Re-Entry Plan

Thankfully, we are able to gather again in our sanctuary to worship God and encourage each other in our faith.  To create as safe an environment as possible for all of us, starting September 13th, 2020, we are putting procedures into effect in line with the provincial and regional public health Guidelines for places of worship.  Below are details about the procedures and conditions to expect, between your arrival at WFMC and departure.

WHAT TO EXPECT

What if I’m not yet comfortable in returning to WFMC’s services?

The live services in the sanctuary (with pre-recorded worship for the time being) will continue to be streamed live and remain available on the WFMC YouTube channel (Watch Online).  We know worship is not dependent on being in our church building.  But we look forward to your presence there as soon as you’re comfortable with that.

Who should consider carefully whether to attend a live on-site service or instead continue with the online service option?

  • Anyone with a compromised immune system.
  • Anyone with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms: cough, fever, chest pain, difficulty breathing within the past 72 hours, change in sense of taste and smell.
  • Anyone who has been exposed to someone that has COVID-19 or is being tested for COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
  • Anyone who feels vulnerable or doesn’t feel comfortable to worship on-site yet.
  • Anyone who is sensitive to cleaning products.
  • Children under age 2 who are exempt from wearing a mask per official guidelines.

NOTE: Each attendee at a live service, by their presence, accepts responsibility for his/her health and safety, and understands that certain pre-existing health conditions and age may contribute to more serious effects if testing positive for Covid-19, and that all due respect for the health and safety of others is to be shown.

Have the key safety procedures for re-opening been trialed?

During August there was a training session for the Re-opening Crew of volunteers and a trial service to test our procedures.  Seven volunteers wearing ID lanyards will be on duty each Sunday.  We’re ready to welcome and assist you.  Our key measures:

  • Physical distancing (2 metres) from other parties: Required when on WFMC’s premises, indoors and outdoors, except when unavoidably moving by someone.
  • Mask (non-medical): Required by everyone (age 2+) while on the church premises. Please bring your own mask.  There will be a limited supply at the door.
  • Self-screening (Covid 19), during pre-registration: Satisfactory answers to four questions will determine whether the person may register and attend the service.
  • Sanitizing: Washrooms will be self-sanitized by the users, with the materials provided.  All hard surfaces in the foyer and sanctuary will be properly sanitized and wiped down if the areas were used within 72 hours preceding a Sunday service, and will be periodically wiped down on Sunday mornings after persons start to enter.

Are there exemptions to the wearing of masks?

Official exemptions are identified on the Durham Region Website HERE. Any exempt person coming to a service is to inform the Greeter upon arriving.

 

The preacher in the service is exempt from wearing a mask when preaching. (A singer with the worship team, when allowable, also may sing without a mask.)

Do I need to let you know that I’m coming to an on-site service?

Yes! The provincial guidelines for churches regarding occupancy limits and physical distancing mean that we’ll have seating for about 50 persons. To attend a given service, please register online in advance weekly through a link to be provided. Each attendee (age 2+) must register separately.

 

The three purposes of pre-registration are: to provide a sense of how many plan to attend, to generate a list of attendees in case health authorities need to contact trace, and to allow the person to self-screen before arrival/entering the building.

 

Weekly pre-registration/self-screening will be open only on the Saturday preceding the service which you wish to attend, all day until 8:00pm. But it may be closed before 8pm if registration reaches the level of available seating.

  • If on a rare occasion you miss submitting the form before access is closed, email Grant at grant.sigsworth@gmail.com or office@whitbyfmc.ca to learn if seating remains available and if you may be manually processed and cleared for entry at the church door.
  • If you have registered but then can’t attend, inform Grant — up to 9am Sunday.

When should I arrive for the 10am service?

Entry is not allowed until the Re-opening volunteers are in place at 9:30am. Pre-registrants are encouraged to arrive by 9:45am.

 

Non-registered persons should arrive at 9:45am to be manually processed, if they have already confirmed that seats are likely available.

 

The ushers will do what is possible, but pre-registration guarantees neither a seat nor the seating of all members of a party in the same pew, especially if a party arrives shortly before 10am. Once seated, a person cannot change his/her seat.

What should I know about entering the building to attend a service?

Entry and exit will be through only the west-side front doors. These doors will be open for pre-registrants 30 minutes prior to the service.

 

The east-side doors will remain closed. We encourage parking in the west lot.

 

Before you enter we will check for your name on the pre-registration list and enquire if you still feel well. If not so well, please stay at home and watch the service online.

