Phase 4: Revitalization
Latest update: June 26, 2020 with updated provisions in bold italics
General Guidance from Restore Illinois Plan:
- Social distancing policies still in place
- Gatherings of 50 people or fewer are allowed with this limit subject to change based on latest data and guidance
- Travel should follow state and federal public health approved guidance
- Schools, higher education, all summer programs, and child care open with Department of Public Health approved safety guidance
- All employees return to work with Department of Public Health approved safety guidance
- Employers are encouraged to provide accommodations for COVID-19-vulnerable employees
Illinois Great Rivers Conference Guidance:
- Churches should follow Phase 3 Illinois Great Rivers Conference Guidance except as changed in this list.
- Churches may begin meeting indoors in groups of 50 people or fewer for worship, leadership meetings, discipleship formation, and missional service. Some churches may determine that they will continue to meet for public worship exclusively online in order to avoid excluding congregants who may not yet feel safe attending in person gatherings. Most churches will want to continue to offer their online or broadcast worship experience in addition to any small group in person gatherings.
- Churches may begin meeting for worship indoors in a place that allows for extensive social distancing. Attendance should be limited to 25 percent of the room capacity or 100 attendees, whichever is lower. Beginning July 12, 2020, churches with larger facilities may exceed the 100 attendance limit but not exceed 25 percent of room capacity if they have a local church-approved, comprehensive safety plan that outlines their procedures for appropriate social distancing, cleaning, contact logging and education of their congregation. This plan should be sent to their District Superintendent who will keep it on record. Insurance coverage adequate to the comprehensive safety plan is expected.
- Churches will want to follow all of the worship recommendations listed in Phase 3.
- Face coverings and masks should continue to be used if recommended by state public health officials.
- Weddings and funerals may be held in the church building of no more than 50 people in any size room they may meet up to 25 percent of the room capacity without the or 25 percent of the room capacity in larger rooms but must not exceed 100 people in those larger rooms unless the church has an approved safety plan as described above, in which case they may meet up to 25 percent of the room capacity without the 100 person limit.
- Children’s Ministries – Children’s ministries may resume in person programming in groups of less than 50, including children and adult leaders. All programs should follow appropriate social distancing and use face coverings as recommended by state public health officials. All programs must follow Department of Health approved guidance on adult supervision, cleaning, and group size. Some churches may determine that they cannot offer a safe and quality children’s program, and they may choose to continue their online or other programming.
- Discipleship Formation – People may gather in groups of up to 50, wearing masks as recommended, and practicing appropriate social distancing. Some participants will not yet feel safe or comfortable being in public, and any small group experience should provide an easy and accessible means for them to participate either online or over the telephone. This may mean that it is more comfortable and effective for many discipleship-formation groups to continue to meet primarily online or over the telephone.
- Missional Service – People may gather in groups of up to 50, wearing masks as recommended, and practicing appropriate social distancing. Mission trips outside of the local area can be held but must follow state and federal guidance on travel safety.
- Leadership Meetings – People may gather in groups of up to 50, wearing masks as recommended, and practicing appropriate social distancing. Charge Conferences of over 50 people should seek guidance from their District Superintendent on how to legally and safely conduct their business.
- Church Staff – Church staff, pastors, and other workers using the church facility are allowed to return to work in the church building but working conditions must follow Department of Public Health approved safety guidance depending upon risk level. Remote, at-home, and virtual office work is strongly encouraged wherever possible. Continue to attend to cleaning and sanitizing the office. Pay particular attention to high-touch surfaces and cleaning hands after dealing with the offering.
People over 65 years old, those with compromised immunity, those with respiratory illness or injury, others who are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19, those who have tested positive for COVID-19, and those who have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days should continue to remain isolated and avoid gatherings of any size until they are given the all-clear. This includes church staff, volunteers, parishioners, visitors, renters, facility users, and guests. Church staff and clergy who are at high risk should have a conversation with their supervisor, Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, or District Superintendent to seek appropriate accommodation.