‘CRES’ founded 1982 _ “On the web since 1997”  —   Pilgrim Chapel 816.753.6719 #TOP

Vern's Health Advice for Pilgrim Chapel

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colds, flu, COVID, other infectious diseases

2024 update

Let Vern know if you have health concerns for your ceremony.
The Pilgrim Chapel provides excellent ventilation
and is always rigorously
cleansed throughout.
If you wish, masks can be available for
any of your guests wishing them.

In some circumstances, Vern may be masked for part of the occasion.

2023 January 12
COVID cases continue, now with flu and RSV.
More transmissible variants continue to emerge.
We   all   hope   the  mask policy   can   be  discontinued  very  soon!
Only well people  should attend  weddings.
The Kansas City area is now "medium" danger so that
guests do not need to be masked unless you request it.
Guests at small weddings need not be masked indoors
but I am currently assuring masks are available for anyone.
The most recent variable of concern is the XBB.1.5, very transmissable.
Covid-19 transmission positivity rate above 5% is considered uncontrolled.
The US rate is now 15%.

The COVID death rate in KC has just doubled (2022 Dec 12).

2022 Sept. 1
COVID cases are continuing.
We all hope the mask policy can be discontinued very soon!
Only well people should attend weddings.
The Kansas City area is now "medium" danger so that
guests do not need to be masked unless you request it.
Guests at small weddings need not be masked indoors.

You still may want to seriously consider everyone masking
if any of your guests are elderly or health-challenged in any way.
Masks are still highly recommended but otherwise not required
for short weddings with the pews no more than half full of guests.
I will be masked.
  I've been vaxxed 2x and boosted 3x (#3 bivalent)
I model for older or compromised guests
 so they are comfortable if they choose to mask,
I owe this to you and your guests and
also to my special needs son who lives with me.
Other mitigations (like excellent ventilation) are already in place.
We all hope no new variants will require return to earlier policies.

We often see considerable variation in our 5-county area.
lastest map here       waste-water altert here
positivity rates    preparation advice

mask advice

At over 100 weddings during COVID,
masks have been required for everyone except the couple.
For earlier masking advice, click here.   Top of this page here.

Health and Safety
Your wedding is a joyous occasion!
You and your guests want to be safe and to feel safe.

The following is retained on this page
in the most unwelcome event
of a new COVID variant or other unexpected surge.

     Extra Wedding Attire
except for the couple during the ceremony

Masks inside the Chapel building 
are required for all persons two and older,
 regardless of vaccination status.

Only well people should 
attend weddings.

--Vern Barnet's policy
with details below

Why this is important as the pandemic continues

Your officiant's latest policy will be abandoned when the 
Post Office and our local medical facilities,
airplanes, KC buses, libraries, and such
no longer require masks for visitors. 
It either echoes or is stricter
than legal requirements.

Test kits and K95 masks are available
at no charge from the US government.


Because the prevalence of the virus in our community waxes and wanes in ways that cannot be adequately predicted, and variant forms of the virus can suddenly worsen the situation before we are aware of it, continuing precautions are advisable to assure a safe wedding day -- and days after. 

Extra Wedding Attire

  The focus of a wedding, and wedding planning, should be the expression of your love and commitment. This is such a happy thing, and I always feel so wonderfully privileged to be a part of the celebration. All of the weddings I have done at Pilgrim Chapel and elsewhere since 2020 March 20 have been wonderfully joyous occasions, despite the extra attire. 

Some couples have even provided masks customized with their names and the wedding date for their guests. 

Should any of your invited family members and guests indicate ahead of time that they do not want to wear masks and are not fully vaccinated, please feel free to share this with them. Folks with asthma who cannot tolerate masks should wait outside until the wedding begins and then sit in the back of the Chapel.

Masks protect both the wearer and those around the wearer by limiting the transmission of the virus to others as well as reducing the likelihood of the wearer becoming infected. 

You, as bride and groom, are not required to wear masks during the ceremony, but if your attendants are uncomfortable with being close to you during the ceremony, you might consider wearing a mask along with everyone else except for the embrace after you are pronounced married.

The folks at Pilgrim Chapel and I are masked even though we have been vaccinated  because even those vaccinated can trasmit Covid in all its variants. We would not want to take any chance of transmitting the virus in any of its variants to you or your guests. Since the virus can be transmitted by aerosol up to 16 feet away in closed spaces, it is difficult to be certain that one is not a spreader, especially if one has no symptoms. I am masked to model to reassure your guests that the wedding environment is safe.

Vaccinations can be up to 95% effective for a time, but that means that 5 persons out of every 100 are are susceptible to the disease if exposed to it. The new variants are particularly transmissible, and breakthrough infections including death happen.

Ventilation is why I ask the Chapel staff to turn on the ceiling fans.

All guests at a wedding will want to show that they cherish the couple, the families, and friends gathered for the occasion by wearing masks properly *unless every single person at the wedding has verifiably completed the vaccination protocol and you wish a maskless ceremony.

Although surface contagion is rare, right before and after the ceremony, I sanitize my hands so any objects I touch that you will touch will be as safe as possible.

GROOM'S HELP.-- Only once since the pandemic bagan, during which I've performed over 100 weddings, have I had trouble with someone refusing to wear a mask. When he would not respond to my request, I called on the groom (more available than the bride) to speak to that person who then complied so the wedding could proceed.

If you might want a photo of me without a mask, many photographers have found that I can stand outside on the steps of the Chapel with the couple without masks some distance ahead of me. A photo at the Chapel door makes a lovely picture. A quick photo inside is also possible, depending on the timing and the position of the guests.


Masks are worn to cover the nose and the mouth. Here is a link to good advice about masks. Children under 2 should not wear masks.
     About 40 percent of infections are transmitted by people who have no symptoms and do not know they are infected. Gargles like Listerine for even 30 seconds (a minute is better) appear to greatly reduce the chance of transmitting the contagion and should be practiced by everyone before attending a public event, even though it does not afford much protection, if any, to the person who gargles. 
     Since we cannot be certain we are not infected (unless we have been quarantined for 14 days or maybe if we have been vaccinated), we should gargle and wear a mask to express our regard and affection for those around us. 

My reasoning is based on what I understand are the factors in air transmission as they apply to us:
- viral load
- variant
- distance (proximity)
- exposure time
- ventilation
- interventions and mitigations (like masks and gargles)

CDC NIOSH approved n95 masks:

NYTimes; How to Double-Mask

NYTimes: Masks Protect

NYTimes on masks

WaPo on masks

Finding genuine K95, KN95, KF94 etc

Charting Omicron infection . . . recovery, long Covid, or death


BRIDE DIES -- A colleague of mine recently performed a wedding at which guests did not wear masks. Shortly after the wedding, the bride and groom were sick with COVID and the bride died in the hospital. Masks are such a small inconvenience to prevent such sorrow.


earlier advice