Outbreak resources - physical amenities

Plan for adequate essential supplies on hand in preparation for an emergency. In North America we live in a just-in-time delivery system, which means that supplies are not normally stockpiled, but they are delivered “just-in-time” for use. We can expect to see delays in delivery and lack of supplies due to absenteeism in other businesses. What happens if there is a delay in deliveries? Consider health concerns as well. Should your church be stocking up on certain supplies? Definitely there will be a need to have adequate stocks of cleaning supplies, bathroom supplies (such as toilet and tissue paper and pump hand soap) in the church. What will the custodians need to do their jobs safely and well? Extra gloves? Where will you store extra supplies?

If people are ill or absent, consider how property maintenance issues will be handled and ongoing procurement of supplies.

What is the proper way to clean? How about washrooms? How about children’s toys in the Sunday School classrooms? Can you run them through a dishwasher after use? Each classroom will need a box of tissues and a waste basket and to have the tables cleaned after each class using soap and hot water. You can still use your regular cleaning solutions, but should be cleaning your facilities more regularly. Pay special attention to horizontal surfaces, where people tend to congregate and touch more. Check with your local health authority about the best way to clean. Review your current cleaning protocols and decide how they will change during a pandemic. Document all your plans, make them known and accessible in an emergency.

Washing hands with soap and water is preferable, but are there areas in the church where hand sanitizer stations should be placed for access when a sink is not available. Consider the entrances to the church, entrance into the sanctuary, meeting rooms and other areas where people congregate. Ensure there is appropriate signage for congregants and visitors to locate these stations easily. Post proper hand washing techniques at all sinks and hand sanitizer stations.

Will your physical space be used for other purposes – for example, a feeding station in your neighbourhood, a space to hold funeral services to handle overflow at funeral homes? Consider how your church can use its space for services to the community if you do not already have programs running. Talk to neighbouring churches – should you get together for services, reduce power and use one building?

If you are using the church website or email as a major communication tool for your church, who will be responsible for maintaining and updating it and repairing it? What if that person is unavailable due to illness or other type of absence?

Some resources for further information: