The following is an unauthorized summary of the May 25th conference call hosted by BC Government for faith leaders.

 In

The following is an unauthorized summary of the May 25th conference call hosted by BC Government for faith leaders.

Premier Horgan, Minister Dix and Health Officer Dr. Bonny Henry were the hosts and presenters for this call.

 

First a note of appreciation: The leaders thanked faith leaders across the province for leading the initial response, as well as the innovation that churches and faith communities have made. The success in limiting the spread has been evident particularly as we compare BC to the situation of other jurisdictions. Still, the leaders are acutely aware of the losses and deaths that have occurred in BC so far.

We’re now in a transition phase but we need to ensure that don’t have to go back to the restrictions put in place back in March. Currently, churches in Georgia have been a source of spreading covid19. Also, recently 150 people came together for a church service in Frankfurt, Germany recently, and 107 people have been infected and some have died.

We still need to limit our number of contacts, and those who are older, undergoing cancer treatments, respiratory illness ought to maintain physical isolation as they are able. Best way to protect ourselves and others is to keep physical distance. Our actions save lives.

Here are some guidelines outlived in the call.

Building Usage for Worship:

  • The current limits of 50 people will be in place at least until the end of the next respiratory (Influenza) season (Spring 2021). Please maintain your current hybrid ways of maintaining services as you are best able.
  • Singing is a high-risk activity that projects droplets more than 2 metres. Limit public singing as much as possible and increase spacing to 12 ft. and/or wear masks.
  • For worship teams (and those who go into record), maintain proper distance and, sanitize used items, like wipe down microphone, as is practical. Although this is a low risk, don’t touch foam covers and then touch your face/rub your eyes. Though surface contamination is still a concern, the close personal interaction is by far the main source of contamination.
  • If you return to in-person worship, along with the limit of 50 person per gathering (which includes staff, worship leaders, ushers, etc.), please keep a 30-day record of who all came to each event with contact info. This allows for tracking in case there is a case and prevents health officials from needing to go public with the info.
  • If you have multiple spaces that could accommodate 50 people at a healthy distance for in-person worship, it is possible to host these simultaneously, making sure there is no interaction between these groups. This means separate dedicated entry and exit points, careful monitoring flow of people, dedicated washrooms, etc. This would be similar to the way a school operates.
  • Look to faith leaders to help navigate ways to offer sacraments in a socially distant manner. Please adapt and modify.
  • Clean washrooms after each use.

 

Alternatives to in-person worship:

  • Please maintain the online options for worship at least for the rest of this year.
  • Henry was asked if small group of up to 15 people could meet at someone’s home. She responded with 2 families could join together, provided this would be the other family they will continue with throughout this time. Can’t be switching which people meet every week. In other words, chose the bubble you’ll be in and stay in that group.
  • Kids still need to stay further apart, not touch others and keep their germs to themselves.
  • Kitchen UsageNo buffets anytime soon. Although risky, meals are permitted provided they are prepared by people at a safe distance, and the meals are either plated or prepackaged.
  • Interjurisdiction Travel for Funerals: There are no current restrictions to prevent someone from another province to attend a funeral BC, provided they are all healthy (if sick, stay away) and follow the same guidelines of limit and distance for worship space as well as aligning with the practices of the funeral homes.
  • Addressing Racism: Premier Horgan informed us that there is currently a non-partisan pledge appeal to stand up to racism denounce racism & hate.
  • Financial Impact to Faith Communities & Charities:There are some existing funds in place as well as some breaks in property taxes, but it might help if you are able to inventory your increased costs due to Covid19.
  • BC survey:There are 330,000 responses to the survey. There is under-representation by seniors and those in South Asian communities. Please encourage parishioners to fill out the survey.

Other items: 

  • If your church has a thrift store, this is better to hold it outside if possible.
  • There is a higher risk for people 65+ and those with underlying conditions.
  • As we’ve seen in other jurisdictions, and outbreak can easily make us lose the progress we’ve made.
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