adult and youth masks to give to any households or household member who need them. These can be reused for future services.
• Should a parishioner, or a member of their household, experience symptoms (Fever or chills, Cough, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, Fatigue, Muscle or body aches, Headache, New loss of taste or smell, Sore throat, Congestion or runny nose, Nausea or vomiting, or Diarrhea) they should refrain from attending services and seek medical advice. If a parishioner has been in close contact with someone who has had any of the above symptoms or been who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, they should stay home.
Arriving at Church for a Service: What to Expect
ENTERING THE CHURCH
• As many people have different comfort levels in public places, we ask households to respectfully social distance from each other when entering into the church building.
• We ask that members of your household put their mask on while entering the church.
• Weather permitting, we will prop the doors open to minimize contact on handles
IN THE NARTHEX
• Should you need a mask, that is being provided by the church, they will be available in a pre-marked bag immediately inside the Narthex.
• Bottles of Hand Sanitizer will be available for us on a table in the Narthex.
• Candles will be available. We ask that you bring exact change.
• We ask that no one congregates in the Narthex when arriving or leaving. Please stop only to get candles and use the hand sanitizer available.
ENTERING THE NAVE
• With limitations on capacity and the dynamic of social distancing, there will be assigned seating for each household. The attached diagram of the Nave provides an example for of spacing for 11 Households.
• Families will have submitted their names in advance for their household to be present at a service and will have received a confirmation. Each household will know where they will be sitting during the Service. Each area will be marked as well.
• Upon entering the Nave, please proceed up the center aisle with your candles to light them and reverence/venerate (recommended, a deep bow) of any icons prior to taking your seat(s).
• We ask that all members of the household remain in their assigned areas unless coming up for communion or going to use the rest room if needed.
• An usher will walk around with the plate for offerings, as usual, during Liturgy. The plate will not be passed around (hand to hand), families are asked to drop any donation they have into the plate. Alternatively, your offering can be left in box in the Narthex.
COMING UP FOR COMMUNION (LITURGY)
• Ushers will signal households to come up for communion, one at a time from front to back.
• Please lower your mask on your face to receive communion, mouth wide open to receive.
• Father will make any other announcements necessary regarding receiving.
• After receiving, each household will return to their seating using the outside path, going right or left and not back up the center of the Nave.
• Families will be dismissed one at a time, from front to back, by the usher. You may reverence/venerate they icons as your leave, deep bow recommended.
• After venerating, each household will leave using the outside path, going right or left and not back up the center of the Nave. Do not stop or congregate in the Narthex.