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On Friday, July 16, 2021, Ontario will enter Step 3 of the provincial government’s re-opening plan.
For churches in the Archdiocese of Toronto, starting on July 16, this will mean:
- There will be no capacity limit for indoor sacramental celebrations, but two metres (six feet) of physical distancing will still be required between parishioners who are not from the same household. This physical distancing requirement means that most churches will not see significant increases in capacity, but some parishes will use overflow spaces so more people can worship.
- The Bereavement Authority of Ontario will no longer cap capacity numbers at funerals. As with other sacramental celebrations, there will not be capacity restrictions for funerals, as long as two metres (six feet) of physical distancing can be maintained between attendees who are not from the same household.
- Meetings in parish halls or other indoor spaces are permitted in Step 3. Attendance may not exceed 50 per cent of meeting space capacity. Participants must be masked and physically distanced. Contact tracing information should also be recorded. Providing food at meetings is discouraged at this time.
- Outdoor social gatherings and public events (non-religious services) will be permitted with a maximum of 100 people.
- WorshipSafe guidelines remain in place.
- Congregational singing is not permitted in Stage 3.
- Livestreamed Masses will continue to be offered in a number of parishes and the dispensation from the Sunday obligation continues. Those who are vulnerable to COVID-19 are encouraged to exercise caution about any outings, including attending church. Virtual meetings may still replace in-person meetings where appropriate.
Ontario’s COVID-19 data is moving in the right direction and we are hopeful that in the coming weeks more restrictions will be removed.