Pursuant to the Governor’s mandate, and after receiving input from the Standing Committee electronically, I am requiring that masks be worn and physical distance maintained for all in-door gatherings at our congregations until at least September 1. Those with medical conditions preventing mask-wearing and children under five are exempt. More details can be found here.
Decisions regarding whether or not singing will be allowed, reverting to communion in one kind (at present we may use intinction only), and temporarily offering only online worship should be made at the congregational level based on infection and transmission levels in the surrounding area. Sit-down meals are strongly discouraged. Outdoor worship and fellowship are clearly our safest option at present.
Vaccinated persons exposed to the virus need not quarantine. If symptoms occur, get tested. A positive test requires a quarantine. An infection event at your congregation will require closing the facility for at least a full week. Maintain already-established cleaning protocols.
Like many of you, I am very disappointed by this turn of events. Due to our low vaccination rates the Delta Variant has taken us into a serious, deadly surge. Our ICUs are getting perilously close to their limits. Those of us who are vaccinated are protected from the most serious symptoms. However, we are able to be infected and to spread this variant to others.
We are all in this together. We will get through it together. Stay safe and be well.
In Christ’s Peace,
The Rt. Rev. Jacob W. Owensby, PhD, DD
Bishop of The Episcopal Church in Western Louisiana
Getting vaccinated prevents severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. Unvaccinated people should get vaccinated and continue masking until they are fully vaccinated. With the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever. CDC has updated guidance for fully vaccinated people based on new evidence on the Delta variant.