COVID-19 Preparedness and Re-Opening Worship Plan

Plan based upon guidelines issued on June 10, 2020,
updated on September 18, 2020, March 1, 2021, May 5, 2021 from the MN Dept. of Health

General expectations and guidelines

Plan Administrators

Pr Michael Short, Directing Pastor

Kelly Dicke, Director of Childcare / Operations: Weekday administrator

John Bartholow, Director of Youth Ministries: Weekend administrator

How plan will be evaluated and monitored 

  • Daily monitored for operations of Childcare Center needs. Weekly review following worship services (Sunday and Wed).  As needed following special activities and services.

Inside Occupancy        Sanctuary capacity of 427        Grace Hall capacity of 200

At 50% of capacity = 213         at 50% of capacity = 100

  • Effective 03 01 2021 given current socially distant strategies Central is limiting inside capacity in the Sanctuary to 100

Outside Occupancy    capacity capped at 250

Hand Sanitizer

  • All should hand sanitize upon entrance. Available at Parking Lot and Huff St. doors for use by members as they enter worship and visitors as they enter building.


  • Properly worn by all staff and all visitors. If you don’t have a mask, one will be provided.
  • Reminder – Cloth face coverings are NOT a substitute for maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet.

Social Distancing

  • All are expected to stay 6 feet away from others to maintain safety standards; family units may sit together. This applies for both inside and outside activities.
  • Chairs have been spaced out and pews have been marked closed to assist in physical distancing.

Each person is responsible to ensuring the safety of all.

Building and Ventilation Protocols

  • HEPA filters have been installed to aid in filtering the air
  • Windows will be opened when possible to aid in refreshing the air supply
  • Fans will be turned on to aid in the ventilation and refreshing the air supply

Sunday mornings and other special services

  • Illness Protocols
    • Plan administrators will maintain communication with and gather information from members /visitors who may be ill to ensure privacy is maintained.
    • If congregation members are sick, they are encouraged to stay home.
    • High risk individuals and members of vulnerable populations are strongly encouraged to stay home and participate in services / activities remotely.
    • If congregation member becomes sick at church, they will be asked to leave and follow protocols of quarantining and communicating with Plan Administrators.
  • Available areas
    • Sanctuary, Grace Hall and main bathrooms (Men and Women)
    • 2 Entrances (South Parking Lot entrance and Huff St doors)
    • NO access in office, basement, or other areas of church.
  • Minimize Possible Transmission
  • Congregational singing of hymns is not prohibited. Masks and social distancing of at least six feet are mandatory for congregation members.
  • Leading musicians and vocalists will be spaced apart in choir area at a distance of at least 12 feet from anyone else during the service. Masks are optional for lead musicians and vocalists while performing only when spaced at least 18 feet from congregation members.
  • During processionals and recessionals, entering or exiting the worship space people should be done in a manner that maintains at least 6 ft of distance between people from different households.
  • Bulletins will be single use – please take home or recycle when you leave.
  • NO Coffee Hour or social gathering space before or after worship.
  • Holy Communion will be distributed by staff and trained volunteers. Pre-filled disposable cups will be used. Gloves and masks are mandatory for those distributing.
  • NO sharing of the Peace during worship for the near future.
  • NO passing of offering plates as plates will be located at entry doors.
  • NO hymnals or Bibles in pews along with offering envelopes and pencils. 
  • Flow Management
    • Signs will be placed to inform members and visitors of the added COVID-19 precautions that will be taken as they arrive at the church.
    • Members will be advised by email and other communications of expectations prior to their arrival.
    • Ushers and other volunteers will be trained to assist in limiting the number of persons trying to enter the building at the same time.
    • Ushers and other volunteers will redirect members to Grace Hall as the capacity for the Sanctuary is reached. Persons entering by the Huff St. doors will be redirected to the parking lot doors.
    • Barriers will be used to restrict access to non-essential areas of the building.
    • Additional markings will be provided as necessary to assist people in physical distancing requirements.
  • Space Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
    • Worship space and equipment are to be cleaned / disinfected following worship. Separate spaces will be used where possible to limit cross contamination.
    • Implement immediate cleaning and disinfecting of the work and gathering space if a staff member or visitor becomes ill with COVID-19.

