First Church Reopening Plan



May 4, 2021

FROM:           Thomas J. Bickerton, Resident Bishop
RE:                 Re-Opening Updates


Congregations in New York
The latest information from the State of  New York is as follows:

  • Capacity limits for houses of worship will be lifted on May 19, 2021. 
  • Social distancing, masks, health screenings, and all other state Health/Safety protocols remain in effect.
  • Office capacity limits are being replaced with space available to maintain six feet of social distancing.
  • The “micro-zone” strategy has been rescinded in light of the state’s progress.

General Guidelines
In the meantime, congregations that have already or are considering re-opening must continue to follow these previously established guidelines:

  1. Wearing of face masks and social distanced seating and interaction will still be required.
  2. Maintaining a log of those in attendance in worship or employees that are present over time.
  3. Social distancing markers, signage, and traffic flow markers are still encouraged.
  4. Facilities should continue to increase the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the facility.
  5. Frequent hand washing with appropriate stations for doing so provided.
  6. Those who are leading worship/singing should continue to honor the 12-foot distancing protocol.

Items that will now be permitted:

  1. Indoor singing will be allowed as long as all congregants wear an appropriate, tight-fitting mask.
  2. Offices are allowed to re-open at 100% capacity in Connecticut.
  3. Congregations are encouraged to plan outdoor worship experiences and other activities.  If you are on church property, it is expected that you will wear a mask. Planning for summer events such as Vacation Bible School is allowed with further updates on restrictions being offered later this month.  

Items that are still NOT permitted:

  1. Serving of Holy Communion other than with individual cups/bread.  No common cup or single loaf distribution is allowed.  Bread and juice must be offered in individual containers.
  2. Fellowship meals or fund-raising dinners with covered dishes, buffets, etc.  “Grab and go” meals for fund-raising, food distribution are allowed.
  3. Public greetings during worship that involve close interaction with one another (i.e., hugging, handshaking, etc.).
  4. Fellowship/coffee hours before or after worship.


For the entire Bishop's Memorandum regarding updates for re-opening, please click here





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