While the world becomes more comfortable living with the social and health demands of the pandemic, many still ponder the safety of where they should go in in person. This means that church leaders need to be thinking proactively about church design features that will help guests and attendees feel comfortable when returning to in-person church activities. If they know that they can navigate the church building in relative safety and comfort, they will likely worship more often.
Focusing on Touchless Doorways in Your Church Design
If people don’t have to touch a surface, then you don’t have to clean that surface as frequently, and you can worry less about germ spread. Therefore, touchless features are one obvious element of church design that improves pandemic safety. For example, consider the main doors to your church building. This is one place where everyone touches the door handle, unless, of course, the doors open automatically. It is possible to retrofit most existing doors with a motion sensor and automatic door opener. This allows everyone to enter your church building without touching a handle at all.
You may have also noticed that some public spaces today have restrooms where you walk around a corner to enter the space, without having to open a door. (Airports are one example, where the lack of a door makes maneuvering luggage easier.) If there isn’t space in your existing church design to add such a feature, then another option is for your restroom doors to open outward and if possible don’t latch. That way, people leaving the restroom can use a kickplate or push the door with their foot or elbow. If your doors open inward there is a foot pull that you can use to open an unlatched door with your foot.
Other Touchless Safety Features to Consider
Touchless features in restrooms are increasingly becoming standard to flush toilets and urinals and dispense soap and water for washing hands. Water fountains are another place where safety is a concern, so we’re seeing many churches adding bottle fillers to existing water fountains or replacing them entirely with touchless bottle fillers. Also, some building codes now require occupancy sensors that turn off lights when rooms aren’t in use. You can program these to turn lights on as well, meaning that no one needs to touch a light switch in your church building.
Another feature that helps guests feel safe in your church building is a good set of signs. Having informative wayfinding signs throughout your church property is a way for people to navigate without having to worry about talking to too many people or wandering into room after room, perhaps touching doorknobs as they go.
The Importance of Natural Light in Your Church Building
Studies show that natural light is helpful in killing viruses, which is one more reason to enhance the natural light in your church design. Natural light makes a room warmer, more friendly, and open feel, which also means people will feel safer.
We are also integrating more outdoor spaces into church designs, such as larger patios and gathering spaces. This provides church leaders with more flexibility, when the weather is good, for fellowship outside or even hold a service outside in the open air.
With these and other options, the pandemic is providing us with opportunities to look at church design from different perspectives. This is part of what we provide in our free i3 webinar series, so we encourage you to sign up here for our upcoming webinars.