Handling an Unexpected Number of Churchgoers during Quarantine

Churches are among the places that were allowed and expected to reopen amidst this pandemic; however, based on the rules of your state, you might have a limited number of people that are allowed in your building.

So, what do you do if too many people arrive on a Sunday? How do you handle this situation while still following proper safety protocols?

Here is some advice from our members:

Using Reservations

“We’re using save a seat from pastorstoolbox.com – last week was our first week. We had reservations cut off at 60, had 28 sign-ups, no extras showed up. This coming Sunday is an outdoor service.” Chester Cannon 

“We normally would set up around 400 chairs in our main service. Maintaining a 6ft space between families, we can fit about 160. We’re capping our RSVPs at 130 per service. Staff and core volunteers (about 20 people) are also signing up for the service they plan to attend but are ready to give up their seat for someone who didn’t sign up.” TJ Bartlett 

Outdoor Services

“We have chairs set up outside for them to join if they want (outdoor overflow room) and will have online service available if they have to go home.” Shannon Mischuk

Planning for Extra

“We’re leaving sufficient excess capacity to allow for some people to show up without reservations and adding them to our Eventbrite manually at the door (so we still have a record of their attendance for contact-tracing reasons).” Michael Kieloch

Using Overflow Locations

“Our plan is to limit seating in the sanctuary to 50 per service. We can seat a few more in the lobby. The overflow plan is to provide seating in the Fellowship Hall, where the service can be viewed on a large screen. We encourage the higher risk population to view online for now. We are taking everything we’ve learned from months of online streaming to provide a better online experience than was possible prior to Covid-19.” Chuck Marshall


Overall, we need to keep in mind the laws and legislation within our own states and communities. As the church, we should set an example of how to be Christ-like in the midst of this trouble. The very goal of having systems to accommodate church-goers is so we can continue to have worship services, without breaching safety policies and putting people’s lives in danger of being infected with the virus. As churches, we should really be firm with the systems we implement but still be inviting for those who are in need of Jesus.

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