Use digital checklists to implement hygiene and protective measures in the church during the service.
This checklist can be used for the preparation and conduct of church services in compliance with distance and hygiene rules.Download template
Church congregations around the world had to close their places of worship and community centres in the context of the global corona pandemic. This is a difficult situation for believers for whom praying together is of great importance. Some holidays could, therefore, not be celebrated as before. Digital solutions such as the streaming of church services and exchange via telephone conferences were used. Somehow, but not the same feeling as praying together in the church or working together for the congregation arises.
Fortunately, the churches are also allowed to reopen within the framework of the loosening of the restrictions, provided that hygiene and protective measures are observed. To resume religious rites and worship acts, each congregation must have guidelines for reopening churches, especially for worship services.
The use of checklists can also help to implement and maintain all safeguards to continue to ensure the health of believers and church staff. Besides, there is an increased risk of infection during religious events through ritual practices. For this reason, these cannot be practised at first as they were before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus so that the spread of the pathogen can continue to be contained. According to this, churches' reopening is not a return to normality, but a return to the community.
The reopening is a challenge for churches. Therefore, where it is important, it is important to establish a church health & safety policy with clear guidelines that must be followed by all believers. This is the only way to minimize the risk of a coronavirus outbreak in the church.
Below are listed the six major risks and challenges involved in reopening a church and some helpful tips on how best to deal with them:
Church facilities should be disinfected as often as possible to prevent contamination by viruses and other infectious agents. A cleaning and disinfection plan must be drawn up and coordinated with the responsible staff. The plan shall specify all necessary cleaning processes and the frequency of their execution. For example, cleaning and disinfection must be carried out after every service.
It is important to emphasize again and again how important it is to adhere to the hygiene regulations, safety measures and rules of distance during the service. The guidelines for reopening churches should be made available to all staff, parishioners and ministers in an up-to-date version. This will help everyone to adapt to the changes and to accept the "new normality".
Due to the new hygiene and safety measures, some articles are in greater demand than in pre-Corona times. Therefore, these should be ordered earlier, as they can be difficult to obtain. These include toilet paper, disinfectants, paper towels, soaps, masks and disposable gloves.
At certain times and places, churches can be overcrowded. In these moments it is especially important to maintain the social distance. Parishioners must be encouraged to maintain safe distances at all times during the service. Consideration should also be given to holding several services in one day to allow for proper spacing and space for meaningful worship.
Shaking hands gives the feeling of being welcome. However, to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus, it should not be used in corona time. Furthermore, church officials must give clear signals to remind participants of this commandment. When welcoming visitors before entering the church, adequate hand hygiene must be ensured. Church congregations should provide a means for visitors to wash or disinfect their hands when they enter the building.
It is important to provide small children with an additional room with care during the service. This makes it easier to comply with the hygiene and protective measures in the church during the service. It should be ensured that these areas are disinfected at all times.
Similar to service providers, public institutions and industrial sectors, church communities must also adhere to fundamental points when drawing up their guidelines for reopening. These relate primarily to hygiene, distance and handling of confirmed and suspected Covid-19 cases. The following sections are therefore a mandatory part of any church health & safety policy:
For all employees and worshipers, a minimum distance of 1.5 meters must be maintained - except if they come from a household. During the service, the rows of seats are to be arranged in such a way that sufficient distance between believers can be maintained. The seats can be marked accordingly.
To ensure hygiene in the church is as important as the distance. Before and after the service, thorough cleaning of all contact surfaces and sanitary rooms is a must. Besides, believers should be provided with washing facilities for their hands and sufficient disinfectant. Signs at the entrance and in the washrooms can also be a reminder of the necessary hand hygiene.
Good preparation helps to act immediately in case of suspected cases and confirmed Covid-19 diseases. If one or more believers who have visited the church have fallen ill with the coronavirus, the church must first be closed again. After that, everything must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. The virus survives for up to 72 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces. Besides, it must be traced with which persons, the sick person(s) had contact during the service.
Implementing the distance rules and protective measures is a costly undertaking. Checklists can help in the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the measures. These no longer have to be made of paper, a digital version like Lumiform's offers numerous advantages.
With the mobile app, quality and safety checks can be easily carried out on site. Problems can be reported in no time at all, and corrective measures can be quickly assigned to responsible colleagues. The easy communication with all responsible persons allows to improve internal processes and to solve occurring incidents up to four times faster.
The digital application of Lumiform not only helps to implement a health and safety policy in the church, but it can also be used in other areas of church work. Employees and ministers benefit from the following advantages:
We have put together some checklists to make it easier to reopen a church during corona. All templates can be easily adapted to internal company requirements and regional guidelines of state authorities.