COVID-19 ATTENDEE INFORMATION


UPDATE 07.26.2020

Face coverings are required according to Governor Walz’ executive order 20-81.Individuals who are exempt from wearing a mask include those with a medical condition that makes it unreasonable for the individual to maintain a face covering. If you enter without a mask, we will assume you are exempt, and ask that you make every effort to maintain proper social distance. Thank you!



UPDATE 09.06.2020

This plan accommodates the current 50% of total capacity restrictions (with a maximum of 250 people in a single self-contained space) and the indoor mask mandate per Gov. Walz’ STAY SAFE PASE III document dated June 15, 2020 and Executive Order 20-81 effective from July 25, 2020 respectively. In this document, the word “mask” includes all approved face coverings. See pages 6-9 for applicable details from Executive Order 20-81.



GENERAL PROTECTIONS/PROTOCOLS

BEST PRACTICES
For mask-wearing and other “best practices” to be effective, they need to be articulated frequently by Pastor Jac, staff, deacons, and other lay leadership. This will happen weekly in-person, online [website, app, social media], and/or in video form.
• We require masks for all volunteers and staff while working in the church building on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings and for all other on-campus group ministries, except while following one or more of the exceptions listed in Executive Order 80-21.
• We ask all who enter the building to complete a health self-check before entering.
• We encourage a “no physical touch” policy and a 6’ distance [3 chairs] for all persons not under the same household.
• We encourage anyone who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to stay home, self-monitor for 14 days, and follow CDC guidelines if symptoms develop.
• We encourage anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 to communicate this to office@epassembly.org. Confidentiality will be maintained.
• We open the building entrance for attendees no earlier than 15 minutes before each service.
• We encourage attendees to leave the building promptly after service.
• We encourage attendees to converse outside before & after service in groups of 10 or fewer and with 6’ distancing between households.
• Pastor Jac, Bonnie, and staff pastors model these best practices by visiting with attendees on the front walkway.
• For attendees who prefer to leave before worship, we have strategically placed worship [prefaced by a dismissal] at the end of service order.


PLAN FOR EXPOSURE
• We regularly remind congregants, lay leaders, and staff [in-person, online (website, app, social media), and/or in video form] to stay home if they have any symptoms, are not feeling well, or have compromised immune systems.
• If someone is exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms while in the church building:
> An usher or security person will contact a designated volunteer.
> Said volunteer will quietly ask that person to join them in an area that will allow for confidentiality and not disrupt service.
> The designated volunteer will gently ask the person about symptoms as listed on the Health Screening Checklist.
> If the person truly appears to have COVID-19 symptoms, they will be encouraged to self-quarantine for 10 days following the onset of symptoms and to let a pastor know, or email office@epassembly.org in confidence if they test positive for COVID-19.
> A staff person will notify local health officials if a person diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in the building and will communicate with staff and congregants about potential exposure while maintaining confidentiality.
• Areas used by the sick person will be closed off until cleaning and disinfection has taken place.
• We will advise staff and congregants with symptoms or who have tested positive not to return to church until:
> With symptoms:  after 3 days with no fever AND symptoms improved AND 10 days since symptoms appeared
> Tested positive, no symptoms: 10 days have passed since test


FACILITY PROTECTIONS/PROTOCOLS

GENERAL FACILITIES
• We follow CDC guidelines to thoroughly sanitize used areas of the church building and outdoor railing before each service.
• We avoid use of community/shared items by having modified or suspended existing ministries with such items.
• We help ensure proper social distancing by modified or suspended existing ministries that require close contact.
• We have placed hand sanitizer stations and extra masks at the main entrance.
• We have ensured that our ventilation system is running at all times, as well as keeping interior doors open for maximum air flow.
• We use stanchions or lock doors to block areas not being utilized.
• We have covered water fountain spigots [but not the hands-free bottle refill feature].
• We use ample digital & print signage to help communicate onsite directions, procedures, etc.


