Covid-19 Protocols Fall 2022
LCC Reopening Committee
To make participation in Worship safe for our community at all levels of personal risk, and other church activities comfortable for people across a wide risk-tolerance spectrum.
Personal Risk and Risk Tolerance
At this phase of the pandemic, where availability of vaccines has reduced the overall risk of severe outcomes including death, public health officials increasingly advise adopting prevention and mitigation strategies on the basis of individual risk. People who are older, obese, have chronic conditions, and/or are immune-compromised are advised to continue to wear masks indoors, avoid crowds, socially distance, and remain up-to-date on Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters. In public places, ventilation is viewed as the primary strategy to reduce infection. As an inclusive community, LCC strives to make participation in Sunday Worship safe for higher risk people by providing adequate distanced seating where masks are required, good ventilation, and a Zoom option. For other activities, LCC is committed to publicizing in advance what options will be in place so individuals can choose to participate or not consistent with their perceived level of risk.
Communicating Protocols and Expectations
LCC announces the current week’s mask policy for Sunday Worship in Grace Notes and on our website. For activities in Marion Hall or other locations, including auction events and small groups meeting in homes, we ask organizers to publicize and communicate in advance whether masks will be optional or required, if distanced seating will be available, if the event will be indoors or outside, and if a Zoom option is available. This transparence enables individuals to assess where and when they will be comfortable participating.
How do we establish our Mask Policy?
We monitor weekly Contra Costa County Covid-19 metrics from the CDC, the CA Department of Public Health, and the Contra Costa County Health Services websites. Our Sunday Worship Protocol makes masks optional when key metrics are stable or declining and the CDC “Covid-19 Community Level” is classified as Low. When rates rise rapidly (as they have with each wave) the CDC’s “Community Transmission Level” helps us decide when to require masks, increase the proportion of socially distanced/ masks-required seating, and/or recommend participation via Zoom.
Indoors vs. Outdoors
Outdoor events are safer than those held indoors. To make participation inclusive across the risk spectrum, we provide seating areas that allows distance between people who prefer this option indoors or outside.
Indoor Events where Food is Served
Indoor-only events where masks are removed to eat or drink are an acceptable level of risk for some, but not others. Sharing meals is an important part of our community, so LCC encourages serving food outdoors when feasible to include people across the risk spectrum. For indoor-only events, we recognize people have different levels of risk and support people participating in events to the extent they are comfortable. (Folks are encouraged to attend whether or not they remove a mask to eat or drink.)
Why Do We Continue to Recommend Precautions?
While vaccinations reduce risk for many, we must include people with higher risk profiles in our community. Scientists advise caution given the consequences of long-Covid and increased risks of an array of serious conditions for a year following an infection. Repeat infections further increase these risks. New variants will continue to appear with unpredictable consequences.
Sheryl Ruzek, PhD, MPH
Adopted by the Reopening Committee 11/2/22