Week day / Childcare Center

  • Illness Protocols
    • Plan administrators will maintain communication with and gather information from staff who may be ill, as to ensure the privacy of staff is maintained.
    • Staff who have been ill / exposed / isolated are to follow MDH Guidelines as they return to work. Staff will be in communication with a Plan administrator as they prepare to resume work hours.
    • If staff or congregation members are sick, they are encouraged to stay home. Staff must inform a Plan administrator when ill and precautions taken to limit transmission.
    • High risk individuals and members of vulnerable populations are strongly encouraged to stay home and participate in services / activities remotely.
  • Available Areas
    • Areas used by the Childcare Center
    • Office area used by staff
    • Entrances – back parking lot door for Childcare drop off / Parking lot door using doorbell for visitors.
  • Minimize Possible Transmission
    • Parent drop off outside back doors. Staff greets parents asking screening questions then escorts child inside to their room.
    • Staff – Temperature checks are conducted 3 times a day by Center staff. First check 30 min after arrival.
    • Community drinking stations and water-fountains should not be available/used.
    • Regular cleaning / disinfecting taking place during the day on surfaces commonly used.
    • Visitors need to ring the doorbell for entry. They will be greeted by a staff member who will review screening questions and record information on screening form.
    • Visitors will be asked to remain on tile area by entrance, staff will come to them for assistance
    • Deliveries to be contactless and dropped off near doorway. When possible, left outside and staff will bring items into building.
    • Masks are required for entry.
    • Staff member will record information and where the visitor visited for follow up cleaning / disinfecting.
  • Space Cleaning and Disinfection Protocols
    • Work Spaces – Employees should disinfect office equipment between shifts. Center staff disinfect touched surfaces, door knobs, doorways, light switches, railings and flat touched surfaces two times per day.
    • Implement immediate cleaning and disinfecting of the work and gathering space if a staff member or visitor becomes ill with COVID-19.

Process for Positive Lab Confirmed Case of COVID-19

Central takes the safety of our congregation, families we serve and staff very seriously.  In the event of a positive lab confirmed case of COVID-19, by a staff member, childcare center client, or a participant in a church activity, Central will do the following:

  1.  Determine exposure risk: We will look at dates, location, attendance and length of time of exposure to determine when and who would have been in contact with the infected person to determine if “close contact” occurred.
    • Per State of MN, Dept of Health, MDH, a “close contact” is anyone who was within 6 feet of the person who is sick while they were considered to be infectious, for 15 minutes or more (regardless of whether either person wore a cloth face covering or face shield) within a 24 hour period.
  1. “Close Contact” Communication:  One of our Plan Administrators will reach out to all of those who would have been considered in “Close Contact” and discuss currents quarantining requirements established by MDH or Winona County Public Health.   We will also encourage them to monitor their health and if they show symptoms or have questions to be in contact with their health care provider or MDH.

We understand that this may create concern in our church community. In response we will endeavor to reassure them we have taken action to clean and sanitize the facility.  That we are working closely with the State of MN in all areas for the safety of all.

General COVID-19 resources that you may find valuable are:

MDH Coronavirus:

MDH If You Are Sick:

CDC Coronavirus:

Staff should always remember to social distance a minimum of 6 feet whenever possible.

Small meetings can be held in Grace Hall maintaining less than 10 group size and 6 foot social distancing.  One participant per table.

Masks are required inside.
All Staff, congregation members, and visitors are required to wear masks on site.
If they do not have one, one will be supplied to them.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 is the responsibility of all.  Mask safe choices and understand what “close contact means” and position yourself in safe spacing.
Wash hands frequently.
Stay close to home when possible.
Stay 6 feet from others.

Health Screening prior to arrival.
All parties are asked to conduct health screening at home and follow the questions per MDH in terms of new symptoms.  If at any time, a staff person becomes ill, they will be asked to test, quarantine and stay in close communication with the Plan Administrators for proper documentation.

There is a Health Screening kiosk at the clock in station upon entry in the Center entrance.  All Staff are to follow the steps and answer the questions.


