Reopening Plan

United Presbyterian Church of Whitinsville


May 31, 2020

Given the safety measures described below, the United Presbyterian Church of Whitinsville re-opened for in-person worship on May 31, 2020 for those who feel safe in attending.  People who have underlying health issues, are over 65, are immunocompromised, have symptoms of any illness, including a fever of 99.5° F or higher, and/or believe they could have been exposed to illness of any kind within the last 14 days are asked to remain at home and worship by watching the live-streamed service over the church’s YouTube channel.  Persons under isolation and/or quarantine orders by their local Board of Health are required to remain at home.

The following safety plan was adopted by the church’s Session, after it was approved by the Northbridge Board of Health.

Our sanctuary has a cathedral design, with a high, vaulted ceiling, and per its Certificate of Occupancy issued by the Town of Northbridge is designed to hold 300 people.  Until advised otherwise, we will adhere to the 40% occupancy restriction or 120 people, and arrange seating to insure 6 feet distance between people attending worship.

Our sexton thoroughly disinfects the entire sanctuary area every Saturday, disinfecting all pews, light switches, hand rails, door knobs, collection plates, as well as the pulpit and Worship Leader’s lectern.  In addition, after each service the microphones are disassembled, sprayed with a bleach solution, and when dry reassembled.  The pastor has a dedicated lapel microphone that is stored in its own lidded box on a separate shelf.

Those who attend the service must wear masks and use hand sanitizer that contains a minimum of 70%alcohol upon entering the building.

There is no socializing inside the building before or following the service, but people are invited to socialize outside before and after worship, wearing masks and maintaining at least 6 feet physical distance from each other.

One door is designated “Enter Only”, and one is designated “Exit Only.”

Doors remain open during the service for increased ventilation, and a large exhaust fan is run for 20 min. following the service to exhaust air out of the sanctuary.

Anyone needing to use the ramp to enter and exit the building is asked to contact the church office (508-234-8220 or by Friday so that arrangements can be made for him/her to enter and exit safely on Sunday.

All bathrooms are closed off by order of the Board of Health.  In the event of a bathroom emergency, a bathroom can be accessed, but an usher will then block it from further use.  Bathrooms will be cleaned and disinfected after use.

Attendees remain in the sanctuary area and are prohibited from entering the Fellowship Hall downstairs.

Only pews designated with a ribbon bow are available for use, and a cross marks the spot where someone may sit.  Crosses are 8 feet apart.  Families who live together sit together, without needing to maintain 8 feet physical distance from each other.

Ushers are available to help people find designated seating.

Attendees do not sing during the services at this time, with the exception of one or two Song Leaders, who are part of the worship leading team. This restriction is in place due to the increased broadcast of breathe and saliva droplets during singing.  Research indicates that cloth masks do not catch all of what is exhaled during singing.

There are no Bibles, hymnals, pens, or pencils in the pew racks or on the Greeting Desk inside the front entrance.  No information materials available at this time, but you can contact the church office for information about the church office to learn more our programs.

An offering plate is placed on a table near the entrance so that attendees can drop offerings in the plate as they enter the sanctuary.

Bulletins are not being dispensed on Sunday morning, but they are available for download the previous Friday.  People may either print the bulletin that bulletin or use the large sanctuary screen, which displays all necessary print material.

No food or drink will be allowed in the sanctuary.

A schematic drawing of the sanctuary is used to show where people sat during the service in case contact tracing is ever needed.



Letter from Board of Health