Urgent COVID-19 Update on Gathering Sizes

Greetings to our brothers and sisters in Christ,

On Thursday, September 17, 2020, Premier Doug Ford announced changes to the guidelines for organized public events and social gatherings. Starting today, Friday, September 18, 2020, gathering limits will be reduced to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors in the hotspots of Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa.

The rollback in restrictions applies to social events and gatherings like private functions, parties, dinners, and BBQs held in backyards, homes, parks and other recreational areas. At this time, it does not include events and gatherings held in staffed businesses or facilities such as movie theatres, restaurants, banquet halls, gyms, convention centres, schools or places of worship. These settings follow public health guidelines by masking, using hand sanitizer, requiring selfassessment and following physical distancing. In these spaces, the protocols are also enforced by staff and teachers.

Wedding ceremonies and funeral services do not fall under the amendment to the provincial order; however, a large wedding reception or funeral repast held in a private residence, backyard, or park will fall under the new gathering limits.

Failure to obey the restrictions could result in a severe fine of $10,000 to the host(s)/organizer(s) and $750 to each attendee.

Our churches that have been authorized to reopen may continue conducting worship services at 30% of the building capacity so long as all provincial orders, public health and Ontario Conference guidelines are fully respected. Churches not yet approved but wishing to resume in-person worship can still submit their plans for approval.

The Ontario Conference continues to monitor this evolving situation closely. All entities of our organization must maintain the flexibility needed to address the ongoing and emerging risks, as well as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We all must continue to exercise caution and maintain the commitment to upholding the guidelines. It is wise for all churches to have a plan in place should there be a return to lockdown. Thank you for your support.

Grace and blessings,

Ontario Conference Risk Management Department

 

Click here for the PDF statement from Risk Management on this critical update.