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Mendalla

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Effective this weekend, churches can reopen in Ontario. They can only operate at 30% capacity and must follow various guidelines (social distancing between households, etc ).

Other gatherings are restricted to 10 people (up from 5).

What do you think? Are.you headed back to church? Is your church reopening? What is happening in other provinces?
 

ChemGal

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I feel like the city here is really just starting it's first major wave, and things are opening up. Churches have been up for a while. It's hard to keep up with all the changes (not just worship, in general). I looked it up

May 14 - 50 people or 1/3 of normal attendance, whichever is smaller, plus there needed to be enough space to distance plus screening questions for those entering, kids with parents/no kids programming, congregational singing not allowed (soloists/cohort groups could sing with a large distance from others). Drive In services were kind of encouraged too.
May 23 - similar to 14th, but some changes: those under 2 yrs old don't factor into headcount, extra precautions had to be in place for those at-risk, organizers should ask for contact info for tracing purposes but people aren't required to give it, congregational singing allowed but discouraged

Stage 2 (June 12) - no cap for religious services although distance between cohorts is needed, weddings & funerals ceremonies 100 max, with distance (as earlier, cohorts don't have to distance), social events (so like the wedding reception) - 50 people max if indoors, outdoor social events can have 100, social events before & after services are to be avoided (ie. coffee time, lunches), children's programming is allowed for those over the age of 2, that info is included under day camps.

There's an entire document for each of the 3 dates, much of the info is repeated and it does include things like cleaning, having hand sanitizer available, limits on how items can be shared including mics, etc.

I am confused as to what's just recommended vs. required. I think it's because they don't really want to police all of it, they just expect people to follow the guidelines regardless of what's legal. For example, it sounded like the 2 family gatherings that resulted in outbreaks were failing at the distancing measures, but no one was charged AFAIk and Dr. Hinshaw has been speaking out saying they were unlucky, there were many others who did the same things but no one happened to be sick and they did the right thing in terms of coming forward, getting tested and giving info.

The cohort thing is really going to alter how many can be in a space too. It used to be 2 families for a cohort, now it's 15 people for the household one *and* there can be 50 for a team/ensemble/choir/etc. Crossover is allowed, so that's up to 750 individuals who could be linked. I don't understand the distancing rules - like can a household cohort and a team cohort sit together all at once or if someone is with their 49 other people can say their spouse not be there if they aren't part of that group cohort?
It's all beyond what I'm comfortable with, but again, healthcare system is doing ok.
 
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Luce NDs

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Virtual church is the in thing ... really! It has all gone down the hole with great powers that overgrew their esteem ...
 

Waterfall

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I wont be going to back to church just yet.....I will continue to listen online to various services.
I feel its too soon.
 

Northwind

Still knitting. Walking the path to health.
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Churches in BC can gather as long as gatherings are fewer than 50 people who can maintain proper distancing. Our officials are firm on the 50 people for gatherings such as churches because of the risk of virus spread in gatherings. I'm not aware of what is happening. I just know that churches where I've been involved are continuing on as they have for the last few months. I don't see us attending in person for awhile
 

Seeler

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Virtual church has been very successful with our congregation. Actually I think I heard that more people tuned in than regularly attended church each Sunday. I know our Bible study group that used to meet at the church on Sunday mornings before worship, has better attendance virtually than what they did in real life. Of course, virtually attend in their pyjamas, and they can come from a distance. A former member who moved to Mexico is active again virtually.

But it's not the same! I long for real human connection. People worshiping together,

I had hoped that through the summer months we would open. Usually we join with another congregation. But if each church held its own service, the limit of 50 would be okay.

But plans have already been made months ago. The ministers (a total of four in the two churches) have planned their holidays and family time. Likewise the choir and support people. Planned renovations to part of the roof are taking place. Will continue to meet virtually.

In the fall will we still be restricted to 50 people? Our congregation is regularly much more than that.
Question – could the balcony with a separate entrance from outside be considered a separate space from the sanctuary floor? That way we could accommodate 100? If the Minister and choir members entered through a third enterance, could that be another group?
Our church seats over 1000, so 150 would not make up a third of the possible congregation.
 

