Updating COVID-19 Guidelines: June 3, 2022
In a correspondence dated June 3, 2022, Bishop Deon Johnson writes:
Dear Friends in Christ,
It appears that St. Louis and surrounding metro area is on the cusp of another COVID surge. Although the CDC data on the COVID ActNow site shows Metro STL as "medium risk," the data from the City of St. Louis Health Department shows the City of St. Louis at high risk. It is the consensus of the Diocesan Pandemic Task Force that this probably represents a data lag between city data and CDC data and that the city data is sufficient enough to warrant temporary concern and a step back "for a season."
Out of an abundance of concern for our senior saints and our more vulnerable parishioners, for practical purposes we strongly advise Metro STL churches returning to the Feb. 7 guidelines, which include:
1. Masks that cover the nose and mouth are required for all persons for all indoor gatherings. KN95 masks are strongly recommended and encouraged.
2. Physical distancing of three to six feet is required for all indoor gatherings. Cohorts or pods within the same family may continue to safely interact.
3. Distribution of the consecrated wine may resume with the previous recommendation as a guide.
4. Worship capacity should allow for safe physical distancing.
5. Registration to attend worship is strongly encouraged, but not required.
6. Social gatherings should be done as a to-go or the room should be set up to allow maximum physical distancing.
Although these were not specifically addressed in the Feb. 7 revision, earlier revisions also indicated covering the elements for communion or the presider being masked, and use of a "communion station" for wine. Limitation of music/singing was also addressed in earlier revisions and those limitations may also be temporarily prudent under the direction of the Clergy-in-Charge in consultation with lay leadership.
Please be advised that although this presently is only indicated for STL Metro parishes, surrounding counties are also experiencing rises in cases and some voluntary limitations may be prudent. For now, the remainder of the state remains low risk, but all clergy are advised to raise their awareness of case data in your respective counties.
Yours in Christ,
+Deon & the Diocesan Pandemic Taskforce