There are six phases of re-opening Westminster’s building and conducting off-site activities primarily based on two indicators:
- The number of confirmed, new COVID-19 cases in Minnesota per week.
- Minnesota hospital bed occupancy and Intensive Care Unit occupancy for COVID-19 cases.
Phase I (began March 13, 2020, when public health emergency declared):
Building closed; clergy, staff, and volunteers allowed into the building only to broadcast worship and educational programming as well as maintain the facilities; Westminster staff working remotely; no other gatherings allowed at Westminster or off-site.
Phase II (began May 23, 2020, when CDC revised guidelines regarding worship communities):
Continue all applicable parts of Phase I; additional allowances include receptionist on-site part time; weddings and memorial services with 10 people or fewer indoors to meet on-site and off-site; groups of 10 people or fewer to meet outdoors on-site and off-site (multiple groups can meet at the same location and time if distanced by at least 25 feet); and St. David’s Harman Center returns on-site following its own protocols.
Phase III (began April 4, 2021):
Continue all applicable parts of Phases I and II; additional allowances include clergy, staff, and volunteers to return to work in the building; groups of 25 people or fewer to meet indoors on-site and off-site; and groups of 50 people or fewer to meet outdoors on-site and off-site.
Phase IV (began June 1, 2021):
Continue all applicable parts of Phases I through III; additional allowances include groups up to 75 people, or 25% space capacity, indoors on-site and off-site; and groups of people up to 250 in the sanctuary.
Phase V (to begin when confirmed, new cases are one per 100,000 people or less per week for at least four weeks):
Continue all applicable parts of Phases I through IV; additional allowances include groups up to 50% space capacity, indoors on-site and off-site.
Phase VI (to begin with the availability of an effective treatment or vaccine):
Return to full use of the building, property, and off-site locations.
Read the complete Re-opening the Building Plan (last updated May 2021) (pdf).
Re-opening the Building Plan
Westminster awaits the day when we can gather together in our historic downtown Minneapolis building again. But we recognize the need to put safety first.
The Session of Westminster appointed a task force to draft a Re-opening the Building Plan. The plan addresses phasing for re-opening the building, includes a risk analysis tool for specific church activities, and lists protocols to follow to ensure all of God’s children, especially the vulnerable, are protected and served, loved and affirmed.