The City of Findlay is asking faith leaders to make sure their churches are following recommended COVID-19 safety protocols.
Throughout the pandemic, religious gatherings have been exempt from health orders (except the mask mandate), and Mayor Christina Muryn says she’s been working closely with faith leaders to ensure they did what they could as a community to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The mayor says a number of cases that have been part of this recent surge have been traced back to a couple of churches.
She’s asking churches to follow the safety protocols listed below, and if they can’t, she’s asking them to suspend in-person services.
“It hurts my heart to make such a request, but we each have a responsibility to protect our community and congregants. We have already seen a concerning number of cases being tied to a few of our churches. Unfortunately, it appears they have not been using the recommended protocols, and though they may seem small at first, our individual networks are much larger than each of us understands,” the mayor said.
One change in the safety protocols is that churches are now being asked to require face coverings for all attendees in accordance with the state mask order.
Previously, it was requested, not required.
SAFETY PROTOCOLS FOR FAITH ORGANIZATIONS
1) Strongly encourage the at-risk population to watch or participate in the service remotely.
a. At-risk population are those who are 65 or older and/or those with chronic
lung disease; moderate to severe asthma; chronic heart disease; severe
obesity; diabetes; chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis; liver
disease; or weakened immune system. (Link to at-risk populations)
2) Limit attendance to 50% of fire code capacity
3) Equip ushers and greeters with gloves and masks.
a. Discourage hand shaking, etc. (Have ushers open doors to limit the
numbers of people touching handles.)
4) Avoid having childcare or Sunday School
5) Have hand sanitizer at doors for communal use
6) Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces before and after service
7) No communal food. (Coffee, donuts, etc.)
8) Require face coverings for all attendees in accordance with the State Mask Mandate
9) Request all attendees check temperatures and not attend if showing any
symptoms of illness (Fever, shortness of breath, cough, or fatigue) Post signage
10)Encourage social distancing (6ft + of separation.)
11)Encourage families to stay together. (i.e try to limit kids gathering with other
12)Cover drinking fountains
13)Post signage about good hygiene in bathrooms.
14)Make sure bathrooms are properly stocked with soap and paper towels for