Latest COVID Guidelines (updated August 2022)

First Parish in Bedford COVID Guidelines (as of August 2022):

First Parish re-opened our building in the summer of 2021 and remains open for Sunday morning worship services that are hybrid (in person and on zoom), Sunday morning faith development classes in person, as well as for rentals and church events. We have now dropped our room capacity restrictions and simplified our guidelines. We do require masks to be worn in common spaces and in worship – please see masking guidelines below for more details.

We know that no set of guidelines is perfect and our community contains many different needs and preferences. We are doing our best to balance protecting the most vulnerable among us with our need be realistic about what people want, need and are willing to do. Our adherence to our COVID-19 guidelines is one way that we care for one another. We ask for your full compliance, as well as your kindness in explaining our COVID-19 practices to newcomers and visitors and helping them find a mask if they did not bring one.

Masking:

We require masks to be worn in our worship services as well as at services officiated by our staff that are held indoors. We also require masks in common spaces such as hallways and bathrooms.

Renters and First Parish groups may choose to make masks optional and may choose to serve food and drink in spaces they have rented or reserved. For First Parish groups we strongly encourage groups to make it easy for someone to request that everyone be masked if that would allow them to feel safer. Consent and covenant should guide us as we make decisions.

Consent and Covenant:

UUs believe in covenanting together and in enthusiastic consent. We can apply these practices to our COVID protocols. Please do not assume what others are comfortable with, and ask about things like hugs, removing masks, and holding programs indoors. Please advocate for your needs and preferences. Please do not hold programs indoors when that would exclude any member of the group who is not comfortable meeting indoors at this time.

Vaccination Status:

We strongly encourage vaccination as well as boosters for all who are eligible and expect people in our community to get vaccinated for their own health and the public good. If you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons we want to do whatever we can to make our gatherings inclusive for you, so please let a staff member or Re-Opening Task Force member know how we can support you. Because vaccines primarily protect the person who is vaccinated (unlike masks, which definitely protect others) we will not be requiring vaccination cards or other proof of vaccination at our events.

Other Mitigation Efforts:

We strongly encourage opening windows and/or using our HEPA air filters to increase air flow in rooms where people are gathering. If you would like to be sure an air filter is available, please contact the office staff to make that arrangement. We also encourage people to gather outdoors when that is comfortable and possible.

Close Contacts:

If someone has had a close contact within the last 5 days, and is fully vaccinated and has no symptoms, they should perform a rapid test before coming to church and only come if negative.

If someone was exposed and is not fully vaccinated or has any symptoms they should stay home.

A person with COVID should quarantine at home for 5 days before returning to church.