As Richland Creek continues to move toward more-reopening in 2021, our Pastoral Body has continually considered ways in which we can continue to gather safely and make more room for people to return to worship at the church. To that end, the Pastoral Body recently affirmed two recommendations from our Reopen Team that we will implement in coming weeks:
First, starting April 25, we will move from 6 foot to 5 foot distancing between rows and families in our worship service. This small change of one foot will allow us to accommodate an additional 230 people in the worship service per hour. We recognize that this is less than the distance recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, though it is much more than the 3-foot distance recommended by the World Health Organization. In any case, this decision was not made lightly. Rather, we researched the trends of new cases in our area, the number of people being vaccinated, and what is happening in local churches close by. We feel at this time that it is a safe measure for us to continue to take steps towards reopening safely and prudently.
Second, starting May 16, our 10:30 a.m. service will become mask optional even while entering and exiting and moving around the building. The 9 a.m. service will remain as is – masks required while entering, exiting, moving around the building and in the service itself.
As always, we will continue to watch these situations closely and be ready to change our protocols and standards quickly if we see outbreaks or negative effects. Our careful decisions are based less on national news headlines about COVID and more about what is happening in our congregation and in other local congregations, in North Carolina and even surrounding states. We have learned much from others, and from their safety protocols, while we strive to make the wisest decisions for our church family.
We continue to ask for your prayers and patience, in these ways and in all ways.