Church Reopening Checklists
Know the right reopening procedures for safer religious gatherings as guidelines around COVID-19 are evolving
Published September 7th, 2020
The New Normal for Religious Gatherings
After the temporary closure of churches and other worship places in responding to the novel coronavirus pandemic, faith communities are now opening amid evolving government restrictions. In an effort to resume religious rites and acts of worship, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has offered guidelines for church leaders and officials when implementing safety precautions in administering any religious mass gathering.
This article will briefly discuss 1) risks and challenges when closing and reopening churches during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how to deal with them, and 2) helpful resources you can download when implementing proper safety measures.
Top 6 Risks and Challenges Associated With Church Reopening and How To Deal with Them
As the global situation constantly changes every day, new policies and regulations are also being implemented by different lawmakers across the globe. Therefore, church reopening guidelines might also be changed, revised, or improved. In regards to this, church organizations should establish a safety plan with a clear set of guidelines before opening chapels, temples, and other buildings to a large mass of attendees. Here are the top six risks and challenges associated with church reopening and some helpful tips on how to deal with them:
- Unsanitized worship areas – church facilities should be sanitized as often as possible to prevent contamination from viruses and other infectants. Create a cleaning schedule and coordinate with authorized staff to discuss and evaluate what the housekeeping process should entail.
- Shortage of supplies – since necessary supplies are high in demand, these items should be ordered sooner as they might be difficult to procure. This includes toilet papers, sanitizers, paper towels, and soaps.
- Strict compliance with social distancing – churches can be crowded at certain times and certain locations. Leaders must encourage members to practice safe distances at all times during the service. Also, leaders should also take into consideration having multiple worship sessions to maintain proper distance and space for meaningful worship.
- Proper welcoming procedures – handshaking makes visitors feel welcomed during a conference. However, to lower the risks of acquiring or spreading the virus, people are not encouraged to do handshakes during the mass gathering. Furthermore, church officials must post clear signages reminding attendees about this matter. Proper hand hygiene should be strictly observed when welcoming visitors before entering the place of worship. Offer hand sanitizer or alcohol upon greeting the visitor.
- Ministering young attendees – delegating a space for children is important to maintain the reverence during the service. In line with this, church officials should ensure that these areas must be sanitized at all times.
- Establishing consistency and more effective communication – continue to over-communicate the importance of following safety rules while administering and attending the service. Also, make sure that all policies adhere to the new and updated regulations provided by the government. Sharing plans to church members, staff and other officials help them and the community to adapt to new changes and embrace the new normal.
Using Digital Church COVID-19 Checklists
In an effort to help church admins in facilitating a good worship service, we offer iAuditor church COVID-19 checklists which you can download for free.
Please note that this checklist is a hypothetical example and provides basic information only. It is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should also seek your own professional advice to determine if the use of such a checklist is permissible in your workplace or jurisdiction.
Featured Church COVID-19 Checklists
UCAQ COVID-19 Community and Faith-based Organizations Checklist
This checklist is derived from the Checklist for Community and Faith Leaders by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can be used by church administrators and event planners when planning and preparing for mass gatherings. Evaluate the effectiveness of your emergency plans and preventive actions in place. Also, determine supplies needed for sanitation and coordinate with key personnel for better plan execution.
Post-pandemic Facilities Reopening Readiness Checklist
This generic checklist can be used by housekeeping managers to perform church facilities inspections before reopening after lockdown. This checklist is fully customizable and is broken down into 3 subparts:
- General information – this includes information about the business, key person involved and meeting schedules
- Hazard identification and risk assessment – this identifies the risks and hazards found within the premises, the levels of impact of the identified hazard (negligible, marginal, critical and catastrophic), and the mitigation actions needed.
- Facility reopening checklist – this includes planning, cleaning and disinfecting (physical facilities, exteriors, restrooms), social distancing measures and communication