Changes in Westminster’s Covid Protocols
The Responsible Building Use Task Force met on March 29, 2022, to make changes to Westminster’s Covid protocols, given the much lower rates of transmission of the virus.
Since the start of the pandemic, the goal of the Task Force has been to keep staff, church members, and visitors safe. Safety continues to be the priority of Westminster’s Covid protocols. Early in the pandemic the focus was on protecting elders, given their high vulnerability. Now the emphasis has shifted to children under five who cannot yet be vaccinated and have been more susceptible to contracting recent Covid variants.
The measures taken at Westminster to lower the risk of transmission of Covid are based on local, CDC-determined risk levels, which are issued weekly. Hennepin County is currently in a Low Risk level, which means the following protocols will be instituted starting Monday, April 4:
- In order to protect children under five who cannot yet be vaccinated, masks will be required in any WPC space where under-fives are expected to be present, including Sunday morning worship. Signs will be posted outside any room on Sunday that is mask optional (such as Coffee Hour in Westminster Hall, Adult Ed, Social Justice Forum, etc.), so those entering can make their own decisions. During the 10:30 service we will provide a mask-optional space where people can worship via the livestream.
- Food and beverage may be served indoors at any event where under-fives are not present, using existing industry safety standards for food and beverage WPC has always followed.
- Room capacity limits will be lifted except in spaces where under-fives are expected to be present, when it will be 50% of capacity.
- Communion will be offered in the pews or by intinction with pre-packaged individual servings also available.
- Singing will continue and masks will be required where under-fives are expected be present, including Sunday morning worship. The choir will also continue to wear masks during Sunday worship.
- Offering plates may be passed in the pews.
In addition, the Responsible Building Use Task Force is currently updating Westminster’s overall Covid Response Plan, which will be presented for approval to Westminster’s Session during the April 21 meeting.