County health department provides re-opening suggestions to churches

The Huntington County Health Department has provided suggestions to area churches, following the opening of churches by Gov. Eric Holcomb starting Friday, May 8.

Churches will not be subject to the 25-person social gathering limitation.

Huntington County Health Officer Dr. Thomas Ringenberg offers the following protective measures:

All individuals
Stay home if someone has symptoms of illness, cough, difficulty breathing, fever or have had exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

At-risk individuals
Stay home until May 24, continuing with online worship options.

• Wear gloves and facial coverings.

• No handshakes or hugs.

• Hand bulletins out individually.

• Mandatory hand sanitizer or hand washing upon entering the church building.

• Every other pew should remain empty.

• Family units sit 6 feet apart.

• No passing of offering plate; utilize offering boxes at sanctuary exits.

• Eliminate close socialization, and food and beverage services.

• No passing of microphones for sharing; utilize hand-free stands instead.

• Dismiss in an orderly fashion; the congregation to ensure social distancing while exiting.

“Individualize” communion sacraments; no close lines, with 6-foot rule between families.

Sunday school
On hold, due to generally smaller rooms with enclosed, closer proximity.

Preschool and children’s ministries
Suspend temporarily; focus on family-style services.

Suspend temporarily.

Place signs at entrances and within restrooms for spacing and hand washing requirements.

Clean sanctuary after each service.

Tech teams
Clean equipment.