CNS photo/Philippe Vaillancourt, Presence

New health measures for Mass vary across Canada

By 
  • December 21, 2021

As of Dec. 20, anyone entering a place of worship in Quebec will be required to show their vaccination status.

It’s all part of a tightening of health measures across the province that has seen a virtual lockdown put back in place to combat the spread of the Omicron variant that is sweeping the world. On Dec. 20, Quebec reported  4,571 cases, a single-day pandemic high and a 281-per-cent increase from the 1,628-case count of the previous Monday.

Initially, Premier Francois Legault had said Dec. 16 that 250 people could still attend indoor liturgical services regardless of immunization status and proof of vaccination would be required for places of worship wishing to welcome up to 500 people into the pews. That changed as Quebec strengthened its response to the spreading virus.

New measures were also implemented in British Columbia Dec. 20. Places of worship, however, were left untouched by the new slew of restrictions. Parishes can still host half-full celebrations if pastors choose to welcome vaccine-free congregants, or full-capacity Masses if every congregant is armed with proof of vaccination.

Ontario churches were granted an exemption from the new measures announced by Premier Doug Ford on Dec. 17. A slew of indoor public settings such as food and drink establishments, shopping malls, personal care services, retail outlets, recreational facilities and professional entertainment venues now have a 50-per-cent capacity limit.

The Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth did have to reinstitute some restrictions as of Dec. 17 following the 287 cases identified on Dec. 16 — the Atlantic province’s highest single-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic. That record has been eclipsed each of the four days since. A total of 485 cases were reported on Dec. 20.

Parishes were instructed in a letter from Deacon Robert Doyle to return to the physical distancing stipulation of six-feet between individuals and groups and instill a capacity of 50-per-cent venue capacity up to 150 people.

For updated local restrictions, see your diocese’s website.

(With files from Presence)

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