The Lens of the Future committee has been meeting more frequently as we watch the active levels of Covid cases in the state and around the country rise. While Iowa rates of infection have not risen as fast other areas, Polk Co and the state are reporting significantly higher rates. Because of this we have recommended and the board has approved, starting immediately, that masks must be worn by everyone for all indoor gatherings. For events that include a lunch service or snacks, masks may be removed while eating but please social distance as much as possible.
This change was also based on the evidence that vaccinated people may contract the disease, especially the Delta variant that is causing our infection rates to rise. We know vaccinated people, if they contract the virus, may not become as ill as someone not vaccinated but we also know the vaccinated can still transmit the disease to others. Because of the number of unvaccinated children in our congregation, as well as elders and people with compromised immune systems, we feel it is necessary to take this step to protect our most vulnerable.
We, the Lens of the Future committee, did not make this decision lightly. We realize this may come as a great disappointment and we share in that with you. We miss you all and look forward to the time we can all be together again. As we watch these numbers and look at trends in our city, county, and state, we will continue to evaluate our options to be together as safely as possible. We hope that we can relax the restrictions soon, but we also know it may become necessary to draw back even further.
The restrictions for Level 3 are still in effect. The only change is that facial coverings must be worn by everyone that is participating in indoor gatherings, except while eating. Groups of any size are allowed to meet outdoors. Indoor gatherings are limited to 20 persons, except that up to 50 people may be in the church at any one time. Everyone attending indoor events is expected to wear a facial covering, and everyone is encouraged to follow the latest CDC guidelines.
We continue to encourage everyone who can to be vaccinated as soon as possible. We expect each person to do their part to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated, wearing a mask when recommended, and taking other precautions as outlined in the procedures. We know that the entire congregation is eager to get back together again and the LENS committee is working hard to prepare for that time. We welcome thoughts and ideas from the congregation. Please feel free to contact anyone on the LENS committee with your questions and suggestions.