Mass restrictions loosen further as of July 16 in Ontario

  • July 14, 2021

With Ontario moving into Step 3 of its reopening plan as of 12:01 a.m. July 16, there will no longer be capacity limits for places of worship. That won’t mean, however, that churches will be wide open for Mass.

Physical distancing requirements — two metres between parishioners not from the same household — remain in place which means most churches will not be able to fill their pews.

“Due to the physical distancing requirement, most churches will not realize any significant increase in capacity,” said Cardinal Thomas Collins in a memo to clergy and staff of the Archdiocese of Toronto. “Parishes with larger halls may be able to accommodate increased capacity as an overflow space should the parish have technology to livestream Mass to the hall.”

The same restrictions will be in place for funerals as well.

Step 3 will allow for loosened restrictions surrounding other activities within parishes. Meetings in parish halls or other indoor spaces are permitted but must not exceed 50 per cent of meeting space capacity, participants must be masked and physically distanced. Contact tracing must take place and food service is discouraged.

Outdoor social gatherings and public events (non-religious services) are permitted with a 100-person maximum.

“We are hopeful that in the weeks ahead, we will be able to remove additional restrictions that have been in place over the past year,” said the cardinal, noting daily COVID cases are declining and vaccination rates increase.

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