Dear Ontario Conference Pastors, Head Elders, Clerks, and Communication Leaders:
The Government of Ontario recently announced changes to COVID-19 public health and safety measures, including capacity and social gathering limits, that came into effect on February 17, 2022, at 12:01 a.m. Public Health cautions that every organization is different and must review its own policies, procedures, and specific operations while ensuring that the appropriate infection prevention and control measures are implemented and maintained.
What does this mean for our churches?
As recommended by Public Health, the Ontario Conference has prayerfully considered our organization’s policies, procedures, and operations; the following guidelines will apply to our churches:
Wedding, funeral or religious service, rite or ceremony capacity limits:
- The number of persons occupying any room in the building or structure while in attendance must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the room.
Gathering capacity limits:
- Social gatherings associated with a wedding, funeral or religious service, rite or ceremony may resume subject to health screening and capacity limits of:
- 50 people indoors while maintaining physical distancing of at least two meters.
- 100 people outdoors. Physical distancing as much as possible is recommended.
- Signs must be posted at all entrances to the premises in a conspicuous location visible to the public to inform individuals how to screen themselves for COVID-19 before entering the premises. Anyone experiencing symptoms should not enter the premises.
- Any person in the indoor area of the premises must wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in an indoor space.
- Post signs at all entrances to the premises in high visibility areas containing the masking requirement.
- Worship service time restrictions lifted. However, judicious discretion should be exercised.
- Children’s Sabbath School classes may resume in-person subject to capacity guidelines and health screening.
- Prayer meetings, AY, Bible class, team meetings may resume in-person subject to capacity guidelines and health screening.
- Congregational singing may resume with masking.
- Adventurer, Master Guide, and Pathfinder ministries may resume in-person subject to capacity guidelines and health screening.
- Group meals are social gatherings which are only allowed with a maximum of 50 people indoors, maintaining physical distancing and each family bringing their own food and eating in their bubbles (potlucks remain suspended).
While the Ontario Conference continues to not require proof of vaccination, those worshiping in rented facilities should note that some of our Landlords may continue to mandate that all persons entering their location be immunized, including our worshipers. As we pivot toward the emerging normal, may you face the unknown with the assurance that our great God is still in control.
- Mansfield Edwards (President)
- Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
- Virene Meikle (Treasurer)