Halachic and Practical Guidance for Minyanim in Shul with COVID-19 Precautions
- Daveners other than the chazzan should daven through Yishtabach at home and then proceed to shul. They should do their utmost to not speak between the time they complete Yishtabach and the beginning of davening in shul. If one needs to speak about a matter pertaining to davening or safety standards in shul it is permissible to speak. Though it would be fine for one to put on tallis and tefillin at home and arrive at shul already wearing them, it is also acceptable to do so at shul, with their brachos, after having davened pesukei dezimrah at home without them.
- Chazzan should daven at home until the last three pesukim of Az Yashir and then proceed to shul. Chazzan should do his utmost to not speak from the time he began pesukei dezimrah at home through his arrival at shul and completing pesukei dezimrah at the amud. Though it would be fine for the chazzan to put on tallis and tefillin at home and arrive at shul already wearing them, it is also acceptable to do so at shul, with their brachos, even though he has not yet completed pesukei dezimrah.
- Daveners should take care to enter the part of the building appropriate to the location of their minyan (those davening in the Belonofsky Sanctuary should enter at the top of the hill, those davening in other minyanim should enter the glass doors of the lower lobby).
- Upon entry, and throughout one’s stay in the building, daveners should make sure to maintain social distancing of at least 8 feet between themselves and others.
- Daveners should make sure to be wearing masks which cover the mouth and nose upon entering the building, and continue to wear the mask throughout their time in the building. The chazzan, baal korai, and gabbai should also wear their masks at all times.
- Unless one is wearing gloves, one should apply hand sanitizer, to be found near the entrance, upon entering the building. In the event that hand sanitizer is not present, one may wash thoroughly with soap at the sink near the entrance.
- Tallis and tefillin should be put on by one’s seat in the minyan in which he will be davening. Tallis and tefillin should not be put on by a ledge or table, so as to minimize the possibility of germ transfer.
- Daveners should sit in one of the seats marked for davening. The markings are to insure appropriate social distancing during davening.
- Those davening in the Belonofsky Sanctuary may put their tallis and tefilin bags down next to themselves on the bench upon which they are sitting. Those davening in other locations should put the bags on their chairs while putting on tallis and tefillin, and, once the tallis and tefillin have been put on, should place the bags underneath their seats.
- Daveners should bring their own siddurim to minimize germ transfer.
- The davening will begin with the chazzan reciting the last three pesukim of Az Yashir out loud, and then going on to Yishtabach (the rest of the minyan will have already davened through Yishtabach at home).
- Daveners are requested to arrive between five to ten minutes before davening to ensure their tallis and tefillin are on and they are ready to respond to the chazzan upon his beginning the tefillah. People should not come more than 10 minutes before the scheduled beginning of davening so that the time that individuals are together will be minimized.
- If there was a mistake and the chazzan has already said yishtabach privately he should recite the last three pesukim of Ashrai out loud and then proceed to Kaddish and Barchu.
- On days when the torah is read no one should come forward to kiss the torah.
- Procedure for the members of the minyan is the same for weekday, both regarding what one should daven at home and the timing with which one puts on the tallis.
- Chazzan should daven through Yishtabach at home. The davening will begin with his saying the last three pesukim of Ashrei out loud and then proceed to Kaddish and Barchu.
- One may apply hand sanitizer or liquid soap to the hands on Shabbos as one would do during the week.
- Daveners may bring their own chumashim, in addition to siddurim. Printouts of the parsha will also be available. These printouts shoul only be used by one person.
- All are recommended to arrive within 5 minutes before davening.
Weekday Mincha (Including Friday)
- After the chazzan says the kaddish following Ashrai, he will proceed to say the beginning of shmone esrai out loud through kedushah and conclude with the Ledor Vador paragraph concluding with Hakel Hakadosh. At that point he will continue shmone esrai to himself.
- The minyan should listen to the chazzan’s recital of shmone esrai, responding as appropriate through Hakel Hakadosh. At that point, the minyan should begin the silent shmone esrai from the beginning.
- When shmone esrai is completed, all should proceed with tachanun.
- For Shabbos mincha the chazzan will say the full repetition after the minyan has davened the silent shmone esrai, as is normally done.