Keepin’ it real with Pastor Devon-MASK UPDATES

Dearest Wintergarden Faith Community,

 Occasionally, you will receive emails that are titled “Keepin’ It Real with Pastor Devon.” These emails will be very specific in purpose, focused on something important happening at Wintergarden, and important for all to read.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to read and respond if asked.

Blessings,
Pastor Devon 


COVID-19 UPDATES A few changes with how we worship, fellowship, and serve…An update from the Session. This will go into effect on January 10, 2022 and moving forward. With making these decisions, it is our hope that everyone will remain healthy, not expose others, and we can continue to serve through the food pantry. We also want to remind everyone that we have the AirOasis system on all of our AC units. This helps purify the air and we will be keeping all the fans “ON” 24 hours a day to help with purify the air in our building. 

Over the course of the past few weeks, many of us have been watching or reading the news and trying to figure out whether or not to wear masks when we are indoors or to not wear them indoors. On Thursday, January 6th, Devon met with other pastors from the presbytery as well as 3 different administrators from the Florida Health Department. The conversation with the Florida Health representatives from Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties was incredibly helpful and insightful. Based on the information Devon gathered from that meeting and the resources provided by the health department, and extensive conversation, the session has made the following motion for our time together indoors.  

“The session recommends for the congregation to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID as we gather for worship, fellowship, and service. As an act of love for ourselves, of love for our neighbor, and our love of God, we will require masks to be worn indoors when the percentage of positivity for COVID in Charlotte County is greater than 15%. When the positivity rate for Charlotte County is less than 15%, we will encourage masks to be worn indoors. Each week, an email will be sent on Saturday evening to update everyone on the percentage of COVID positivity in Charlotte County and mask expectations based on the Florida COVID-19 Response webpage (https://floridahealthcovid19.gov). If you are not feeling well, strongly encourage you to join online from home. Click
 HERE for the current testing guidelines. We will have signage on the doors with the current percentage rates and mask needs for every indoor event with the congregation and for the community.” 

The link for the document from the health department is HERE. This is available by end of day on Friday with data from the week. The data provided in this report will be where we will learn the percentage of positivity for COVID in Charlotte County and will determine mask requirements based on that number. Based on this report, an email will be sent out on Saturday evening and posted on Facebook with the percentage and mask updates. We will also post this information on the doors to the church as well as the pantry. In addition, we will make sure all of the groups who share our space will be following the same guidelines. The Health Department has recommended for people to wear 3-ply masks when indoors because Florida is a high transmission state of COVID-19. 

COVID positivity rates for Charlotte County have gone up from 14.4% to 22.5% in one week. And this number is only based on the cases reported to the health department. This number does not include anyone who chooses to isolate because they assume they are positive or anyone who has taken a home test and is positive. Our guess is that this percentage is actually higher than what is being reported.

With a COVID positivity rate of 22.5% this week, please know that masks will be required indoors from January 10-January 15, 2022. Then based on the report posted on Saturday night, we will modify the signage on the doors and send out an email update that will also be posted to Facebook for the following week. 

Our hope is that by wearing the mask indoors, we will be able to continue to worship indoors. If the rates continue to increase, we will move to worship outdoors. If you have any questions, please contact Pastor Devon or any of the session members. 

In Christ, 
Pastor Devon and the Session 
https://floridahealthcovid19.gov