COVID Precautions at First Parish May 2021

As the weather slowly warms up, vaccinations increase, and the COVID numbers start to go down, we’re seeing the “new normal” on the horizon more clearly. The Parish Committee has also been closely monitoring state and federal guidance on risk mitigation, including easing of restrictions. Here is a summary of current thinking and planning.


What’s the plan?

  • The current hope is to return to in-person worship services starting after Labor Day
  • Plans are underway to provide more seating in the Courtyard so we can utilize it in the Spring and Summer.
  • Work is ongoing to improve airflow, from allowing more windows in the sanctuary and vestry to open to executing on an engineering assessment of our HVAC systems.


Where are we now?

First Parish’s first official outdoor event of this season is the May Day Yard Fest on Saturday, May 1st.  We will continue by opening the courtyard for group activities.  Here are the guidelines:
  • For all First Parish activities, we’re following the “2-out-of-3 Rule” for groups with any non-vaccinated people or when the mix is unknown. This means out of the following conditions: Outdoor DistancedMasked, you need to accomplish 2 out of the 3 when meeting in person.
  • So for outdoor activities:
    • Outdoor and Distanced = no mask.
    • Outdoor and standing close = Mask Required

If you have questions or comments, please send us an email at  Guidelines will continue to be updated as our world evolves.

Here are some examples:
  • The May Day Yard Fest:  It’s Outdoor, but with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people and distancing is impractical, so Mask Required.
  • A group of a dozen regular attendees meeting in the courtyard who know each other and all are vaccinated:  No masks or distancing
  • A gathering of 25 people who might be vaccinated, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated:  When seated and distanced:  No masks required, but need a mask to move around.
  • A gathering of 50 people who might be vaccinated, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated and are mingling:  Masks required.


How Can I use the Courtyard and Other Parts of the Meeting House?

  • Reserve the space in advance:
  • A maximum of 50 people are allowed in the courtyard.  If the event is open, that is anyone can attend, please require reservations to ensure the limit is not exceeded.
  • Masks are required in the building regardless of vaccination status
  • You may use the bathrooms in the building, but check with the office to ensure the building will be open and follow the occupancy limits on signs by the bathroom door.


What about food?

  • Participants can bring their own food or drink or organizers can serve it a long as safety rules are followed (i.e. those unvaccinated or mixed groups need to be distanced while eating)
  • If organizers want to use the kitchen, they need to reserve it in advance.  All must wear masks in the kitchen and there is maximum occupancy of 3.


Plans are in place for making the courtyard more usable by adding chairs and replacing the picnic table.  Stay tuned for updates.  But in the meantime, it’s a lovely space and all are encouraged to take advantage of it to see each other in person.
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