WCOG is Reopening May 31st!
Starting May 31st, the WCOG will begin holding live services. We will be following the State of Maine's COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for Religious Gatherings. Please familiarize yourself with the document if you intend on joining us. (You'll note it references the CDC's Interim Guidance for Communities of Faith, which you may want to read too.)
Highlights of Guidance All Should Note
Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
The best way to prevent spread of COVID-19 is to avoid exposure to this virus. The primary strategies for reducing risk are physical distancing, face coverings, hand hygiene, and the cleaning and disinfection of common touch surfaces. Religious organizations should continue to consider offering and promoting the use of online, recorded, drive-in and outdoor services in lieu of indoor in-person services. Additionally, religious organizations should consider strategies to reduce participant exposure to droplets and aerosolized particles that are emitted with forceful respiratory exhalations that commonly occur when singing, speaking loudly, and playing certain musical instruments.
High Risk Populations
Persons at high-risk for COVID-19 are encouraged to use online or other remote options to attend services, meetings, and other religious gatherings at this time. High-risk individuals include:
- People 65 or older
- People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled including:
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People who have serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised: Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune system weakening medications
- People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
- People with diabetes
- People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- People with liver disease
[We are planning on broadcasting the service over Google Meet, as we have been since the shelter at home order has been in place. Therefore, if you are a member of a high-risk population, you still have that option. We encourage people to follow the guidelines; however, if you are determined to be at the church property, you can also consider parking in the lot and watching from your cellphone while remaining in your vehicle.]
Face Coverings, Social Distancing, & Seating
- Cloth face coverings must be worn by all attendees when physical distancing is difficult to maintain, such as when coming and going, except for children under the age of 2. Please review AAP Guidelines for face coverings for children.
- Outdoor services are encouraged. Both indoor and outdoor religious gatherings require adherence to physical distancing guidelines.
- Those living in the same household may sit together without distancing between each other.
- Seating between households must be at least 6 feet apart. Consider alternating rows of pews or seating.
- Avoid physical contact between attendees, including greeting by shaking hands and hugging.
- Collection containers, microphones, paper bulletins, attendance forms, etc., should not be passed from person to person.
- Avoid sharing items. Consider removing common touch items from seating and common areas such as envelopes, pens, texts, etc., as these items are challenging to keep clean between uses.
- Gatherings at in-person services must not exceed the limit established by the Governor’s Executive Order. The current limit is 10 and that limit will increase to 50 for religious institutions on May 29, 2020.
- Choirs have been associated with COVID-19 outbreaks. Therefore, choirs are strongly discouraged at this time. There is a significant risk to participants through the increase in aerosolized droplets during singing.
- Communal singing also increases risk of respiratory transmission of COVID-19 and is not recommended at this time. Humming is not known to increase COVID transmission risks and could provide an alternative to communal singing.
[Please note that singing will occur. The worship team will be spread out on the platform (and at the piano) to maintain social distancing.
This is not the complete list of guidelines. Please see the State of Maine's COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for more information.]
Symptoms of COVID-19 (CDC Info)
The following is from the CDC:
- People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
- Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.
If you have any of the above symptoms, please do not attend any services! Instead, please join us remotely, via Google Meet.
We will not be having a nursery or Sunday School, etc. Families should plan on being together (and distancing from other families or individuals as set out in the guidelines) in the sanctuary during the service.
Although we will have hand sanitizer, please feel free to bring your own. (A touchless dispenser has been ordered, but has not arrived yet.)
If you can safely wear a mask, please do so. For those who cannot, please ensure you maintain a distance of at least six (6) feet from others. We will coordinate dismissal, as necessary, to ensure social distancing requirements.