News on Mask Restrictions
It has been such a gift to find ourselves back together in person over these past 8 weeks. We are now announcing some additional changes to our safety practices. See below for a summary:
If I’m vaccinated do I still need a mask?
No. On behalf of our Session, the Outbreak Task force has decided it is time to ease mask restrictions.
The task force has been meeting regularly throughout the pandemic and we have factored in all we have learned over these past 18 or so months. We are aware that the coronavirus continues to pose a significant threat to the well-being of our community—both locally and even more so nationally and internationally. And currently the Delta variant presents a particular challenge.
At the same time, following current CDC and Washington State guidance, and having confidence in the high vaccination rates of our worshipping community in particular and in the effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing both serious infection and transmission of even the most communicable variants, we believe this is a reasonable move for the St. Andrew community.
So what exactly does this mean?
Simply put, if you are fully vaccinated—that’s two weeks after your last shot—you are free to not wear a mask while you are indoors and outdoors on the church property, including during worship and other activities. You may also have physical contact with others—handshaking or hugging—if they have told you they’re ok with that.
What if I'm not ready to take off my mask?
Some of us will continue to wear masks and want to distance, even if we are fully vaccinated. And we want you to feel absolutely free to do so according to your best judgment. Indeed, we are hoping to create a culture of openness in which masks are always welcome and you are free from being self-conscious should you choose to wear them. Among the lessons we have been learning is that masks can be a great option for reducing transmission of those airborne cold and flu bugs that are common during some seasons of the year. Some among us will be masking up in solidarity with our younger members and with adults who have so far been unable to get vaccinated.
Will Sunday worship still be online?
Yes! From here on we will always provide a livestream option for worship that will also be recorded and linked for viewing. You can find the most current link on the homepage, and past links on our Worship in Absentia page.
What if I’m not feeling well?
We ask that you do not come if you are sick or if you have reason to think you have been exposed to the coronavirus. If you have a temperature or have experienced any COVID-19 symptoms in the last 72 hours, please stay home and join us online.
What if I'm not fully vaccinated?
If you are not fully vaccinated, we are counting on you to continue to wear a mask for your own protection and for the protection of others who are more vulnerable. We will have masks available for people that need them. We will also continue to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and provide hand sanitizer for those moments when you can’t easily wash hands with soap and water. And we will continue to adapt our practices to strike a reasonable balance to ensure good health and vibrant worship.
As always, please feel every permission to limit your activities to those you personally feel are safe. And continue to seek awareness and attend to the comfort level of those around you. Consider it both a safety and spiritual practice.
Finally, we will continue to ask that when you come for worship you sign in and provide a contact phone number. In the event that we have reports of an infection, this will enable us to reach out and let you know.