AS YOU MAY HAVE HEARD, the “indoor mask mandate” and “six-foot social distancing” requirements of the past fifteen months are being lifted in NJ, effective May 28, 2021. This follows an announcement by the CDC on May 16, 2021, that vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks or social distance. Our Reopening Plan has closely followed NJ rules regarding masks and social distancing throughout the pandemic, with additional reliance on the guidelines of the CDC. Accordingly, the Reopening Team and Church Council have now approved the following changes to our Reopening Plan for indoor worship services and church meetings, effective May 28, 2021:
- Masks and social distancing will no longer be required; however, masks and social distancing are strongly encouraged for those who have not been vaccinated and children under the age of 12 will be expected to wear masks.
- Masks may still be worn by any person for any reason, which may include personal or family health issues or other personal risk evaluation. We ask that all persons be respectful of any person who is wearing a mask, including providing a safe space around anyone wearing a mask.
- Singing by all vaccinated persons is not only permitted, but encouraged! Hallelujah! Hymnals and Bibles have been restored to the pews.
- Occupancy will be limited solely based upon availability of seating that allows for comfortable and respectful seating. Additional seating for worship services will continue to be available in Fellowship Hall where worshippers can join together with other congregants for live-streamed service with windows open for ventilation.
- Eating and drinking during church meetings will be permitted, however, those who are not vaccinated are strongly encouraged to resume masking after eating or drinking and maintain social distance.
These actions were taken and approvals obtained on an expedited basis after the NJ Governor made his initial announcement Monday afternoon May 24. The Reopening Team will continue to monitor developments in NJ rules, CDC guidelines and healthcare advice, in order to respond and adapt to future changes or concerns. If you have any questions, please feel free to discuss with any member of the Reopening Team: Pattie Gritzan, Co-Chair, Pastor HeyYoung, Joel Bewley, Max Fisher, Joan Flamini, Carlos Mocelo, Robin Webb. Also, the agenda of our upcoming regular quarterly Church Council meeting on June 15, 2021 will include further discussion of our Reopening Plan. All members of the church are welcome to attend any Church Council meeting. Meeting will be held via Zoom at 7 pm. If you would like the Zoom information, please contact Joan Flamini.
Peace and Grace,
Chair of Church Council