On its official website, the Hong Kong Christian Council published guidelines for the resumption of worship services for both Orthodox and Protestant churches on May 19, 2020. The guidelines provide information on preparations churches need to do so they can safely reopen. Following are the specific instructions on what churches need to do in order to resume gathering.
The guideline is as follows:
1. Preparation for churches
1.1 Keep the church and gathering place clean and well-ventilated.
1.2 Regularly clean and disinfect seats and objects.
1.3 The number of attendees cannot be more than half of the building’s seating capacity.
1.4 Clean and disinfect the seats and shared areas as soon as possible after the conclusion of the worship service.
1.5 Participants must inform the management staff at the church immediately if they feel unwell.
2. Instructions for Entering the Church Premises
2.1 Before entering the church, you must first take your temperature (if you have a fever, you can be refused to enter the church), wash your hands with a sanitizer, and put on a mask.
2.2 Wear a mask throughout the gathering.
2.3 Follow the directions of ushers on where to sit.
2.4 Those attending for the first time are required to leave their names and contact information and provide health information.
3. The arrangements during worship services
3.1 To reduce public contact, believers are encouraged to bring their own Bibles. Programs and hymns are shared by projection or electronically.
3.2 Except for the sacrament, no meals are provided in the church.
3.3 Greet each other by nodding or clasping one hand in the other in front of your chest.
3.4 During communion, the officiating pastor and co-workers must first clean their hands, wear masks and gloves when they distribute communion wafers (provided in small cups),
or use a utensil to distribute the elements. The church may carry out the communion ceremony in accordance with its tradition.
3.5 To avoid social contact or gathering together, temporarily reduce activities after the worship service until the restriction order ends.
3.6 If after attending the worship service there are persons who test positive for COVID-19, they should immediately announce it in the church and notify the Department of Health.
3.7 Worship services may include arrangements for children and
youth according to their ages and classes.
4. The additional information is available from the Center for Health Protection responsible for religious gatherings.
- Translated by Abigail Wu