Indoor and outdoor worship can start this weekend! At yesterday’s daily news briefing, the Ontario government announced that Step 1 of its 2021 reopening plan will begin at 12:01 am, Friday June 11. Step 1 has been adjusted so that some things originally planned for Step 2 have been moved up, including indoor worship services.
Indoor worship will be allowed at 15% capacity of the particular room. Outdoor worship will be allowed in unlimited numbers subject to space for physical distancing. Wedding services and funerals are subject to the same limits as religious services.
Outdoor social gatherings increase from 5 to 10 people. Indoor gatherings are still prohibited.
Day camps are allowed, subject to guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
There is no change for schools, which remain closed for the duration of the 2020-2021 school year; however, the government is allowing in person, outdoor end-of-year celebrations. There is a list of specific rules that must be followed, including no gowns , physical distancing and outdoor masking, maximum 2 guests per student, and no pre- or post- ceremonial gatherings.
Full details are in Regulation 440/21, which must be read in conjunction with Regulation 82/20, now called “Rules for Areas in Shutdown Zone and at Step 1.” Basically, the new Regulation (440/21) revises “Grey Zone” rules to become the “Step 1” rules. Interestingly, it appears that while the scope of retailers permitted to open is broader, the capacity limits for some stores (e.g. grocery) is reduced from 50% to 25% (O.Reg. 440/21, s 11(2)). One benefit is that all goods can now be sold – the government’s categorization of “essential” and “non-essential” no longer applies. Ontarians are allowed to buy socks again!
We’ve summarized the 2021 reopening plans in this blog. For even more info and links, you can also check this reference chart. Please note that we do our best to keep on top of the frequent changes, but there may be a delay in the updates.
Noteworthy is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Every organization’s circumstances are unique. Before acting on the basis of information contained in this blog, readers should consult with a qualified lawyer for advice specific to their situation.