Operating StatusReopening Cedar Ridge in light of COVID-19
It’s clear that our community is growing in confidence and comfort with gathering in person, and you can review the results of our recent survey here. This is not true for everyone, of course, and as we move ahead, we’ll continue to provide opportunities to join our gatherings virtually, as maintaining an inclusive atmosphere is one of our highest priorities.
The developing data about the pandemic are encouraging, with falling infection rates and increasing uptake of vaccines. It seems clear that, when fully vaccinated, individuals are highly unlikely to become infected or to infect anyone else. Equally encouraging is the fact that the available vaccines seem to offer protection from the variants that have been found in our area. This coronavirus has obviously not yet run its course, however, so new variants are inevitable, and we will continue to be careful and vigilant about this. From our survey results, you will see that a large majority of our community is in favor of gathering in large and small numbers outdoors. There is also widespread comfort with meeting in smaller numbers indoors, and more expressed comfort with larger indoor gatherings than in our previous survey. There is also some understandable anxiety for parents about children gathering (especially indoors) because they are unvaccinated.
With all this in mind, and in light of the relaxation of many restrictions in local counties, we will continue to carefully open up gradually, one step at a time. The process will inevitably feel too slow for some and too fast for others, so let’s all be patient and understanding. Here’s how we plan to proceed:
We will hold in-person services on the first Sunday of every month through the summer. These will be held outdoors in May and June, and indoors in July and August. With no vaccine yet for children under 12, children’s programs will continue to be held outdoors. Per current Montgomery County guidelines, we will no longer limit the numbers for these services, but we’re still asking everyone to sign up in advance each time to help with planning. For outdoor services, we’ll remain socially distanced, but only require masks to be worn when moving around or singing. When indoors, we will all be masked for everyone’s safety and comfort. Children will wear masks when they go to their own outdoor program. Outdoor services will obviously be weather dependent. We are working to stage them in shady areas, but are asking everyone to bring their own umbrellas, parasols or canopies for shade. Please also bring water and your own communion supplies.
We will continue with our virtual worship services via zoom every Sunday at 10am through the summer. This will include First Sundays when some of us will be gathered in person. Our goal is to make this “hybrid” experience as high quality as possible for those who join via zoom.
We plan to return to weekly in-person indoor Sunday services (also live-streamed) beginning Sunday September 5. This will include indoor programs for all ages. We’ll communicate more about this in due course.
Thank you for your patience and faithfulness through this process, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns.