Beloved Members and Staff of St. Martin’s,
This morning, June 4, 2022, the Bishop released the following COVID-19 guidelines (in bold), which we will be putting into effect as of this afternoon, starting with the 505 service at St. Martin’s.
Dear Friends in Christ:
It appears that St. Louis and surrounding metro area is on the cusp of another COVID surge. Although the CDC data on the COVID ActNow site shows Metro STL as "medium risk", the data from the City of St. Louis Health Department shows the City of St. Louis at high risk. It is the consensus of the Diocesan Pandemic Task Force that this probably represents a data lag between city data and CDC data and that the city data is sufficient enough to warrant temporary concern and a step back "for a season."
Out of an abundance of concern for our senior saints and our more vulnerable parishioners, for practical purposes we strongly advise Metro STL churches returning to the Feb. 7 guidelines, which include:
1. Masks that cover the nose and mouth are required for all persons for all indoor gatherings. KN95 masks are strongly recommended and encouraged.
2. Physical distancing of three to six feet is required for all indoor gatherings. Cohorts or pods within the same family may continue to safely interact.
3. Distribution of the consecrated wine may resume with the previous recommendation as a guide.
4. Worship capacity should allow for safe physical distancing.
5. Registration to attend worship is strongly encouraged, but not required.
6. Social gatherings should be done as a to-go or the room should be set up to allow maximum physical distancing.
Although these were not specifically addressed in the Feb. 7 revision, earlier revisions also indicated covering the elements for communion or the presider being masked, and use of a "communion station" for wine.
These guidelines apply to all worship and indoor meetings and gatherings until further notice. Please do all you can to keep yourselves safe. We have already seen breakthrough cases in our parish again, and I ask your prayers for those who are ill. I also ask that when you are visiting friends and parishioners who are ill for whatever reason, you wear a mask around them to keep them safe.
I ask all ushers to help people sign in at the door, and to urge distancing and the distribution of masks for those without one. This Sunday is a Brunch Sunday, and I am urging that everyone sit no more than four to a table and wear masks except when eating. I also ask that you space yourselves out by family units in the pews.
As always, I am so grateful for the way that you all have supported our efforts to keep ourselves and each other safe. We know what the costs of this disease are, and we are unified in doing all we can as disciples of Christ to do our part to try to prevent the spread of this illness.
Please, everyone, remember that the masks we have on hand and distribute to anyone who needs them are KN-95s, and are reusable for many hours. Take them, keep them, and use them both here and as you. one about in the community
so that we can get past this surge as quickly as possible.
In Christ’s love,