The Church takes precautions against coronavirus
The Finnish Government issued recommendations to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus on 12 March 2020. The Church Council encourages dioceses and parishes to follow these instructions and, in addition, to seriously consider the following actions:
- Cancel all parish meetings and events that are not essential to carrying out statutory duties.
- Alleviate loneliness and other negative effects that result from cancelling public meetings.
- Avoid travel. This applies to both domestic and foreign travel, including work-related travel .
- Replace meetings with video conferencing whenever possible.
- Work remotely whenever possible.
- Find ways to connect with people virtually.
- Shift the focus of work efforts to meet the current situation’s needs. In case of quarantines, changes in job descriptions should be considered.
- Pay attention to what is communicated and how. Coronavirus communications mostly fall under crisis communications and should thus follow the Church’s guidelines for crisis communications.
- Reassign resources freed up by possible restrictions in operations to the Church’s telephone helpline and online help.
- Create practices for working outside the parish facilities.
Please note that parishes must be prepared to carry out their statutory duties under all conditions. The diocesan chapters will oversee preparedness measures in their diocese’s parishes and parish unions.
Worship services and church ceremonies are at the heart of parish life. Any instructions that supplement the Church Order and the Church Manual are given by the diocesan chapter or, if need be, by the national health authorities. These instructions may apply to the time, place or public nature of the worship service or to other matters determined in the Church Order.
Parishes are encouraged to collaborate with other parishes in their diocese in preparing for the coronavirus outbreak.
Directions for national preparedness measures are issued by the health authorities. Follow their instructions and communications closely.
The following general preparedness principles, outlined in the previous circular about the coronavirus outbreak, continue to be valid:
- Collaborate closely with the health authorities.
- Secure the continuity of operations.
- Make sure that all your facilities and activities are safe. Be particularly mindful of at-risk groups.
- Adjust operations to match the needs of the current situation.
- Ensure clear and relevant communications.