Feast of Tabernacles 2020 and COVID-19
COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has been declared a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 is extremely contagious. The virus can be spread by person-to-person contact, by being close to someone carrying the virus, and by contact with contaminated surfaces and objects. People can be infected and show no symptoms and therefore spread the disease. It is possible that travelling to or from and attending the Feast may expose you to COVID-19. You and your family should use your own discretion in these matters, based on your own faith and personal judgment, according to your health and circumstances.
The Feast is a time to have our focus on Him and His power as we meditate on what the Bible teaches about the coming age. It's a time to be happy and grateful for the ways He has blessed us now, intervened in our lives, and provided for our needs, especially in these "unprecedented times." In a world filled with anger, violence and fear, we are instead learning "to fear the LORD your God always" (Deuteronomy 14:23). We are instructed to go up to keep the Feast where God places His name (Leviticus 23:39, Deuteronomy 16:15).
But we also see He admonishes us to protect those at risk. As Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences” (New Living Translation). Jesus Christ taught we should not tempt God by our actions (Matthew 4:7). We are also taught to think ahead and put up hedges against danger: "When you build a new house, then you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring guilt of bloodshed on your household if anyone falls from it" (Deuteronomy 22:8). If you are in a high-risk category for COVID-19 and concerned about attending the Feast in-person, we encourage you to evaluate your own situation carefully and prayerfully. We will make every effort to provide remote worship options (online streaming and/or phone hookup) who need this service.
Below are health and safety guidelines LCG Feast sites will follow to show honor to God and love for one another, as we are commanded to do in Matthew 22:37-39.
NOTE: The following guidelines are for USA Feast sites. Some sites outside of the United States may have slight variations based on local conditions and regulations. If you live outside of the United States, contact your international Regional Office or local Feast Coordinator for more information.
Government and venue regulations: Romans 13:1 says, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities," as long as those authorities don't contradict God's commandments (Acts 5:29). Accordingly, at LCG Feast sites, we will follow national, state/provincial, local and facility management guidelines, regarding meeting size, social distancing and other measures legally in place for the purpose of curtailing the spread of COVID-19. Feast coordinators will ensure that such requirements are passed on to all persons attending the Feast site, to enable compliance.
Face Coverings and Social Distancing (This section updated 9/25/20): All attendees at United States Feast sites will be required, unless otherwise directed, to use face masks for the entire time while attending services or indoor Feast functions. (Exceptions: Face masks are not required while sitting at a table for the purposes of eating a meal.) Children under six are not required to wear masks (unless mandated by government or venue restrictions). Masks should NOT be worn by anyone who has trouble breathing. Face shields, while not as effective as face masks at preventing the spread of water particles through the air, are an appropriate alternative for those who have trouble breathing. Proper social distancing will be observed as well, for all worship services and activities.
Hymns: For the Feast there will be no singing of hymns at services, though worship services will still involve the congregation listening to hymns and special music.
Illness at the Feast: If an attendee or family member or person staying in the attendee’s dwelling at the Feast develops a cold or comes down with flu-like symptoms, neither that person nor any person in that dwelling should attend services or socialize with other Feast attendees until they test negative for COVID-19. This follows the biblical principle of quarantine (Leviticus 13:46).
Screening: All persons are required to self-screen before leaving for the Feast, by answering the following questions (below). Attendees will also be screened upon arrival before attending services. For each one of us, our registration for the Feast, and our attendance, attest to the fact that we each agree to self-screen and comply with all the health regulations outlined for our Feast site. (There may be some variance in expectations from site to site, and especially from country to country, depending upon local regulations and the severity of infections in that region.)
Because COVID-19 can occur in persons with no symptoms, mild symptoms, or severe illness, screening with specific questions helps identify if you, or anyone dwelling with you, might have an unrecognized infection. Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after COVID-19 virus exposure.
** Every attendee must go through the following self-screening before leaving for the Feast. **
To perform self-screening, the following questions must be answered:
1. Have you traveled outside of the country in the last 14 days?
2. Do you currently have any of the following symptoms that have appeared in the last 14 days, that you cannot attribute to another health condition?
Fever, over 100.4 degrees, chills or a cough?
Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or fatigue?
Muscle, body aches, or headache?
Recent loss of taste or smell, or a sore throat?
Congestion or runny nose?
Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea?
3. In the past 14 days have you had contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 or suspected to have COVID-19?
** If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you should not come to the Feast unless you are tested for COVID-19 and the results come back negative. **
Please be aware that these same questions will be asked when you arrive at the Feast, for the first meeting that you attend. Thank you for showing love and consideration for others, by undergoing this self-screening.