Guidance to Special Groups - Churches

Main Points

  • This is a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of community spread of COVID19 in the interest of public health and safety e. CONTAINMENT.
  • Stay at least 2 metres (6ft.) away from other people if possible (Social distancing)
  • Encourage hand washing regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water (use hand sanitizer only when soap and water are not readily available with at least 70% alcohol content).
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow, or use disposable tissue/napkins (dispose of same responsibly, and ensure hand washing with soap and water/hand sanitizer after).
  • Vulnerable individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are prone to be affected more severely. These persons are advised to worship from home. They should also avoid mass gatherings and take extra precuations.
  • The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of: continuous cough and/or fever, shortness of breath.

*For most individuals, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection

Congregational Procedures

The following precautionary measures are recommended:

  • Consider reducing number of services/ meetings held per week.
  • Hugging, handshakes, handholding and any such close contact should be eliminated.
  • Offering baskets/plates should be stationary.
  • Holy water stoops should be emptied
  • Access to hand sanitizer should be available near entrance(s). Ushers should encourage persons to sanitize their hands on entry and and exiting.
  • Baptism/Holy Communion/Lord’s Supper is recommended to be poured from a vessel instead of a common pool.
  • Use of Common cup (communion is advised against)
  • There should be no feet washing during this time.
  • Open-air ventilation is encouraged.
  • Persons should be asked to stand at their seat for prayer/altar call instead of congregating at the altar.
  • Ill members, especially with cough or flu-like symptoms should worship from home.
  • All bathrooms must be equipped with soap, water, disposable napkins and garbage bins.
  • Microphone should remain stationary instead of passing from hand to hand; should be cleaned before and after service.
  • Areas such as doorknobs, chair arms, pews, microphones, rails, lecterns, counters which are frequently touched by persons, must be sanitized before and after the service.
  • Environmental Health Department guidelines for cleaning should be followed.
  • Avoid travelling at this time.
  • Rest, moderate exercise, healthy diet, immune boosters: vitamins, ginger, turmeric etc. should all be incorporated to enhance overall health.

Recommended sanitizing solutions include: disinfectant, diluted bleach solution, or >70% alcohol solution.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, the Ministry of Health will provide updates if any additional precautions are recommended.