September 2, 2021 Dear friends, September is upon us and we had all hoped that we would be returning to 'normal and that the remaining COVID restrictions would be lifted. Unfortunately, case counts and hospitalizations continue to rise and children are still not vaccinated.
As per provincial health order, as of September 13 proof of vaccination will be required for attendance at many settings including:
This means that for someone to attend a parish council meeting, Bible study, choir practice etc. they are required to provide proof of at least one dose of vaccine. This will increase to two doses on October 24. Parishes need to institute practices to ensure we comply with this order.
While the province is not requiring proof of vaccination for worship, public health officials have made it clear that faith leaders are permitted and encouraged to introduce additional measures beyond the provincial minimum standards.
For this reason, in consultation with the COVID taskforce, archdeacons and the officers of Synod I have decided that beginning Sunday, September 12, unvaccinated individuals over the age of 12 will be asked to participate virtually only for the next few months, while vaccination rates continue to improve. People whose home parish does not have an online option are encouraged to participate in the livestreamed services being offered elsewhere, including our cathedral. We will not be checking for proof of vaccination at the doors of Sunday worship and will trust folk to respect these restrictions. The same standard will apply to wedding and funeral services. While we will not be requiring proof of vaccination at the door we do ask the unvaccinated to participate online instead of attending in person.
The decision to implement these changes is based on our collective responsibility to care for and protect the most vulnerable, particularly at this time, our unvaccinated children.
Regarding things like the return to shared meals, we are taking an incremental approach to resuming activities and, at least for September, will permit socializing outdoors only.