On July 12, 2021, we received news from the Archdiocese of Toronto that the provincial government has announced that Ontario will be moving to Step 3 of the "Roadmap for Reopening" on Friday, July 16th.
Here are some of the highlights of these new regulations as they apply to our parish community:
For sacramental celebrations, in Step 3, there is no capacity limit for places of worship. However, physical distancing of 2 metres (6 ft.) is still required between parishioners attending Mass who are not from the same household.
Due to the physical distancing requirement, most churches will not realize any significant increase in capacity. 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.
Congregational singing is not permitted at this time however we shall be commencing the signing of certain parts of our Mass by our cantor.
Our regular Saturday confessions at 4 pm will resume in the waiting area outside the parish office. The confessions will be held a screen to maintain anonymity, and a volunteer will clean the confessional space between each penitent.
If you wish to make an appointment for confessions at a different date/time than our Saturday confessions, please contact the parish office at StJosephtheWorkerOS@archtoronto.ca or 905-432-2300.
For funerals, the Bereavement Authority of Ontario is no longer implementing a maximum capacity restriction for funerals. Similar to other sacramental celebrations, there are no capacity restrictions for funerals as long as 2 metres (6 ft.) of physical distancing can be maintained between attendees who are not from the same household.
OUTDOOR SOCIAL GATHERINGS
Outdoor social gatherings and public events (non-religious services) are permitted with a maximum of 100 people.
At present, parishes have a variety of operating hours, sacramental celebrations and activities. In light of Step 3 guidelines, some parishes may expand on-site efforts.
Recognizing many employees already are working on-site, parishes should discern the need for an increased in-person presence. Parish offices may wish to adjust their office hours to open to the public at limited times each week.
Those working remotely should continue to do so unless otherwise advised by the Pastor.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Please continue to take great care in implementing robust health and safety measures in the rectory and office. In addition to keeping our parishioners safe, every measure should be taken to protect our clergy, essential staff and any volunteers who are required to assist at this time. As parishes begin to offer more public operating hours, where distancing is not possible, mask use should be employed in office settings or in dealing with the public.
Let us continue to pray for each other during these challenging times.