Indoor Gathering Guidelines

Indoor Gathering Guidelines at Westover Hills UMC

Updated July 2021

Event:  All indoor and outdoor worship and non-worship gatherings

  1. HYGIENE Minimum Standards: Encourage and provide for frequent hand hygiene (hand washing, sanitizer and helpful signage); continue to sanitize high touch areas, especially with consecutive worship services/activities in the same space.

We will provide for this by:  

Attendees to all events are encouraged to bring their own sanitizer, and especially to use sanitizer before eating.   There will also be sanitizer in the gathering area, hallways and social hall, and sanitizing cleaner in each bathroom for anyone who wishes to use it (we have individual restrooms, not stalls or banks of restrooms).  

When food is part of an event, it will be provided in one of the following ways:

  • Food brought from home by individual or family
  • Pre-packaged food and beverages, such as boxed lunches and canned drinks.
  • Buffet food served by a single server per item (only one person will touch a serving utensil). Servers will wear food service gloves and masks.
  • No drink dispensers will be used unless beverage will be dispensed by a single server.  
  1. PHYSICAL DISTANCING Minimum Standards: Proper physical distancing for indoors and outdoors, especially in public and congregant settings.


We will provide for this by:   

Distancing of at least 3 feet between individuals or family groups will be encouraged at all gatherings. 

Outdoor gatherings are encouraged whenever possible.

For larger events (those that might approach 75% of capacity or more), reservations will be encouraged.

Signage will be posted throughout the facility reminding participants to maintain distance, especially where lines might form, such as restrooms or food service line.

Extra trash receptacles will be in place to minimize traffic and number of people in one space.  For outdoor events, trash receptacles will be moved outdoors.

  1. MASKS Suggested Recommendations/Considerations: Masks are no longer required for fully vaccinated persons indoors or outdoors. Masks are still advised when physical distancing cannot be maintained or in congregant settings where persons from multiple households are gathered.


We will provide for this by: 

Masks will continue to be required for all persons regardless of vaccination status.   We announce this on our website, weekly emails, and event-specific communications.

All persons, especially those who are unvaccinated, will be encouraged to eat outdoors.  If unvaccinated persons will be eating indoors, unvaccinated persons are asked to sit with their family unit and to wear masks while not eating.

Childcare workers will be required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status. 

Vaccinated musicians or choir members may sing in worship or other spaces, with a distance of 3 feet between musicians and 15 feet (minimum) between musician and congregation/audience.

  1. SCREENING Minimum Standards: Stay home when sick; self-check in at door with health acknowledgement poster.


We will provide for this by:

Revised health posters will be in use at all entrances.  Greeters will make sure that participants take note of the information on the poster as they enter the facility. 

Current guidelines will be clearly communicated through our website, weekly emails and other communications, and will continue to advise people to attend only if they are comfortable doing so.  Worship will continue to be offered online.  Meetings are offered in a hybrid format when possible. 

  1. LIMIT EXPOSURE Suggested recommendations/Considerations: Churches should try to gather outdoors whenever possible. When gathering indoors consider: 4 a. the total amount of time where groups are gathered indoors in any one gathering space; b. the number of people gathered in one space. Please choose larger spaces over smaller ones for all indoor gatherings. Well-fitting masks should be worn and proper physical distancing is recommended.


We will provide for this by: 

Staff and ministry leaders will set capacity limits for each gathering based on the space being used.  Outdoor gatherings will have fewer restrictions, but outdoor events will be implemented only if staff and lay leadership believe that the size and type of gathering will not exceed safe limits. 

We will encourage time limits for indoor gatherings. For example, we are keeping the in-person worship service to approximately 40 minutes. 

  1. VENTILATION Suggested recommendations/Considerations: Maximize airflow and turnover of air in the occupied space: 6 exchanges per hour is recommended; prioritize outdoor activities whenever possible.


We will provide for this by: 

Air systems for all indoor areas will be turned on one hour prior to the use of the space (or sooner) and doors inside the facility and doors to the outside will be kept open whenever possible.  

Additional Notes:

Covid positivity rate will be monitored weekly by WHUMC staff.  Levels above 5% will necessitate a review of these guidelines for possible revision. 

Communion will continue to be offered in pre-packaged units, but may also be offered using a loaf of bread and individual cups of juice.  The presider must be vaccinated, and must wear gloves to offer the bread to participants.