RESTROOM CONSIDERATIONS
• We follow CDC guidelines regarding cleaning and disinfecting.
• We have posted signage in accordance with CDC and MDH guidelines, as well as signage that requests mask usage and social distancing.

 
MASK-ONLY SUNDAY SERVICE OPTION
• We provide a separate service area [room LL018 in the Lower Level] on Sundays for those who prefer a less populated, mask-only space. In other words, anyone operating under one of the exceptions listed in Executive Order 80-21 [e.g. under 5 years old, drinking coffee, medical reason] is asked to refrain from using this area.
• LL018 is in a very low-traffic area of the building and can be accessed via the outdoor walkway (ask a greeter for assistance), central stairway, or elevator.


SEATING
Service areas are currently the sanctuary, fellowship hall, and youth room [mask only].
• We have limited each room’s capacity to a maximum of 50% per CDC guidelines, though it is considerably less with social distancing.
• Our row spacing in all service areas reflects current social distancing requirements.
• Main sanctuary seating is accessible only through the main sanctuary doors (not the side doors) so that ushers may help assure social distancing is maintained.
• Ushers are also available to help with seating in the fellowship hall and youth room [mask only], if needed.


OUTDOOR CONSIDERATIONS
• EZ-UP canopies are available to provide protection from sun and rai, if needed.


ONLINE PRESENCE
• We are continuing our strong online presence on Sunday mornings.
• We have a small team of people responding to attendees and prayer requests on various platforms.


VOLUNTEER PROTECTIONS/PROTOCOL

VOLUNTEERS
We require on-duty staff and volunteers to complete a health self-check before entering the building, wear masks, and encourage 6’ distancing.

ALL ON-SITE CLASSES, MEETINGS, AND MINISTRIES
• Teachers, speakers, and leaders are required to wear a mask to the class, meeting, or ministry unless following one or more of the exceptions described in Executive Order 80-21.
• They ensure that the room’s seating [or space arrangement, if no seating] can accommodate all attendees with 6’ distancing.


SUNDAY GREETER-SPECIFIC DETAILS
• Greeters will be ready and in place a half hour before each service, allowing only volunteers and their family members to enter the church before the doors open no earlier than 15 minutes before service.
• Two greeter positions flank the outside main doors, with doors propped open so that attendees can be “touchless” as they enter and exit.
• A third greeter in the lobby near the entrance will distribute masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves to any who may have forgotten theirs.


SUNDAY USHER-SPECIFIC DETAILS
For EPAG’s social distancing policy to be effective, ushers are responsible for ensuring the areas around seated people are reserved from those who may not be as measured about social distancing.
• Our “measuring unit” used during this time is a three-chair span.
• Ushers use social distancing signs to designate chairs as unavailable.
• Ushers can print additional copies as needed from the elevator room printer.
• Ushers track room capacity with social distancing and divert attendees to overflow rooms.
• Ushers attend service in the room where they are working so they can properly seat latecomers.
• Ushers collect, count, and deposit the offering while adhering to distancing practices.
• The empty collection box is stored inside the welcome center cabinet after money is deposited into the safe.

SUNDAY LOBBY TEAM LEAD
This person is stationed near the Welcome Center and provides an additional layer of greeter, security, and Covid-19 monitoring for the lobby.
• Lobby Team Lead monitors the collection box and lobby activity, including
> turning lights off as a reminder not to congregate in the lobby.
> ensuring mobile TV signage is running
> hallway stanchions are in place (extended before doors open, retracted 30 minutes after service starts)
> and that lanyards are distributed to volunteers.
• Lobby Team Lead unlocks the Mother’s Room and other locked rooms as needed and informs Custodian when these areas are used.
• Lobby Team Lead serves as guest services and as a greeter for latecomers.


