Safety Protocols at FBC Martinsville
We are excited about the newly-relaxed pandemic precautions that are rolling out in our community and country! We are finally turning a corner with near-record low cases of the COVID-19 virus and great progress with vaccinations.
Our church’s Coordinating Council has met to discuss what protocols we will relax/change over the coming weeks, and we finalized these guidelines:
For corporate worship (public, in the Sanctuary):
The new guidance from the State of Virginia and the CDC encourages mask-wearing for the unvaccinated but relaxes mask wearing for the fully vaccinated. While we do have a large portion of our congregation that has been vaccinated, we recognize that in a public setting, we cannot know who has or has not been vaccinated.
We do not wish at this time to check vaccination status at the door routinely, nor do we want to “police” the wearing of masks by the unvaccinated. The honor system of hoping the unvaccinated will still mask up for their safety and the safety of others is fraught with concerns from our more elderly population and their caregivers who have to be extra-cautious at this time.
Remember – some populations cannot be vaccinated yet (children, those with allergies, etc.) and still others who might be vaccinated are routinely in contact with very at-risk family members, so we want to be mindful of the safety of our neighbors as we start to relax our protocols.
Our new protocols will be:
We continue to encourage social distancing of non-household members, but we will be removing taped off areas and trusting families to distance themselves.
For the time being, in addition to the unvaccinated attendees, our fully vaccinated population will also be asked for the corporate worship hour to courteously wear a mask when in the sanctuary or Narthex just before, during, or after worship time. (Feel free to step outside, remove the mask and chat with friends if that’s comfortable for you!). Singing is permissible, masked with proper distancing.
Our worship team will be mostly unmasked, so the first three rows will be blocked off to give ample spacing for the congregation from the front of the sanctuary.
For Small Groups/Committees (closed meetings of smaller numbers):
At FBC, we have a largely vaccinated population and thus are relaxing small group protocols.
We ask that all small groups meeting on church premises make their own decisions about whether to mask or distance with consideration for all members of the group (e.g., if one member of the group prefers strongly that all stay masked, we ask that other members agree to as well; if all members agree to have masks optional, that’s fine too).
Updates to the Policies on July 1st
The Coordinating Council will be meeting July 1st to revisit these policies after we as a community/state/country have relaxed policies for a few weeks. We should have more information and more guidance at that time.
If you are planning to attend in-person worship and are willing to volunteer as an usher or with our sound/video/live streaming technology, lay reading, or choir, please contact the church office!