Lastpointe

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I am puzzled by the different rules for different things

so churches can operate at 30% capacity. For our congregation that would mean about 100 allowed in the sanctuary. But funerals can’t. And weddings can’t. And you can’t get a hair cut but you can a massage

i get that it is all tricky but I am unsure of why churches are getting a bigger crowd. Does that mean an office can go back. A concert in a bar?.......
 

Northwind

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I have similar questions @Lastpointe. We went to a pub to eat last week. They can operate at a percentage of their capacity. I think it's 50% For that place, its 67 people. Churches still must be fewer than 50 people even if the sanctuary holds 1000.

We can get haircuts, massage therapy and physio.
 

Mendalla

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And you can’t get a hair cut but you can a massage
As of tomorrow morning you can get a haircut in Ontario outside of the GTA and Windsor.

But the 30% thing is interesting. Guessing that someone thought that was easier to understand than 33,3% (a third). Some of the UCCan congregations that I have attended were pretty much running at a third capacity anyhow save during high seasons like the later Sundays in Advent and Lent.
 

ChemGal

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I am puzzled by the different rules for different things

so churches can operate at 30% capacity. For our congregation that would mean about 100 allowed in the sanctuary. But funerals can’t. And weddings can’t. And you can’t get a hair cut but you can a massage

i get that it is all tricky but I am unsure of why churches are getting a bigger crowd. Does that mean an office can go back. A concert in a bar?.......
And here for a while haircuts were ok but massages aren't until tomorrow.
 

You just never know

Blip, blip, blip....
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Will probably wait until the vaccine is available. Online is working fine for me and looks like Hillhurst will not be holding in person services anytime soon. Some churches in Calgary are open so wish them the best. A smaller United church in Calgary had 41 people at a service in mid-March, 26 came down with Covid and two passed away. They had been doing social distancing, but still this sadness happened.
 

EasternOrthodox

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My church is opening in July but we can’t have the whole congregation there at once. Not sure we will organize that.

Being an older person, I’m content to wait a bit.
 

EasternOrthodox

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Will probably wait until the vaccine is available. Online is working fine for me and looks like Hillhurst will not be holding in person services anytime soon. Some churches in Calgary are open so wish them the best. A smaller United church in Calgary had 41 people at a service in mid-March, 26 came down with Covid and two passed away. They had been doing social distancing, but still this sadness happened.
That’s scary. I can understand your point. Being older, I’d be at risk. I too may wait till there’s a vaccine.
 

Nancy

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My church hasn't even had a Board meeting during all of this! I have written to our Board chair a couple of times with ideas, but they go nowhere. I don't even get a response, other than through the grapevine: "Nancy had an idea but it's something we've never done before." I like the people at my church, and I like our minister (but then...I pretty well like everyone), but I am not feeling very fulfilled in this congregation any more. I am the only one who appreciates Bible studies. Several are admitted atheists. I get more spiritually from my zoom meetings with the regional delegates to our grants committee! So...just trying to figure things out right now.
 

Redbaron

The Legend Continues
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Our congregational boards will be meeting this coming Monday to discuss the timing of reopening... doesn't sound like it's going to happen this weekend, and may still be some time away yet. Still, the subject is being raised and discussed. Maybe even decided upon.
 

Carolla

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I do know of a church whose position is this - we are a big affirming congregation, we are vigorous in our stance of welcoming all people who come to worship & we will not open until all of us can gather. We will continue to stream worship as has been done so far. Makes good sense to me.

@Nancy - I was chatting with a minister this week who's Council has also not met, despite her repeated encouragement to do so. Very frustrating to say the least.

Our Region sent out a memo to everyone earlier in the week with guidelines about readiness to re-open.
 

Lastpointe

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But not meeting is taking a cue from Trudeau. Who is also not meeting with parliament. The mixed messages will not help things
 
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