Covid-19 Policy for St. James Episcopal Church

Approved by the Vestry on March 8, 2022
The COVID-19 Community Level classifications of High, Medium, and Low are determined by the CDC on a weekly basis and can be found at www.cdc.gov by typing in Henderson County, North Carolina in the COVID-19 County Check. The CDC makes this determination by taking into consideration 1) the number of new COVID cases a county has had in the last week, 2) the number of people with COVID admitted to local hospitals in the last week, and 3) the number of local hospital beds filled with COVID patients in the last week. A more complete explanation of how the Level is determined can be found on the CDC Community Levels webpage.

 

CDC COVID-19 Community Level HIGH Restrictions

Worship Services:

  • Masks mandatory at all worship services
  • Only one person at a time standing at High Altar during Eucharist
  • Congregational singing allowed while masked
  • Choir size reduced at the Choir Director’s discretion
  • Teachers and volunteers leading our youngest children, who are not eligible to be vaccinated, remain masked
  • At least one service live-streamed as a remote option

Small Group Gatherings:

  • Masks mandatory at all times indoors
  • Remote attendance options routinely provided

Food:

  • No communal indoor eating allowed
  • No restrictions on outdoor eating

 

*OUR CURRENT LEVEL* (As of September 27, 2022)

 CDC COVID-19 Community Level MEDIUM Restrictions 

Worship Services:

  • Masks are strongly encouraged at all Sunday Eucharists and indoor church gatherings
  • Masks required at 5 p.m. Saturday service
  • No restrictions on number of people standing at High Altar during Eucharist
  • Chalice bearers, ushers, greeters and clergy will remain masked during the distribution of Holy Communion
  • Congregational singing allowed while masked
  • No restriction on choir size
  • Teachers and volunteers leading our youngest children, who are not eligible to be vaccinated, remain masked
  • At least one service live-streamed as a remote option

Small Group Gatherings:

  • Masks optional in small group settings (25 or less), but we encourage groups to check-in with each other for comfort level
  • Remote attendance options routinely provided

Food:

  • No indoor eating restrictions in groups of 50 or less
  • No restrictions on outdoor eating

 

CDC COVID-19 Community Level LOW Restrictions

Worship Services:

  • Masks optional at all services and events
  • No restrictions on number of people at High Altar
  • Congregational singing allowed with or without masks
  • Choir singing allowed with or without masks 
  • At least one service live-streamed as a remote option

Small Group Gatherings:

  • Masks optional unless the group decides otherwise
  • Remote attendance options routinely provided

Food:

  • Indoor food allowed without restrictions on the number of attendees
  • Outdoor option for consuming food which are equally attractive required

MOVING FROM ONE LEVEL OF RESTRICTIONS TO ANOTHER

Currently, Henderson County is in the Medium block of Community Level. The CDC data is updated by 8 p.m. every Thursday. Because a change in level may lead to a change in worship parameters and a need to alert parishioners of the change in restrictions, we will calculate the community level every TUESDAY.

Any change to a different level of restriction must be recorded for TWO CONSECUTIVE WEEKS (or two consecutive Tuesdays) before the change in restrictions are implemented.

Notice of the change in the level of restrictions will be given to parishioners via email.


REMINDERS:

1.  If you are sick, please do not come to church.
2.  If you have any symptoms others might perceive as contagious, please continue to wear a mask even if masks are optional.
3.  Please be respectful of the decisions of others to mask or not mask.
4.  Please be mindful during the Peace that other parishioners may still be reluctant to return to physical touching. Bowing, waving, and fist bumping are appropriate alternatives to shaking hands. When in doubt, it is always appropriate to ask kindly, “Are you shaking hands?”