Update 5-20-2020

Due to limits on the number of people in houses of worship in the Governor’s latest executive order, and due to other considerations such as the child care center on the premises, Central Lutheran Church is continuing to limit access to the building for the time being. If at all possible, please call us at (507) 452-5156, e-mail us at (or whomever you wish to connect with), or mail something to us at 259 W Wabasha St, Winona, MN 55987. If you need to enter the building, even if you’re a regular volunteer, please ring the doorbell by the Grace Hall entrance. A staff member will come by to let you in, and offer you a face mask (which is required in the church). Thank you for your understanding and may God bless you.

Update 3-26-2020

During this time when we need to stay at home so we do not cause further spread of the virus, Central Lutheran Church office remains open.  We are working with the staff to reduce contact and the number of staff in the office at any one time.  Central’s Childcare Center, which is also an essential business, remains open to serve their families as well.  So if you need assistance during this time of physical distancing, as you self-isolate in your homes, please call the office, someone will be there to help you.
Central will continue to live stream our worship services on Sunday morning at 9:30 am and Wednesday at 12 Noon.  We also remind you to continue to support us in whatever way you can, by mailing in your contribution or going to Central’s web page and click on the ‘Giving’ tab.
Until we are able to gather once again as the Body of Christ together in our building, stay at home, wash your hands and stay healthy.
Remember – neither life nor death, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, (including a Stay home order) will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39

Updates 3-18-2020

Wednesday activities are canceled. A take-out method for the FEAST will be implemented 3-25-2020.

Lenten services will be streamed on Central’s Facebook page at 12:00 pm on Wednesdays.

A Sunday morning service will be live-streamed on Central’s Facebook page Sundays at 9:30 am.

This is a time for us to reflect on what it means to be the church at a time like this. How are we the body of Christ in the world, called to care for our members, neighbors and community. We will encourage members and staff to take personal responsibility and not participate if they are feeling unwell or showing any symptoms or have reason to believe they have been in contact with an infected person, or have traveled to places where the virus is more active.
Secondly, if you are in an identified group by age or medical circumstance feel free to refrain from attending services or meetings. During a time of absence or isolation, we invite you to participate and stay connected by:
1. Joining us as we live stream our worship service on our Facebook page.
2. Worship by watching our service on YouTube. A direct link will be on our homepage.
3. Worship by watching us on the public access channels on TV. Monday nights on Charter and Wednesday night on HBC broadcast
4. Or just take the opportunity on Sunday mornings at 8:00am or 10:30am to read the lessons, recite the prayers and take time to reflect praying for us as we pray for you each week.
Should you come to worship in person, expect a few changes in the way we worship. We will encourage you to practice social separation. We will be distributing the Lord’s Supper in different way. Offering plates will be placed at the entry doors and the altar for you to leave your contribution. Also starting next week everything will be in the bulletin so you do not have to pick up and use hymnals.
Our Sunday School program will not be in session for the next two weeks. Our Church choir and Youth choir will continue to meet as scheduled. Confirmation classes on Wednesday night will continue as long as the school district continues to hold classes.
The members of the FEAST committee are meeting on Monday night to determine how they will be proceeding with the meal on Wednesday nights. Expect more communication on Tuesday about the FEAST.
The church office will remain open and available to you, as will the Day Center. For the families with children at our Day center, Kelly will be communicating with you directly.
Our concern is for the safety and health of you, our members and staff as well as the members of our community which rely on us as an organization. If we can be of assistance, to pick up needed items if you are unable to get out, or if you need a pastoral visit, please contact the office, or Pr. Michael Short directly @ 608.330.0715.
During this time, we ask you to consider supporting Central in three ways:
1. If you are willing to volunteer to assist by calling or delivering needed items as we seek to help care for our neighbors to let the office know. We are creating a volunteer list we can use to fulfill our mission and care for our members and neighbors.
2. We ask you to continue to support Central financially. You can mail in your envelopes or make donations electronically through our website. We will also be happy to send you information and paperwork if you choose to make you contribution directly from your bank account.
3. Lastly we covet your prayers. Please pray for the church, our staff and members as we deal with the uncertainty of this pandemic. Also for the sick and vulnerable in our community as they deal with the stress of isolation or anxiety. And for our state and national leaders that they might guide us with wisdom and honesty offering us the information we need to deal with this crisis in the coming days and weeks.
Thank you for our prayers, your understanding and your patience as we seek to remain faithful to our mission and to serve others in the name of Jesus, our Savior.

Pr. Michael
Directing Pastor,
Central Lutheran Church