Just in time for worshipers hoping to gather for religious and faith celebrations in March and April, Dr. Bonnie Henry has removed some COVID-19 restrictions to allow for outdoor and some limited indoor services.
In a public bulletin issued March 25, B.C.’s public health officer has authorized that up the lesser of 50 people or 10 per cent capacity of the worship space can be present at an indoor worship service.
Religious communities can choose four days between Sunday, March 28 and May 13, 2021, to hold worship services indoors, unless, an area is excluded because of high-levels of COVID-19 transmission.
Outdoor services are permitted with up to 50 people attending, plus 50 vehicles with people inside who are from the same household.
Anyone who attends in vehicles must remain in them.
Outdoors includes an open-sided tent, under overhead covering, or in a vehicle containing persons who reside in the same private residence.
Worship services can include funerals, but not weddings or baptisms.
Henry stipulated that physical distancing must be adhered to during the service except for members of the same household and all participants must wear a face covering.
Masks can be removed to read or for the consumption of food or drink provided during and for the purpose of worship.
A soloist can sing, but no choirs are allowed. A musician, however, or a musical group of no more than five musicians, may play at a service.
Attendance for the purposes of contract tracing is required and once the service is complete, participants are required to leave immediately.
This relaxation of COVID restrictions will surely be a welcome change for the many who find strength and solace in personally attending worship services.