Media Statement Regarding Guidance and Requirements for Faith Based Organizations
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Issued: Thursday, December 24, 2020 | 11 a.m. | Windsor-Essex County
The following statement can be attributed to Dr. Wajid Ahmed, Medical Officer of Health for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU):
"In the midst of the Holiday season the WECHU would like to remind everyone to celebrate safely. While many places of worship have voluntarily closed their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, some plan to continue to offer in person services. Anyone offering or attending in-person religious or faith services in Windsor-Essex must adhere to requirements under Grey Lockdown of Ontario’s provincial framework and all local instructions and guidance to ensure our community stays healthy and safe.
Under the Grey – Lockdown provincial measures, Faith-Based Organizations and Faith Leaders must continue to limit the number of people attending services at any given time to a maximum of 10 people. This limit of 10 includes parishioners, officiants, and staff. These requirements are enforceable under the Reopening Ontario Act and can include fines for organizations/businesses and individuals that violate the order ranging from $750 to $100,000 dollars.
Given the continued rise in cases of COVID-19 in our community and the risk to residents of Windsor-Essex, I am not recommending in person gatherings of any kind due to the high risk of disease transmission. To keep everyone safe I recommend that faith leaders limit in-person services and opt for virtual services only. Consideration of any in person services must adhere to the follow guidelines and requirements:
- Limit to no more than 10 persons at any given time indoors or outdoors, this includes officiants, parishioners and staff.
- Actively screen all attendees and refuse participation to anyone that fails the COVID screening.
- Ensure physical distancing at all times.
- Ensure all attendees wear a mask or face covering."