Idaho Returns to Stage 2
I get it. Your heart sank when you heard that Idaho is pushed back to Stage 2 of recovery, due to the raging surge of Covid 19 cases. We have at least six active cases within our church family, thankfully none of which are connected to church activities, but the spread is real and it's on our doorstep. Your heart likely sank lower if you read the advisory from Central District Health, which includes advising that all churches close for now. Our Elders and Deacons met Tuesday night to sort out what we will do.
Under Stage 2, Governor Little specifically exempted churches from the limit on gatherings, as long as anti-social distancing and precautions are maintained. That includes the sanitizing we do rigorously, the distancing we hate but work hard to maintain, and wearing masks whenever we are in the building. Sadly, we are reverting to the requirement to wear a mask at all times when you are in the church building. This applies to all ages over 3. Only teachers and preachers, at least 12 feet from the nearest hearers, are exempt.
We are not at this time choosing to follow the advisory to close the church. We now have 5 months of experience with protocols that are working well, so the only change we are implementing is the full-time mask requirement, like it was when we first re-opened. We greatly appreciate our governor, who extends far more latitude to churches, realizing our value to society. We respect the CDH advisory but do not believe it is necessary to implement it. They are asking us to revert to pre-Stage 1 protocols, which we regard as needlessly restrictive at this time.
Through all these stages, every public venue has been required to recognize and respect requests for medical exemptions from wearing a mask. If such a condition applies to you, you may reply to this email to explain your situation (replies come only to me, and will be handled discreetly). We will accommodate you for in-person worship if possible. We also realize it may be wisest for some to stay home until we can return to the protocols we have been following.
Thank you to all my fellow leaders for their extra work all these months. Please pray we can move back in the positive direction very soon. Livestream broadcasts Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights will continue.