This week has been an exciting week full of welcome, if surprisingly swift, news for our state and community. Research data has led health officials to several important conclusions about where we stand with respect to coronavirus spread and COVID-19 in NC. Here are some important updates:
- Fully vaccinated persons are remarkably well-protected from developing severe disease.
- Fully vaccinated persons are also at minimal risk of transmitting the virus to others.
- The primary vector of transmission and infection that remains is between unvaccinated persons (i.e. from an unvaccinated person to an unvaccinated person).
- Vaccination for North Carolinians over age 16 has been available since April 7. The threshold was lowered to age 12 on May 12 upon the recommendation of the CDC.
- Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 215 lifting mandatory capacity and gathering limits, social distancing requirements and mandatory mask requirements for most indoor and outdoor settings (excluding public transportation, child care, schools, prisons and certain public health settings) went into effect Friday, May 14.
The Yates Resumption Roundtable met May 18 to review the current guidance and make recommendations about the church’s next steps. Here are the highlights:
- Church worship can safely resume in the sanctuary with no attendance restrictions beginning this Sunday, May 23, at 10:30 am. Live streaming of the services will continue for the foreseeable future. In addition, masks and face coverings are no longer required for attendees. If you prefer to wear a mask, regardless of your vaccination status, please feel free to do so. For the time being, some spaces in the sanctuary will be reserved for those who still prefer distancing (households with children that cannot yet be vaccinated, for instance).
- Discipleship and Sunday School Groups can resume meeting on campus and in the building as they decide to do so.
- Special ministries, including music ministries, can resume rehearsals and worship leadership safely.
- The limitations on weekday access to the church campus can be removed.
- Community ministries and other users of the facility are being contacted about resuming their activities as well.
- These reduced restrictions come because of the growing prevalence of vaccinations in our community. If you are not yet fully vaccinated and want to be present, please know the best ways to protect yourself from infection and disease.
Remember, not everyone can resume unrestricted lifestyles at the same pace, so please note that our children’s and youth ministry activities will continue the safer practices of masking and distancing until further guidance comes from health research. These protocols include participants, volunteers and leaders in those ministries.
Additionally, as a gesture of love and solidarity to our children and youth, we encourage you for now to don a mask as you interact with them in our times together. This is good counsel for all our relationships in this tender time. Remain sensitive to the unique values and needs our diverse congregation brings to our resumption, and adapt to those needs so we can be that growing community alive with Christ, energized to share God’s transforming love.
In summary, there is much to celebrate. We stand on solid ground as we seek to re-engage the many life-giving areas of Yates’ ministries more openly and robustly than we have enjoyed for a long time.
Much of this confidence has come at the intersection of God’s amazing grace and dedicated, brilliant research. We have access to powerful protective tools to face the threat posed by SARS-CoV-2. We honor everyone’s freedom to make personal healthcare choices without manipulation, and we also believe that vaccination is the wisest safety precaution for all those for whom it is medically appropriate. If you want to know if it is appropriate for you, consult with your personal healthcare provider. If you have general questions about the efficacy and safety testing that has developed the vaccines currently available, many in our group would be happy to answer your questions as best we can.
May God bless you this week. We look forward to seeing you soon!
With high hopes,
Your Resumption Roundtable