COVID-19: What health measures for churches?

As the year 2022 has just started, the National Council of Evangelicals of France (CNEF) offers an update on measures related to the Covid-19 epidemic for churches "So that vigilance continues". Here is a summary of these measures, some of which were put in place on January 3.

As a reminder, the practice of worship and cultural gatherings such as weddings, funerals, baptisms or even meetings of prayer and praise are not subject to the health pass (which could become a vaccination pass from January 15 ) and this, regardless of the workforce.

However, respect for barrier gestures is required, which includes in particular: wearing a mask, disinfecting your hands, ventilating the meeting places, avoiding physical contact and maintaining distances between people. Meals with siblings in the church setting are not recommended.

Regarding wearing a mask, it has been compulsory since January 3 as part of a cultural gathering from the age of 6 and not more than 11 as was previously the case.

The CNEF also specifies that the mask must be worn within the framework of the choirs and at the exit of the church in the communes which impose it in the street.

General assemblies of associations are not subject to the health pass, however, just as in the context of worship, barrier gestures are required. The CNEF also reminds that it is possible to opt for the holding of the general assembly by videoconference if the statutes or the internal regulations of the association so provide.

If a person who has participated in worship or in an activity of the association is positive, the CNEF invites to take note of the official information concerning the definition and management of contact cases. New isolation rules have been in effect since January 3, 2022.

Official definition of the contact case: There are 3 types of contact person, at high risk, at moderate risk and at negligible risk. In all 3 cases, the person was in contact with a person positive for Covid-19 without effective protective measures, namely: a surgical mask, an FFP2 mask, or a fabric mask (category 1) worn by both people (the confirmed case and the contact person).

Here is what Health Insurance recommends if you are in contact

The new isolation rules in force since January 3 recommend, if you are fully vaccinated (i.e. if you have taken your booster dose or if you have not done so but your second dose dates back to less than 7 months ago) or are a child under 12 years old:

  • You do not need to isolate yourself, but you should perform a PCR or antigen test immediately. If the latter is negative you must then carry out two more self-tests, the first 2 days after the date of the last contact with the sick person and the second 4 days after.
  • If one of the self-tests is positive, it must be confirmed by an antigen test or PCR

If you are not vaccinated or if you have an incomplete vaccination schedule:

  • You isolate yourself immediately and up to 7 days after the last contact with the positive person
  • At the end of these 7 days, perform a PCR or antigen screening test

We hope that this information has enlightened you on the procedures to follow in our churches for the coming months. As the National Council of Evangelicals of France writes, as the epidemic continues to spread, let us continue to be vigilant.

Camille Westphal Perrier

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