Dear Ontario Conference Pastors, Head Elders, Clerks, and Communication Leaders:
In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, beginning yesterday, January 12, 2021, the Ontario government declared a second provincial state of emergency. Also, effective Thursday, January 14, 2021, at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order; this will require everyone to remain at home with exceptions for activities such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for work where the work cannot be done remotely.
While the state of emergency calls for no indoor organized public events and social gatherings, except with members of the same household, and the limiting of outdoor gatherings to five, concerning wedding services, funeral services and other religious services, rites or ceremonies, there is currently an exception. Where physical distancing can be maintained and in compliance with the rules on face coverings, the permissible numbers are as follows:
- Ten people indoors
- Ten people outdoors
The language given by the government regarding face coverings has been enhanced. It states, “Every person in the premises of a business or organization that is open shall ensure that they wear a mask or face covering that covers their mouth, nose and chin, when they are in indoor areas of the premises, with limited exemptions.”
The Ontario Conference firmly maintains the position of following the more cautious and safest approach of moving all of our services online until further notice. However, if your church continues to use the building for worship services, live streaming, pre-recording, or any other purposes, the maximum number of people allowed in the building at the same time is ten (10), irrespective of where they may be situated within the facility. The facecovering mandate must be stringently enforced, and all other existing provincial, municipal, and Conference COVID measures remain strictly in place. Should you re-broadcast content filmed before the state of emergency, it is prudent to use a previously recorded overlay to indicate so.
The situation remains fluid and can change at any time. Please have plans in place to meet a variety of scenarios, including the possibility of not being permitted to use our church buildings.
May the grace of Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you always.
- Mansfield Edwards (President)
- Jakov Bibulovic (Executive Secretary)
- Virene Meikle (Treasurer)