On March 28, 2020 at 7pm, the Ontario government issued a new Order in Council prohibiting organized public events or social gatherings of more than 5 people.
The Order specifically prohibits a gathering of more than five people for the purposes of conducting religious services, rites or ceremonies.
This contrasts with the information CCCC received on March 26 in response to our letter about the ability of churches to use their facilities to produce digital worship services, devotionals, etc. That response emphasized the need to respect the prior limit of 50 people as well as social distancing and other hygiene measures.
Churches will now need to ensure that there are no more than 5 people gathered for the purpose of conducting religious services, even if it is for digital distribution only.
The only listed exemptions are a gathering of members of a single household, and a gathering for the purposes of a funeral service which is limited to 10 people.
This Order in Council must be read along with the listing of essential workplaces. There is no indication that this Order is intended to change the listing of essential workplaces that are allowed to continue operations for those purposes.
Church and charity leaders are invited to share how they are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic within their organization in our online community forum The Green: COVID-19 Response Room.
Posted March 28, 2020 @ 11:20pm
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.