In June of 2020, after being closed since the middle of March because of the Coronavirus, we formed a Reopening Committee with the task of creating a document that would outline plans for a safe reopening of our retreat house. This committee studied information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Pennsylvania Governor’s office and Pennsylvania Health Department, the Diocese of Allentown and the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist, our sponsoring entity. This group met weekly for eight weeks and created new policies for our staff and guests in order to ensure the health and safety for all.
During the month of August, 2020, our building was professionally cleaned and disinfected. Plexiglas shields have been installed in the food service areas, dishwashing room, lobby and gift shop. Signage is posted as well as necessary social distancing markings. Hand disinfectant stations were installed throughout our facility. We invested in our own commercial grade electrostatic sanitizing equipment so that rooms could be thoroughly disinfected before each group arrives. Certain bedrooms and other common rooms have been closed where social distancing and safety cannot be guaranteed. By the end of August, we were ready to welcome the first group back into our facility.
During our time of closure, we began to investigate new and innovative ways of giving retreats through virtual, online offerings.
What follows is a summary of what you can expect upon arrival at Saint Francis:
+Our occupancy is limited to 40 individuals. We have 40 rooms with private bathrooms. Prior to COVID-19 we were able to house 96 individuals in three different types of wings. Those options are no longer available.
+Youth groups will be required to do a wellness check prior to arrival. Adult groups will be required to complete a wellness questionnaire upon arrival and have temperatures taken and recorded. Anyone with a temperature of 100.5 or greater will not be allowed to continue check-in.
+State mandates require that all of our guests must wear a mask/face covering in all public areas of the building. Likewise, our staff has been asked to follow these same guidelines.
+Clean linens and towels are provided all guests or you may bring your own.
+Social distancing of 6ft apart is in place in all public areas of the retreat house.
+All small break-out rooms have been closed.
+Increased cleaning and sanitation in all areas of the building.
+Self-serve buffet has been eliminated. Kitchen personnel and volunteers will plate all meals and present the tray to retreatants.
+While there is increased cleaning of all public bathrooms, we encourage guests to use their own private bathroom in their bedroom.
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We are pleased to welcome you back to Saint Francis Retreat House. We trust that guests will follow all of our “new normal” guidelines to insure the safety of all of their fellow retreatants and our staff, too.
We invite you to consider attending one of our sponsored retreats or bringing your own group here. And, don’t forget we almost always have room for individuals desiring a time of private retreat…a day or several days.
We all continue to have great concern for all those suffering from COVID-19. They and all of our first responders are in our prayers. We also hold all of those who have died from this disease in our memory as we pray for their loved ones who grieve their loss.