SUNDAY AND WEDNESDAY CHILDREN’S MINISTRIES
• We encourage the use of masks by attendees over age 5, but [per Executive Order 80-21] not deny entrance to someone not wearing a mask.
• We encourage a “no physical touch” policy and a 6’ distance for all students not under the same household using carpet spot markers.
• Ample signage provides directional flow and other information per CDC and MDH guidelines.
• We encourage families to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes prior to a service and to leave the building promptly after service.
• Classrooms operate using the “pod” concept, not intermingling or moving from classroom-to-classroom. Children remain in the same room where they were dropped off.
• Hand sanitizer, gloves, and disposable face coverings are available in each classroom.
• We avoid community/shared items, including the prize store in elementary services. When using supplies such as markers, each child will receive their own supplies to avoid supply-sharing.
• Outside toys and snacks are not permitted in our classrooms.
• We follow CDC guidelines to thoroughly sanitize used areas of the EPAGKIDS ministry wing and outdoor stairwell railing prior to each service.
• Each classroom is limited to 50% occupancy. Once 50% capacity is reached, families are encouraged to attend the adult service together.
• Families can expect a continued online presence including age-specific content on our website, a weekly “family experience” that is accessible on our website and Facebook, and other online ministry options/events.


FACE COVERING DETAILS FROM E.O. 20-81
https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/facecover.html

TYPES OF FACE COVERINGS
•Types of face coverings can include a paper or disposable mask, a cloth mask, a neck gaiter, a scarf, a bandanna, or a religious face covering.
•A face covering must cover the nose and mouth completely. The covering should not be overly tight or restrictive and should feel comfortable to wear.
•Any mask that incorporates a valve that is designed to facilitate easy exhaling, mesh masks, or masks with openings, holes, visible gaps in the design or material, or vents are not sufficient face coverings because they allow droplets to be released from the mask.
•A face covering is not a substitute for social distancing, but is especially important in situations when maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from other individuals who are not members of the same household is not possible.
•It is not known whether face shields (a clear plastic barrier that covers the face) provide the same source control for droplets as face masks, but they may be an option in situations where wearing a face mask is problematic. For optimal protection, the shield should extend below the chin and to the ears, and there should be no exposed gap between the forehead and the shield's headpiece.
•Although medical-grade masks (e.g., surgical face masks, N95 respirators) are sufficient face coverings, members of the public who do not work in health care or an occupation that requires medical-grade protective equipment (e.g., certain construction professions) are discouraged from wearing them as they should be reserved for those workers.


PEOPLE EXEMPTED FROM THE FACE COVERING REQUIREMENT
•Children under age 2 years must not wear face coverings. Children between the ages of 2 and 5 years old are not required to wear face coverings, but are encouraged to wear a face covering when in public  if they can do so reliably in compliance with CDC guidance on How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings (i.e., without frequently touching or removing the face covering).
•People who have medical or other health conditions, disabilities or mental health, developmental, or behavioral needs that make it difficult to tolerate wearing a face covering.
•Any person who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, sleeping, incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
•People at their workplace when wearing a face covering would create a safety hazard to the person or others as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
•Alternatives to masks such as clear face shields may be considered for those with health conditions or situations where wearing a mask is problematic. Face shields may also be used as an alternative to face coverings when specifically permitted in the applicable Industry Guidance available at Stay Safe Minnesota.

WHEN IT IS REQUIRED TO WEAR A FACE COVERING
•In all indoor businesses and public indoor spaces, including when waiting outside to enter the public indoor space or business.
•When riding on public transportation such as buses or trains, or in a taxi, ride-sharing vehicle, or vehicle that is being used for a business purpose.
•For workers only: When working outdoors in situations where social distancing (i.e., maintaining physical distance of at least six feet from other individuals who are not in the same household) cannot be maintained.
•When present in a business, whether indoor or outdoor, that has additional face covering requirements. Businesses are allowed to require face coverings even in situations where face coverings are not otherwise required by Executive Order 20-81.
•When applicable industry guidance, available at Stay Safe Minnesota, specifically requires face coverings (refer to the industry-specific guidance section, below).


