Revised June 2020

Guidelines for Small Group Gatherings & Service Projects regarding COVID-19

On June 1, as Montana enters phase 2 of the Governor’s Directives, Immanuel may resume gathering in small groups at the church provided they follow the guidelines below. We are taking slower approach than the Phase 2 recommendations due to the high number of vulnerable people in our church and data that documents the spread of the virus within churches. 

  1. Before gathering at the church either outdoors or inside, all groups must first contact the church office to schedule a time, day and meeting room. Both Pastor Molly and Lynn need to be informed of your intention to meet together so that we can review procedures and manage the number of people on-site. 
  2. People who feel sick, please stay home.
  3. Masks are required for everyone age 2 years and older (all adults). If someone does not have their own mask, the activity leader is responsible for providing one. Anyone who refuses to wear a face mask may not participate.
  4. Children over the age of two and all adults must maintain social distancing from people who do not live in their household by remaining six feet apart in all areas, rooms, sanctuary, and outdoors. 
  5. Children over the age of two and all adults must wear a face mask over their nose and mouth.
  6. We recommend a small group size of 10 or fewer people.
  7. No more than 25 people may be in the building for small group activities at one time.
  8. Small group gatherings outdoors at people’s homes are acceptable as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.
  9. Small group gatherings may meet outside on the church property as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. 
  10. If you have vulnerable individuals in your household, do not attend events unless social distancing is maintained. 
  11. Everyone must thoroughly sanitize their hands when entering and before leaving the building.
  12. Events should last no longer than 45 minutes since the risk of transmission increases with the length of time people are together.
  13. Avoid situations in which social distancing cannot be maintained.  Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people in the Hemgren room, narthex, lobbies, hallways, entrances, exits, sanctuary aisles, and walkways when circumstances do not readily allow for six feet of social distancing between individuals. 
  14. To control the number of people attending and to stay within social distancing guidelines, event leaders should have people sign up in advance or call to invite people personally.  Leaders should inform participants in advance of the guidelines for attending including reminders to wear masks, sanitize hands, and maintain social distancing.
  15. The leader should retain a list of attendees.  Attendees should tell the event leader if they have symptoms after the event.
  16. Supplies should not be shared (Bibles, books, pencils, etc.)
  17. Follow this flow for people attending events of more than 10 people
    • Entrance –  Sanctuary Doors – Parking Lot
    • Exit – South Ave Doors Front Entry
  18. Use larger rooms for events, and keep the windows and doors open while people are gathered in the room.
  19. Avoid using the elevator as much as possible. Ride in elevator with your own household members since it is a small, enclosed space.
  20. Before an event begins, leaders should refer to the Covid-19 CDC Prevention Posters posted in the gathering space.
  21. Before the event starts, leaders must sanitize door handles, light switches, stair rails, and other high touch surfaces with Clorox wipes or other disinfectant.
  22. Avoid using the bathrooms as much as possible. It is assumed that regular bathroom cleaning will be sufficient in addition to the wiping down of high touch surfaces before and after the gathering.
  23. After the event, leaders must sanitize door handles, light switches, stair rails, and other high-touch surfaces with Clorox wipes or other disinfectant.
  24. Avoid serving food and beverages. 
  25. Procedures may change or events may be cancelled if there is an increase in community spread of the coronavirus or if directives/guidelines/restrictions are changed by the Missoula County Health Department or Governor’s office. 

Individual responsibility – such as good hygiene, frequent cleaning of highly-touched surfaces, and strict adherence to social distancing – remains Montana’s best tool in the fight against new infections.