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Parishes may return to Amber Stage Guidelines

The College of Bishops has authorized that parishes may return to the Amber Stage Guidelines if the parish leadership agrees that it is the right decision for their community. As of Monday, March 15, those parishes in the Grey designated health regions in the Diocese (Toronto and Peel) may gather for worship at a 15% capacity of the space, with physical distancing.  Those parishes in the Red, Orange, Yellow or Green designated health regions may gather for worship at a 30% capacity of the space, with physical distancing. Other gatherings are permitted, again with physical distancing and the wearing of masks indoors, to the limits allowed by the various government-imposed colour levels. Everyone is responsible for being aware of the restrictions of their health region’s colour level. (See “Gatherings and Close Contact” under each colour.)

Parishes that wish to re-open under the Amber Stage Guidelines are to consult with their Regional Dean and/or Area Bishop before doing so. If your Area Bishop and/or any of the signatories to your original checklist have changed since submission, please refresh and re-sign your checklist and re-submit it. The March 2021 Amber Stage Guidelines checklist is here.

None of the Amber Stage Guidelines have changed. All of the same protocols are in place as when they were first introduced in September 2020. Masks must be worn indoors, including for preachers, presiders, readers and singers. No congregational or choral singing is permitted; only one voice may sing at a time. All persons must be physically distanced, including in the chancel and choir. Screening must take place upon arrival and contact logs made and retained. Cleaning of the space must occur between gatherings.

As we move through these coming months towards greater safety, we do anticipate that some restrictions will be lifted gradually. Any changes will be communicated promptly as decisions are made. In the meantime, please continue to exercise extreme caution in the face of continuing challenges: a pervasive and potentially devastating virus, worrisome and unpredictable variants, and a slow vaccination roll-out. We ask your continued vigilance and prayers.