Michael Swan

Grey zone worship restrictions relaxed

  • March 12, 2021

Restrictions on places of worship in grey lockdown zones will be loosened and churches will be able to host services with up to 15 per cent of their capacity as of March 15.

After a week of consultations following the “A Place to Worship” campaign launched by the Archdiocese of Toronto March 5, the province is allowing churches in Toronto and Peel Region to begin welcoming more parishioners. 

“This is a significant improvement from the hard cap of 10 people that has been in place for several months and it is a more balanced approach in light of the recently relaxed restrictions in other sectors,” Cardinal Thomas Collins said in a statement.
The campaign asked the faithful to contact their MPPs to ask for a “fair and balanced approach to restrictions for places of worship.” Under the current grey zone lockdown rules, areas like Toronto and Peel were only allowed 10 participants in a service, including the celebrant. More than 13,000 people took up the cardinal’s call.A diverse group of faith leaders met virtually with Premier Doug Ford, Health Minister Christine Elliot and the health officials to discuss these concerns earlier this week.

“I wish to extend my profound gratitude to the provincial government for sharing generously of their time and for the healthy dialogue that was exchanged,” Collins said. “I know many Members of Provincial Parliament also advocated for a just and equitable approach for places of worship, on behalf of their constituents, and I thank them as well.”

Collins is asking churches in these areas to begin celebrating public Masses as soon as they are able, “as early as March 15, 2021 and no later than Thursday, March 18, 2021.” He has also called for continued diligence in abiding by COVID protocols.

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