Our COVID-19 Policy

Updated November 30, 2021

Next Reopening Phase

In-person services have resumed.

  • For any service you plan to attend, you must fill out an online contact form (Church of the River Links) or a paper form when you arrive, so that we can contact you if someone attending the service is later diagnosed with COVID. We strongly encourage you to fill out the form in advance to avoid a bottleneck at the sanctuary doors.
  • Sanctuary capacity will be limited. Every other row of pews will be blocked off. Please seat yourself 6-feet away from people from other households. If the sanctuary reaches the limited capacity and you are unable to maintain social distance, overflow seating will be available in the Mississippi River Room, where you can watch the service on TV with others.
  • Some areas of the buildings may remain closed for now, including the kitchen and office wing. Requests to use space in the building for small group meetings or other events must be coordinated directly with the Office Administrator and Minister.
  • To protect the most vulnerable among us, members and visitors who are eligible for COVID vaccination but have not received the vaccine should remain home and participate remotely.
  • To protect the most vulnerable among us, all congregation members and visitors over the age of 3 must wear masks at all times while on the premises, whether indoors or outdoors. If you forget your mask, we’ll have extras available.
  • The service will include live instrumental music but, as an added precaution, there will be no singing inside the building, since singing is markedly riskier at spreading COVID via aerosol than talking and other activities.
  • There will be no Religious Education programming or classes, and nursery care will not be available. Parents must be responsible for their children and teens.
  • There will be no social gatherings either before or after services, and no eating or drinking is allowed inside the building.
  • The Order of Service will be made electronically accessible via smartphones and pads, with only a limited number of printed copies available.
  • Offering bags will not be passed; please continue to donate online via our website or via text.
  • The minister will stand in the breezeway after the service to speak with congregants, but may not be able to hug or shake hands.
  • Services will be livestreamed online, and also posted for viewing later, for those who are not vaccinated, not comfortable attending in person or who are physically unable to attend. Services will also still be livestreamed and recorded on Sundays even in situations where the congregation cannot be physically present due to COVID resurgence or other unforeseen circumstances.

The COR COVID Task Force has moved deliberately and cautiously in making these recommendations, and will continue to meet weekly to assess the situation, and make decisions centered on the needs of the most vulnerable. This may require periodic adjustments of plans, sometimes moving back to outdoors or “online only” services as the situation changes. We strongly encourage all eligible congregation members who are not yet vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, get a booster shot if eligible, and to continue to follow our previously stated guidelines, recommendations, and restrictions:

Guidelines for Small Group Meetings

Whether indoors or outdoors, church-related gatherings on the property should include COVID prevention measures, including but not limited to:

  • Masks are required.
  • Participants from different households are encouraged to socially distance as much as reasonably and respectfully possible within the space.
  • No sharing of food, utensils, etc. (Consider bring-your-own food/brown bag meals, or the host may provide individually-packaged food and beverages.)
  • Remain home if you are feeling ill, have any symptoms of COVID-19, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous two weeks, or exposed to anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous two weeks.
  • Get tested if you experience COVID-19 symptoms after the gathering.
  • Maintain a list of attendees and notify all attendees if someone is later diagnosed with COVID-19. If the meeting was on church property or is an officially sanctioned church activity, you must also notify the Minister or Office Administrator as noted in the "Guidelines for Church Use" below.

The Minister may also use his discretion to make pastoral home visits to church members assuming all involved have been fully vaccinated.

If your group wishes to meet at church, you must check with the Administrator at least two weeks in advance so the event can be put on calendar, to avoid scheduling conflicts and ensure staff is onsite to unlock building, etc.

Guidelines for Church Use During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Administrator will maintain an online visitor’s log with the name and contact information of anyone other than staff who enters the building. Staff members will enter non-staff visits to church on the visitor’s log.

Any visits to the church should be coordinated with staff to ensure that only a limited number of people are on the property and/or in the building at one time. Contact the Office Administrator to schedule a visit to the church.

Please note that the gates to our parking lot are locked at all times except when staff is on the premises. Members who would like to visit the Memorial Garden or grounds when staff is not on site should contact the Administrator for information/directions on unlocking the gates.

Any person who tests positive for COVID-19 within two weeks of being on church property must notify the Minister or the Office Administrator, who will report to the Board President that a person has tested positive but not reveal that person’s name. Privacy laws will be observed, but the church will notify anyone who may have been in contact at the church with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

For drive-through events at church, only COR staff may be outside of the vehicles. Anyone else participating in a drive-through event must remain in their vehicle with mask on. Staff will wear masks and gloves for these events.

Member Access

Member weddings, memorial services, Memorial Garden consecrations, and other observances and events must be coordinated with the Administrator, and food may not be served.

Members and friends are welcome to visit the Memorial Garden but must coordinate with staff to ensure no other groups will be using the Memorial Garden at that time.

Non-Member Access

We are currently not accepting reservations for non-member rentals. This includes weddings, memorial services, or other events inside the building or on the grounds. The Minister will have discretion to conduct small ceremonies for non-members, but food may not be served.

For any on-site events, a COVID-19 Compliance Officer will be on site to ensure guidelines are followed.

Prevention Recommendations:

  • Get vaccinated and get a booster shot if you are eligible.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid close contact with other people, especially those who are ill or are in a vulnerable population (over 60, immunocompromised, or other underlying health conditions).
  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes and throw away tissue immediately.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces frequently.

Donations:

Online and text giving will continue to be available during online worship services. If you would like to set up a recurring donation or make an annual pledge or one-time gift, please Donate Online.