On May 6 Bishop Cathleen Bascom issued new guidelines that relaxed some Covid-related restrictions that had been in place for indoor, in-person worship.
Beginning on May 15, indoor singing is permitted for congregations as well as ensembles, with everyone masked. Fully vaccinated people may sit closer together than 6 feet, while provisions must remain for greater distancing for those who are unvaccinated or who wish more space. And fully vaccinated lectors or officiants may remove their mask while speaking if an implication system is being used.
Fully vaccinated people also may remove their masks when outdoors on any church property, so long as the setting is not crowded. In those cases, masks are recommended.
The bishop also encouraged parish leadership to study a meditation and study guide written by the Rev. Tim Schenck, rector of St. John’s, Hingham, Mass., to think about how churches will engage in a post-pandemic world.
Bishop Bascom reiterated that many other guidelines remain in effect, including masks for all during worship services, the need to use registration or sign-up sheets (although they only need to be retained for one month), and the distribution of communion in one kind.
The diocesan staff will continue to gather weekly Covid statistics for each county within the diocese and now also is tracking reported vaccination levels county-by-county.
The bishop also encouraged people to read the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including an infographic describing risk factors for various activities for vaccinated and unvaccinated people