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May 14, 2021: Updated COVID-19 Guidance

Dear Clergy and Laity of the Florida Conference:
 
We continue to pray for those impacted by the COVID-19 virus. 
 
Yesterday the CDC issued new guidance regarding masks for those who have been fully vaccinated. In response, we believe it is appropriate for local churches to follow this guidance and make mask wearing optional for those who have been fully vaccinated.  Fully vaccinated is defined as being two weeks after the last dose of the vaccine. This decision should be made by your team of shared leadership. It is very appropriate for some churches to continue to require masks for everyone knowing that some persons are not able to be vaccinated. We do encourage continuing to maintain social distance of six feet in between different households. CDC guidance also indicates that fully vaccinated persons can sing in a choral group. We encourage persons to be vaccinated and respect the fact that some cannot be vaccinated because they are immune compromised. Making masks optional requires trust.  Churches should consider providing caution zones where people who want to wear masks can do so. 
 
If you have any questions please contact your District Superintendent or reach the Episcopal Office at ashanks@flumc.org.
 
The Peace of the Lord,
Bishop Carter and the Appointive Cabinet