March 30, 2021 8:56 AM
MSDH Guidelines for Safer Faith-Based Gatherings and Worship Services
Mississippi State Department of Health released its guidelines for "Safer Faith-Based Gatherings and Worship Services"
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the vulnerable, the safest options continue to be virtual or outdoor services.
For those meeting indoors, please follow these guidelines.
1) Everyone 65 years of age or older should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to attending in-person worship services (full vaccination is considered 2 weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine).
2) Anyone 16 or older with high-risk medical conditions should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to attending in-person worship services (2 weeks after completing vaccination). For a list of high-risk medical conditions, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html
3) MSDH recommends that everyone 16 and older be vaccinated against COVID-19, even if the person had COVID-19 in the past.
4) Indoor safety guidance:
a. All congregants should wear a face mask at all times during in-person services.
b. All congregants should maintain 6 feet of separation from persons outside of their household. Household members may sit together.
c. Congregants should not gather in close groups while entering or exiting the building. d. Congregants should use hand sanitizer prior to or upon entry of the building.
e. Singing is a high-risk activity. It is preferable to not have choirs – but if choirs are performing, they should be small in number, wear masks, and be separated by 6 feet.
f. Those in classroom settings should maintain 6 feet of separation and wear a mask at all times.
g. As appropriate, alternatives to shared cups for communion should be pursued.
h. The use of hymn books or prayer books is acceptable so long as congregants practice proper hand hygiene upon entering.
5) Additional procedures to protect congregants are encouraged based on local congregation leadership decisions.