Please have a look through this summary from Pastoral Relations Minister Judy Hare, which includes both public health orders, and some church-specific resources and considerations. (Updated October 20, 2021)
The current Public Health Orders are available online for Manitoba: Province of Manitoba | State of Emergency and Public Health Orders (gov.mb.ca)
New Public Health Orders for the Province of Manitoba were announced on October 1st, 2021 . Some of these orders came into place on October 05, 2021 with others taking effective October12, 2021 as specified in the actual Orders. These Orders are now posted on the government website and are scheduled to remain in effect until October 26,2021.
Changes in these orders that may impact faith communities are:
– numbers related to weddings and funerals – varies depending on vaccination status of those attending -indoor (section 2) outdoors (section 2) and on private property (section 1-)
– numbers related to attendance at worship based on whether the community of faith has a vaccination policy requiring all those attending who are over the age of twelve and eligible to be vaccinated to provide either proof of full vaccination or proof from the Government of Manitoba that there is a medical reason for the person not to receive a vaccine for COVID -19 (section 22)
– If there is no vaccination policy in place or if the policy/protocols do not require proof of full vaccination or proof of medical exemption from those who are over the age of twelve and are eligible for vaccination attendance at worship is limited to 25 people or 33% of the capacity whichever is greater (section 22(1))
With the noted requirement that “measures are implemented to ensure that persons attending the service are reasonably able to maintain a separation of two metres distance from other persons at the service other than persons who reside at the same private residence.” For many sanctuaries that means a number much lower than either the capacity or number stated above.
Section 29 outlines the requirements for masks in all indoor public spaces and any exceptions. An exception to the requirements for masking is NOT extended to church settings. Public Health Orders allow for removal of masks when consuming food or drink (so partaking of communion elements) and when behind a non-permeable barrier (plexiglass).
It is our understanding that for activities held within a church building other than worship, you should consult the section of the orders dealing with such activities i.e. sports matters, suppers or receptions.
email@example.com or Sabina.Mian@gov.mb.ca or call 204-795-0783
Some Ministry Personnel and communities of faith have shared responses that they have received from inquiries made of various aspects of the Public Health Orders and they are available through Pastoral Relations Minister.
If you are checking for information on the Prairie to Pine website please note that there is a time lag in the posting of updated information there so check the date and time of posting please.
The Public Health Orders are the restrictions that are mandated. Churches (businesses and other locations) can determine their own protocols. Any protocols that you design must adhere to the Public Health Orders but may be stricter than those outlined in the Public Health Orders.
Comments from the General Council Office on communities of faith considering vaccination policies was shared with Communities of Faith in the Weekly News and on the Prairie to Pine website in June, 2021: Advice re United Church Communities of Faith and vaccination policies | Prairie to Pine Regional Council (prairietopinerc.ca)
The Board of the Office of Vocation which has a responsibility for the oversight and discipline of Ministry Personnel and credentials and standards related to the practise of ministry met on September 28 & 29,2021. Among its business was discussion about Ministry Personnel and vaccinations. On October 14, 2021 an email with details of their decision was sent directly to Ministry Personnel. An interpretative memo and an FAQ sheet are posted on the General Council website outlining the COVID -19 Vaccination expectation for all active Ministry Personnel: COVID-19 Vaccination Expectation | The United Church of Canada (united-church.ca)
Public Health Orders for the Province of Ontario
These are step 3 and are available online through: O. Reg. 364/20: RULES FOR AREAS AT STEP 3, and at the ROADMAP EXIT STEP.
Numbers for religious services, weddings and funerals indoors and outdoors are specified in Schedule 3. Masks are still required. The system related to changing these orders is different than that in Manitoba, so Communities of Faith and Ministry Personnel need to stay alert to news releases in your area around any changes to the orders and restrictions. Announcements regarding vaccination passports in the province of Ontario and where those can be used were shared today.