Reopening Safely: How to create a post-Covid19 Reopening Plan for your Business

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by Keri Rist

This spring, our client Myers Park United Methodist Church (MPUMC) was ready to open its doors for Church services again after more than a year of being closed to their congregation due to the -global pandemic. Many church members are of an older demographic, so the leadership at MPUMC wanted to be especially cautious as to not compromise anyone’s health, as well as making sure the communication surrounding the opening and the new guidelines were clear. A multi-channel strategy approach was used to ensure all church members were reached and included announcements and explainer videos shared via social media, website, email, and even text messaging.

As the CDC began to lift some of the Covid-19 protocols put in place around in-person gatherings, Bogues Group met with the communications team at MPUMC to discuss their comfort level in reopening and to get a general idea of what the team envisioned as a successful and safe reentry back to the building. Together, using CDC guidelines, we outlined a staggered, phased approach which made the team feel comfortable. As each phase progressed, we assessed the level of success and measured feedback from both the congregation and church employees.

Here is a sample of a tiered reopening plan, with each phase outlining the number of attendees, services, and general guidelines:

  • Phase 1- Approximately 1 month
    • Limit of 150 guests with pre-registration for attendance required via MPUMC website
    • 3 service times offered
    • No childcare services offered
    • Masks mandatory indoors, available at door if needed
    • Minimal in-person singing
    • Hybrid of services offerings – some still broadcast via video
    • Continue to offer virtual service as well
  • Phase 2 – Approximately 1 month
    • Increase service attendance to 200
    • 4 service times offered
    • Childcare offered, limited, pre-registration required via website
    • Masks mandatory indoors, available at door if needed
    • Hybrid of services offerings – some still broadcast via video
    • Keep virtual option full service as well
  • Phase 3  – Approximately 1 month
    • No limit to in-person service attendance
    • 4 service times offered
    • Childcare offered, limited, pre-registration required via website
    • Masks mandatory, have at door if needed
    • Keep virtual option full service as well

Creating a successful post-pandemic reopening plan for any business is tricky and walks a fine line between ensuring business goers are safe and happy while also maintaining a comfortable workplace for employees of the business. 

When reflecting upon the reopening plan devised by Bogues Group, both the congregation members and employees agreed it was a successful way to safely and appropriately reopen the church doors to the public. Having well-defined phases and a clear communication plan enabled MPUMC to accommodate the diverse age range of attendees while offering the assurance that the proper safety and health precautions were in place, allowing for a safe and successful reopening. 

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