In the spring and early summer, the congregation looked forward to in-person services with our new minister, Rev. Lee Anne Washington. But the number of COVID-19 cases Northeast Florida has been extremely high over the last several weeks, and recommendations have changed.
The New Normal Team reviewed current COVID-19 statistics. Current number of infections are very high: over 100 new cases per day per 100,000 residents. The test positivity rate has been over 25%.
Guidelines from the State of Florida, CDC and UUA were reviewed. There is significant variation, and some recommendations are not frequently updated. The group decided to base UUCJ reopening plans on CDC data and guidance.
Although recommendations for vaccinated persons are more lenient, the New Normal Team assumes that some will not be vaccinated. The CDC advises unvaccinated persons in extremely high-risk areas that:
- Spending time inside with people from other households puts you at risk for getting the coronavirus or spreading it to others.
- Weddings, funerals, concerts, sporting events and other gatherings that bring multiple households together are places where Covid can spread easily. At this level of risk, even outdoor events are not safe, so consider postponing.
- Religious services are safest when conducted outdoors and without singing.
- Work remotely when possible and avoid in-person meetings.
New Normal Team recommendations:
- In-person services and larger activities should not be scheduled until the number of new cases is less than 10 per 100,000 per day and the test positivity rate is less than 5% for 2 weeks. In the event of future surges, in-person activities should be restricted again.
- Small groups of vaccinated persons (10 or less) can meet indoors with minimal risk.
- All attendees to activities at UUCJ should register. This will allow contact tracing and notification of exposed individuals, so they can quarantine. If any attendee develops COVID-19 infection, they should notify the UUCJ office.
- All who attend activities at UUCJ should wear masks and stay at least six feet away from people who live in other households.
- Everyone should get vaccinated, if possible.
- To offer hybrid services in the future, tech upgrades are being completed.