Beginning the Shabbat after Labor Day, we will shift to a more flexible COVID-19 policy for the BJ campus.
This decision, recommended by our medical and public health experts, affirmed by the Task Force, and approved by BJ’s leadership, is informed by the now endemic nature of COVID-19 in New York City, and the latest guidance from the medical and scientific communities.
Importantly, we know that our community is a highly vaccinated population, and that vaccination highly protects against serious illness or worse. We also know that a well-fitted N or KN95 mask protects the wearer from those around them, regardless of their personal choices. And we know that beyond BJ, most of our community are living in a more endemic-oriented world—whether at work, in school, on public transportation, at theaters, or restaurants.
We also know that some in the community are not comfortable with this orientation, and we hope our new approach offers a middle ground that serves the community as a whole, even if imperfectly. And so, while mask-wearing and full vaccination will still be highly encouraged, we will no longer check vaccination status nor insist on mask-wearing in general. We always will reserve a section requiring masking in our prayer and programming spaces, so those who feel more vulnerable can have distance from those who choose to be unmasked.
Here’s a quick summary of our latest COVID-19 policies:
- Vaccination and masking are highly encouraged, but are not required, for all BJ events, services, and programs.
- For large events or services, including the High Holy Days and Shabbat, BJ will have a mask-required section and a mask optional section.
- Service leaders, Torah readers, and others who are chanting or reading from the bimah who choose to unmask will be required to take a PCR test. Otherwise, those coming to the bimah should wear a mask.
- Communal meals will be located outside when possible but will also occur indoors, following restaurant guidelines.