wardens, and lay readers
FROM: Bishop Bruce Myers
Last week the Quebec government announced that places of worship may reopen to in-person services as of February 7, under the following conditions, and until further notice:
INDOOR SERVICES: Attendance is restricted to 50% of a church building’s capacity, up to a maximum of 250 people. Masks must be worn at all times, a distance of one metre maintained between households, and hand sanitizer made available. Those attending services must have their vaccination passports verified at the door using the Quebec government’s VaxiCode Verif application, which is freely available for download at the Apple Store or Google Play. According to the government’s guidelines, paid staff (including musicians), volunteers required to assist with the service, and individuals who are homeless are not required to present a vaccination passport. A further exception has been made for funerals, which is detailed below. When possible, efforts should be made to provide access to the sacraments to unvaccinated individuals outside of church buildings.
FUNERALS & WEDDINGS: Funerals may proceed as outlined above. However, a funeral may be held without requiring vaccination passports if attendance is limited to 50 people (not including clergy, volunteers, and funeral home personnel), masks are worn and physical distancing observed. Weddings are subject to the same restrictions as for indoor services, including presentation of the vaccination passport.
SINGING: Congregations may sing if masked. Choirs are permitted, so long as the members of the choir wear procedural masks while singing and they remain two metres apart from each other and the congregation.
OUTDOOR SERVICES: Worship services (including funerals and weddings) may be held outdoors, so long as all participants remain at least one metre apart. Wearing masks is strongly encouraged. A maximum of 250 is permitted. Vaccination passports are not required.
COFFEE HOUR: In-person coffee hours and other fellowship gatherings after service are not permitted.
SUNDAY SCHOOL: Sunday school and other forms of Christian education can take place in person if participants wear masks, remain one metre apart, and (if over the age of 13) present a vaccination passport. The room used for any such gathering can only be used to 50% of its capacity.
HALL RENTALS: The rental of church halls is not permitted, including for receptions following funerals or weddings. An exception has been made for groups falling under the government’s “community organizations” category, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, soup kitchens, and food banks.
ANNUAL VESTRY MEETINGS: Public gatherings such as meetings are still not permitted under public health guidelines. It is therefore recommended that annual vestry meetings be delayed until the government’s restrictions on public gatherings are further relaxed.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to be in touch with me or with Archdeacon Edward Simonton (firstname.lastname@example.org).