March 12, 2020
The current global spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a stark reminder that we are living in an increasingly dangerous world. Events such as these can quickly threaten the health of millions while causing major disruption to the global economies in just a matter of a few weeks.
Even though the news is saturated with updates and information, we believe it is important to comment on this current situation and offer advice and reminders on how Church members should best respond.
We begin with our need to look to God, of course, and to trust Him for protection and guidance. We can never take for granted our freedom to attend church services—a privilege that could be taken from us on a moment’s notice—and we certainly want to be able to convene and hold services without interruption on the Sabbaths, Passover and holy days in the weeks ahead. We believe our great God will continue to watch over and safeguard His people around the world, as we entreat Him for protection.
At the same time, we have a responsibility for one another and should carefully take appropriate preventative measures that lessen the likelihood of infection. We strongly urge everyone to practice the following hygiene protocols in our homes, in our work places, at Sabbath services and at any other occasion:
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Sneeze or cough into elbow sleeve or tissue, not your hands.
- Wash hands immediately after sneezing or coughing.
- Avoid touching your face and mouth.
- Regularly use hand sanitizer.
- Disinfect surfaces frequently touched, including desktops, doorknobs, phones, keyboards, etc.
- Avoid contact with those who are sick.
- At our services, consider forgoing or limiting handshakes and hugs at services during this current coronavirus concern.
- Stay home if you or family members are sick. God’s Word teaches the principle of quarantine when one has a communicable disease (Leviticus 13), so it is important to exercise caution and remain at home if you or someone in your family has a contagious illness.
When booking air travel (for the holy days, Feast of Tabernacles, or other occasions), we highly recommend you check on any restrictions or policies of the airline you plan to use. While purchasing travel insurance is an option, be aware that travel insurance is limited in its coverage, typically applying only to certain specific travel interruptions. The terms and conditions of the travel insurance policy control the coverage and benefits. Policyholders who have made travel insurance claims are often surprised at how limited the coverage is. Be sure to read the fine print when booking flights or considering travel insurance, to know exactly what is covered.
It is important for everyone to have clear understanding of the facts regarding the novel coronavirus. Following are helpful links from U.S. authorities. Please check your own government sources if you live outside the U.S.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) information and advice
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) travel warning
In summary, trust God, use common sense and exercise carefulness. This is a fluid situation, and we will communicate further with the Church as need dictates.