On Thursday, May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased their indoor mask-wearing guidelines for Americans who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19. A summary of the recent change said that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
“Church leadership should determine their best practices in assessing how to do reentry. Some locations will be asking to see vaccination cards. Others are trusting folks to behave according to their vaccination level. For those fully vaccinated, we are at green light; for those partially or not vaccinated, please follow the below chart,” said Rev. Dr. Lanette Plambeck who is leading the Iowa Conference Re-entry Team.
Plambeck goes on to say, “In the wake of this good news, we will have to balance the yellow/green line in our ministry settings. There will need to be some form of distancing and care protocols that allow worshipers to maintain that 6-foot boundary if needed. We trust local church leaders who know their faith communities best to modify practices so that no one is marginalized. We have been praying for this news and will continue to hold Iowa and our worldwide community in our prayers as the rollout of the vaccine and availability differ around the world. A year ago, we were closing doors, now we are once again able to proclaim, ‘Come and see. Go and do. For God is up to something big for the people called United Methodist.'”
As local leadership teams discern their best next step in reentry, another helpful discernment tool comes from our colleagues at the Wisconsin Council of Churches. We encourage you all to pace reentry and care for your broader community as together we navigate the opportunities, challenges, and vulnerabilities of the whole community as you transition in your local covid response: