February 2021 Reopening Task Force Report

The 1stUUPB Reopening Task Force met on February 27, and continues to monitor the situation in Palm Beach County. We are hopeful for the relative speed and availability of vaccinations in our area, and by anecdotal evidence that many in our congregation are getting vaccinated. Covid Act Now reports that 19.4% have had their first dose and 12.4% are fully vaccinated.  We would like to take this opportunity to give many, many thanks Sylvia Ansay and the 1stUUPB Vaccination Team who have helped many members get their vaccinations! 

The guidance from the UUA continues to be the same:  “In the midst of uncertainty, the UUA stands by our spring 2020 recommendation that congregations plan for ongoing virtual gathering and operations. This applies to worship, events, rites of passage, and more.”

Although the number of daily new cases has gone down significantly from the recent peak, we are still in the critical level according to Covid Act Now (see graphic below) at 25.9 per 100,000 as of this writing. This is also still well above the numbers we were seeing in October and November (see second graph below). We seem to be at a plateau, though, and there is concern that as people are vaccinated and due to this downward trend some will discontinue some of the measures in place and that could lead to another wave. The other three measures we are tracking, Infection Rate, Positive Test Rate, and ICU Capacity Used are at the medium or Slow Disease Growth level, which is again still above what they were in October and November.

1stUUPB will for the moment remain at the stage of “touchless” outdoor events and mission critical maintenance. Please fill in the quick Potential Online Contact Tracing form if you need to be on campus for mission critical activities indoors, or meeting with others. Please read the Guidelines for Outdoor Events if you are the coordinator of an event and also fill in the online form after the event. Individuals and individual families are welcome to visit our campus, outdoors only, and need not fill out the form. 

On the bright side, the upgrades to the technology in the Sanctuary will allow us to begin streaming parts of the service from our campus. We expect that it will start small with one or two people on campus and slowly grow as we become accustomed to the technology and as the Covid situation warrants. This will allow us to have hybrid services when we are able to allow perhaps 25% capacity on campus, where it will be possible to fully participate either in person or remotely. In this way we will preserve the inclusiveness of our services which is integral to who we are as UU’s.

As always, if you have any questions you may reach out to any of the task force members: Linda Hartley, Rachel Melcher, Steve Pock, or Suzanne Schluter.