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COVID-19 Protocol

To all members and visitors,

Below is a list of guidelines to become familiar with when we worship in person.


Pastor Korey 

The following is the proposed Plan to Re-Open St. Martin Lutheran Church for Sunday Worship Services and other Church functions in accordance with governmental regulations and safety and health practices and procedures. The Church will re-open in phases as described below to facilitate a balance between the congregation’s concerns regarding COVID -19 and the need and desire to return to our normal method of in-person worship. Preparations will be made to ensure that our return to in-person worship will be clean, safe, and to the extent possible, a “non-touch” experience.  St. Martin will follow recommended guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and New York State.

Personal Accommodations

  1. Maintain physical distancing of 6 feet.

  2. Wear masks while inside the building or within six feet of another person.  Because wearing a mask offers additional protection to others, we will also wear masks even while seated for worship.

  3. Encourage hand washing.

Building Accommodations

  1. Building use will be limited to 69 people in the Fellowship Hall (33% of 210 maximum occupancy) and 58 in the Sanctuary (33% of 178).  Limits will be less if unable to keep 6 feet apart.

  2. Worship will be held in the sanctuary, with the pews marked off to ensure adequate spacing.   

  3. Ask that restrooms be restricted to one family group at a time, with a switchable sign labeled “open” and “occupied.”

  4. Restrict the use of small spaces to one person at a time.

  5. Set up kitchen sink to facilitate hand washing.

  6. Open doors and windows to encourage the exchange of inside and outside air when temperature allows.  Turn on heating system fan if temperature allows. 

  7. Minimize bi-directional traffic (will naturally happen as everyone enters the worship area beforehand, then leaves afterwards.  Do we need to do more with this?

  8. Post signs

    1. Telling people to stay home if exhibiting symptoms or if they had interaction with a known case.

    2. Reminding people that masks are necessary when entering and exiting, enforcing social distancing, and to remind to wash hands often.

  9. Have hand sanitizer available in multiple places, including the top and bottom of the stairs. 

  10. Outside groups will be responsible to sanitize the area used before and after use.

  11. Two areas for children will be set up in the sanctuary.  Ensure only one family uses each children’s area per Sunday or ensure that everything gets disinfected between families. 

  12. Only one person in the elevator at a time (two would violate NYS 50% occupancy regulation).


Procedural Accommodations

  1. Have masks and face shields available for those who might have forgotten them

  2. Restricting the use of commonly touched items, such as the lectern or microphones.

  3. Have a volunteer disinfect the stair rail multiple times during the time when people are arriving and leaving.

  4. Attendees are encouraged to go straight to their seat for worship, and exit the building immediately following the service.  Any fellowshipping will need to be socially distanced outside. 

  5. Keep a list of who was in attendance.

  6. No shared meals or beverages

  7. Email out the Pre-Service Screening Assessment (below) to each employee and leader to fill out before attending.  (This does not have to be turned in.) 

  8. Notify the local health department if any employee or leader tests positive for Covid-19.

  9. Post and email this reopening and policy procedures.

  10. Establish facility disinfection protocols.


Worship Service Accommodations

  1. There will be no congregational singing.  Mary Ann will play the music while we meditate on the words.  We may have someone singing in the choir loft if we can do this in a safe way.

  2. No passing around of worship supplies, such as bulletins or offering plates.

    1. Needed items could be either be set out three days in advance, or set out by someone wearing gloves.

    2. Bulletins will be available to be picked up individually, so that no one touches anyone else’s. 

    3. An offering plate will be available for people to place their envelopes as they come in or exit.

    4. Possibly, we could project the service onto a screen instead of having a bulletin.

  3. The service may be abbreviated to decrease the time of possible transmission. 

  4. No in-person Sunday School

  5. Communion is not planned for the initial return gatherings, but will be reincorporated as soon as we are comfortable in doing so. 

  6. Dismiss by rows, requiring people to leave directly rather than fellowshipping in the narthex. 

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