As more of us are vaccinated, we look forward to being able to meet with each other in person again. We hope that during the later Spring and Summer we may begin to take our first steps with some outdoor masked and socially distant events. As we determine when it is safe to hold such events, we hold to Unitarian Universalist principles of the inherent worth and dignity of every person, justice, equity and compassion, and the interconnected web of all existence of which we are a part.  We also keep in mind the “guidance of reason and the results of science.” In particular we emphasize safety and inclusivity.

Because the COVID situation has fluctuated in Chester County, and because new variants appear to be both more contagious and more deadly than previous ones, we have turned to objective criteria that must be met before we can hold in-person outdoor events, and we ask that all events keep in mind the needs of those who are not vaccinated or have unvaccinated people in their immediate circles. We will continue not to hold indoor events or in-person worship services through the Summer.

These guidelines apply to official events only – of course some friends will choose to visit with each other in person. We do ask that regular UCWC groups honor the guidelines and resist the temptation to hold unofficial group meetings.

Criteria for Outdoor Events:

For in-person events (other than drive-up / walk-up), the Test Positivity rate for Chester County must have been below 5% as reported by the Chester County Health Department for at least the two weeks prior to the event.

To see the most recent Chester County Health Department report, click here and scroll down to the chart on page 2 indicating “Positive PCR Tests” for Chester County.  “Percent PCR Positivity” is in the last column.

Drive Up / Walk Up Events

Outdoor events that do not require extended gatherings are acceptable even if the test positivity rate exceeds 5%, so long as social distancing and masking are carefully maintained. Examples of such events include viewing an outdoor art display at the congregation, picking up kindness rocks, etc.

Regular Groups and Events:

For regular events, i.e. Small Group Ministry, Adult RE, etc., it is vital err on the side of inclusiveness. If any participating individual is unvaccinated or uncomfortable with an outdoor in-person meeting, they should be encouraged to inform the event organizer, and the event will be moved back online. We urge groups to agree that such requests will be fully supported. The assumption should be that such an event would be an exception, rather than the rule. Remember also that holding discussion groups (ie, small group ministry sessions or adult RE) outdoors at a social distance can present difficulties for members with hearing loss. For this reason, a one-time informal “Meet and See” is preferable to holding regular meetings or full-scale sessions/classes outdoors.

Special Events

For special events, planned for outdoors, every effort should be made to be as inclusive as possible, and consider the needs of households with unvaccinated people (especially households with children). Steps need to be taken to maintain safety for all.

Guidelines for Events:

  • All participants should wear masks, even if vaccinated
  • All in person events must be outdoors
  • Food should not be provided (people can bring own beverages). This may change for specific events over summer, ie, “Bring Your Own ice Cream” social, which must be approved by the Executive Team.
  • 6 feet of social distancing should be maintained
  • Group singing should be avoided due to additional COVID risks
  • In the week prior to an event the positive test rate for Chester County should be double checked to make sure the event can go forward in person
  • Events in public parks must conform with their rules on gatherings.
  • Events on the congregation property must be cleared with Executive Team (but it’s not an ideal locale due to space and noise)
  • If CDC or Chester County Health Department guidelines change to become more restrictive than these guidelines, follow their guidelines. We will monitor and update these guidelines as new information and guidance becomes available.

Please remember that even knowledgeable and well-intentioned people often slip up in terms of social distancing with friends they have not seen in a long time.  It is important to remain vigilant through the remainder of the pandemic. Please also remember that no vaccine protects 100% against COVID-19. Even vaccinated people can become ill or transmit the disease, although the risk becomes substantially lower. By carefully following these guidelines, we hope to begin seeing each other in person while holding to our Unitarian Universalist values and protecting the safety of all.