What does the Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place Order mean for my Church?
Last updated May 5, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.
The Shelter-in-Place Order went into effect on Friday, April 3 and will last through April 30, 2020. Here is the latest information in The Christian Index. However, there is a new Executive Order that will go into effect on May 1, 2020. It contains changes related to the Phase 1 Reentry Order and new guidance going forward until May 13. There are no changes regarding churches.
Here is a link to the Shelter-in-Place Order as it applies to churches. Note the 20 requirements that must be met in order to gather in person (while maintaining no more than 10 people, six feet part). Here is the full order for you to review if wanted: Full Handout on Georgia Shelter-in-Place Order.
REPLAY: Webinar with the Governor
We are encouraged by the Governor including Joshua 1:9 in his closing statement on Wednesday, April 1: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Here some of the questions we are receiving from church leaders about the shelter-in-place order:
Will we be able to come on site to produce online services?
Yes, you will be able to go to the church and record or produce your online worship services, Bible studies, etc. You will be required to maintain the minimum recommendations of social distancing. This order allows people to go to the church. If there are more than 10 people, practice social distancing rules of six feet apart.
As always if you are sick, do not go. Continue to wash your hands. Practice good hygiene.
Will we be able to do drive-in church? What about services in person like usual?
Yes, you will be able to have drive-in church, provided that you maintain the social distancing requirements. You will need to consider the safest method of providing church services. If you do have a drive-in service, be sure that people will park far enough apart and maintain social distancing. Some churches are continuing to collect tithes as well by having a single bucket to drop the offering by without passing it through the congregation. Don’t encourage people to leave tithes in the mailbox so that it won’t be stolen.
Recommended rules for drive-in church are: 1) Restrooms are not available. 2) You cannot leave your car.
We have heard some churches create the following additional guidelines:
- Park six feet away from each vehicle.
- Leave windows up.
- Do not leave your car, even if you want to help.
- Call the person in the car next to you; don’t roll down your window or get out.
- Allow visitors to have prime parking spots.
- Worship with joy!
You can continue to have church services as well, but you must remember to maintain the social distancing recommendations of six feet apart. This applies to funeral services as well. If there is any doubt that you or your congregation can follow the rules of social distancing, it is recommended that you do not hold services in person.
If you do meet in person, remember that people will still need access to the restrooms and other areas of the church. Ensure you have proper precautions in place to clean the doorknobs or other high traffic areas as people touch them.
Will we be able to continue social ministries at the church and from the church?
Yes, social ministries may continue in the church. Providing food, shelter social services, and other necessities of life will be allowed. This would also include the delivery of groceries, goods, or services directly to residence homes. Again there must be the maintaining of the proper social distancing requirements.
Please see the 20 requirements to ensure you’re following the proper recommendations.
Will we be able to assemble in groups of 10 or under for any purpose in the church?
Yes, there can be meetings, but remember proper social distancing and hygiene practices. You can meet with people in groups of 10 or more as well, but you must be six feet apart.
Will pastors who live outside of the state be able to cross back into Georgia to get to their offices?
Yes, you will be able to enter from outside the state to be able to go to your church. The county lines, streets, borders, etc. are not closing.
Will pastors and staff be able to come to their church office to meet with their staff if they maintain social distancing?
You will be able to continue having meetings with your staff at your church. Maintain the proper social distancing requirements and practice good hygiene.
Ministry assistants are OK to go into work. You can have people put on gloves or use a drop box for checks/documents if needed. You can rotate people in the office as well.
Contacts: Mike Griffin, email@example.com. Brad Hughes, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more coronavirus resources, please join the Facebook group. You can also find more information at gabaptist.org/covid19.