WHEN A FACE COVERING IS NOT REQUIRED
•When at home or in an assigned room or living unit in a place of temporary lodging (e.g., hotel or motel room) or other place whether a person may reside short- or long-term (e.g., shelter, dormitory, residential treatment facility, long-term care facility, correctional facility).
•However, workers who enter a person's home or assigned living unit for purposes of their job—for example, home health care aides or staff in a residential treatment, long-term care, or correctional facility—must wear face coverings when doing so.  Certain facilities—including hospitals, shelters, long-term care facilities, residential programs licensed under Minnesota Statutes chapter 245D, residential treatment facilities, or correctional facilities—may also require visitors and residents, patients, or inmates to wear face coverings even when in a living unit.
•When in a private vehicle being used for private (i.e., non-business) purposes.
•When outdoors or participating in outdoor recreation (e.g., exercising, walking, gardening) for private purposes.  However, workers are required to wear face coverings when working outdoors in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.
•Even in situations where face coverings are not required, all people should carry a face covering to prepare for close interactions with others or to enter an indoor space.

WHEN CAN A FACE COVERING CAN BE TEMPORARILY REMOVED
•While eating or drinking, if you can maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others who are not a member of the same party.
•When someone asks to verify an identity for lawful purposes, such as when ordering an alcoholic beverage or entering certain events.
•When participating in an activity in which the face covering will get wet. For example, when swimming.
•While communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, or who has a medical condition, disability, or mental health condition that makes communication with that individual while wearing a mask difficult, provided that social distancing is maintained to the extent possible between people who are not members of the same household.
•While receiving a service—including a dental examination or procedure, medical examination or procedure, or personal care service--that cannot be performed or would be difficult to perform when the individual receiving the service is wearing a face covering.
•When alone, such as when working in an office or a cubicle with walls higher than face level when social distancing is maintained, in an enclosed indoor area, in a vehicle, or in the cab of heavy equipment or machinery. In such situations, people should still carry face coverings to be prepared to wear when no longer alone.
•When participating in organized sports where the level of exertion makes wearing a face covering difficult.
•When participating in indoor physical exercise—such as in a gym or fitness center—where the level of exertion makes wearing a face covering difficult, as long as social distancing can be maintained at all times.
•When testifying, speaking, or performing in an indoor business or public indoor space, in situations or settings such as theaters, news conferences, legal proceedings, governmental meetings subject to the Open Meeting Law (Minnesota Statutes 2019, Chapter 13D), presentations, or lectures, provided that social distancing is always maintained. Face shields should be considered as an alternative in these situations.
•During practices or performances in an indoor business or indoor public space when a face covering cannot be used while playing a musical instrument, provided that social distancing is always maintained.

WHEN IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED (BUT NOT REQUIRED) TO WEAR A FACE COVERING
•In any outdoor business or public outdoor space when it is not possible to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others or where close person-to-person interaction is possible or likely, such as when entering or exiting a business, moving around in a space with others present, using the restroom, ordering food, or waiting in line.
•In private social gatherings—for example, when visiting in a private home with friends or relatives that do not reside in the same household—especially when it is not possible to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from others.
•At home, for individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. This will help protect other members of the same household from being infected.
•During participation in organized sporting activities, if wearing a face covering is safe and practical.
•When at home or in a private vehicle when someone who is not a member of the same household is present, particularly when social distancing cannot be maintained.


Businesses' obligations under the Executive Order
Under Executive Order 20-81, businesses must:
•Require that all people, including their workers, customers, and visitors, wear face coverings as required by Executive Order 20-81 and take reasonable steps to enforce the requirement.
•Mitigate or eliminate worker and customer exposure to people who cannot wear or refuse to wear a face covering.
•Update their COVID-19 Preparedness Plans to include the face covering requirements of Executive Order 20-81, inform their workers how their plan has been updated, and make the revised plan available to their workers.
•Post one or more signs that are visible to all people—including workers, customers, and visitors—instructing them to wear face coverings as required by Executive Order 20-81.
•When possible, provide accommodations to people, including their workers and customers, who state they have a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for the person to maintain a face covering. Accommodations could include permitting use of an alternate form of face covering—a face shield, for example—or providing service options that do not require a customer to enter the