 

Markings on the sidewalk will show the physical distance required if people need to queue before entering the building. If the weather is inclement, remain in your vehicle until any outdoor queue is under roof. Maybe have an umbrella handy.

 

At the door you will find hand sanitizer, also masks if you did not bring your own. Hand sanitizer also will be available inside the church.

 

The foyer will be used only as a hallway to the sanctuary and directly back to the parking lot after service. Stopping in the aisles or foyer to socialize is not allowed.

 

The centre doors of the sanctuary will not be in use.

What will be the seating arrangement in the sanctuary?

To ensure physical distancing, only certain pews will be open; and ushers may seat two parties in the same centre pew only when they can sit 2 metres apart.

 

At the sanctuary door, an usher will choose the next available seat(s) for the size of your party and lead you there. Kindly sit where you are ushered.

 

Pews closer to the front will be used first. Once seated, you may not change seats.

What if I and another congregant are in the same Social Circle?

If 2+ persons not in the same household are in an exclusive Social Circle in which each person agrees to not physically distance while at WFMC, each of you may register your Social Circle by calling the church office (905-725-1280).  (Definition: in an exclusive social circle, each person knows the identity of all other persons in the circle, up to 10, and belongs to only one circle.)

Will the Sunday services be different in any way?

The worship experience will continue to be about one hour long and incorporate different elements — initially, a blend of pre-recorded and live.

 

Per a Durham Public Health guideline, we will not have congregational singing. Congregants may hum and clap along to the worship music provided.

 

Prayer will remain an essential and valued element of our service. However, in order to minimize movements in the sanctuary, persons will not be invited to pray at the altar during the service.  If you wish to pray at the end of the service, please remain seated in the pew.  A member of staff or prayer team may enquire if you wish to have them pray with you, while physically distanced.

 

All physical contact such as handshakes, fist pumps, hugs, etc. are not allowed under the current physical distancing rules.

 

The food bank cart remains accessible in the foyer for donations. Other furnishings in the foyer such as the Welcome Desk have been moved aside.

 

Informational materials are not to be handed out inside the building. Please refer to the Newsletter, Connections Facebook and the church website for announcements.

 

Food and beverage will not be served inside the building.

 

The offering plates will not be passed. Pew racks have been emptied.

 

Coat racks are closed. Kindly take any outer clothing, umbrellas, etc to your seat.

 

Access is closed to Founders Hall (the Arise congregation is using this space for services), the nursery, the kitchen and rooms in the lower level.

Will any ministries be provided for our children?

Due to the current health and safety restrictions, we cannot provide “in person” children’s ministries during the service. Children who attend must stay with their parents in the pew for the duration of the service.

 

A children’s moment will be offered during the service.

 

Colouring packets with materials and activities will be available for any child(ren) who attend with their families. Each packet will be sanitized before/after the service.

How can I continue to give to support WFMC’s ministries?

First, we are so grateful for your faithfulness in giving to the ministries of Whitby FMC.

 

  • Sunday attendees: please use the offering receptacles in the foyer after the service.
  • Non-attendees: please make use of Tithely, if preferred.  OR contact Cheryl in the church office to arrange to drop off an offering during her regular business hours.
  • Offering pick-up at your residence: please call the church office to arrange this.

Will washrooms be open?

The washrooms off the lobby will be available for necessary use, and preferably only before or after the service.

 

A maximum of one adult (with his/her child, if accompanying) will be allowed in a washroom at any given time. The user will change the “Vacant / In Use” sign on the door when entering/exiting.

 

Persons waiting for the washroom are to physically distance in a queue in the foyer.

 

Each user is responsible to self-sanitize the washroom, per the posted signage. Use and leave behind the materials which the church has provided.  An attendant of the Re-opening Crew will be stationed in the foyer.

How will I exit the sanctuary and building?

At the end of the service, the Pastor will provide initial guidance for exiting. An usher then will dismiss you by row, starting at the back, via the aisle closest to your seat. Only one aisle at a time, in order to avoid having persons cross paths in the foyer.

 

You will continue directly through the front doors of the building and to the parking lot. Stopping to socialize in the aisle, foyer or the porch regrettably is not allowed.

Your cooperation and understanding of these current protocols are greatly appreciated.  Please understand that the protocols are subject to change at any time if the guidelines of our Provincial and Municipal public health offices change. If so, we will update this document.

 

If you have any questions related to COVID-19 safety at WFMC, please connect with our leaders at office@whitbyfmc.ca.

Want to find out more?