This entry is part 32 of 33 in the series COVID-19.

Effective Friday June 12, 2020 all places of worship in Ontario could open at 30% capacity.

Initially, the only guidance available was from Workplace Safety and Prevention Services: Guidance on Health & Safety for Places of Worship. You can also find this document on the Ontario listing of Sector-Specific Guidance page; scroll to the bottom and search the table for “worship”.

On June 15, the Ontario Ministry of Health released additional guidance: COVID-19 Advice: Religious Services, Rites or Ceremonies. It contains much more detail as to core elements of religious practice, making it similar to the highly prescriptive and limiting guidance from other provinces. You cannot find this document listed independently on the Sector-Specific Guidance page; it is found on this Ministry of Health site or by a link within the Workplace Safety guidance.

Additionally, some local public health authorities have also released guidance (i.e. Algoma Public HealthToronto Public Health).

The guidance sometimes conflicts and there is a lack of clarity as to what is obligatory and what is mandatory. This raises many questions about how to re-open. We suggest reaching out to your local public health officials. This aligns with the regional approach taken by the province and can help promote dialogue between church and public officials.

Posted June 25, 2019

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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.

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