Updated: October 11, 2021

Basic Approach

Gatherings of any kind increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19. The Diocese of British Columbia wants to minimize this risk and create safe environments for all our space users. The most important components in this endeavor include:

• creating lots of space between people
• practicing good hygiene
• staying home when feeling unwell
• instituting cleaning protocols for our spaces

When done together, these things will help keep us safe.

General Protocols

1. Risk Assessment

Assess risks by walking around common areas and taking note of commonly touched surfaces (i.e. doorknobs, countertops, light switches, etc.). Assess whether common areas are suitable for sufficient personal distancing.

2. Implement administrative measures:

  • create a health self-assessment for staff / office volunteers
  • review the diocesan sick leave policy with staff and ensure staff understand that those who are feeling unwell should remain at home
  • implement mandatory hygiene measures for staff and office volunteers, including: regular hand washing/sanitizing, sanitizing shared surfaces, regular washroom cleaning, washroom-use protocols (one person at a time), limiting traffic in the building, monitoring spaces for cleanliness, and having sufficient sanitizing / cleaning supplies stocked to permit safely re-opening
  • consider implementing appointment-only visits
  • use of masks are strongly recommended at all indoor activities

3. Install environmental measures such as a plexiglass barrier to protect office staff.

4. Post clear signage at all entries regarding:

  • Social-distancing (2 metres minimum) (BC-CDC Poster, under Resources)
  • Hand sanitizing / washing requirement (BC-CDC Poster, under Resources)
  • Requirement to stay home if feeling unwell (BC-CDC Poster, under Resources)
  • Directional management of traffic flow, where necessary (by parish)
  • Contact information in the event of queries or concerns (by parish)

5. Entrance and exit

  • A single point of entry and separate point of exit are to be maintained.
  • Where this is not possible, implement a plan for ensuring that outgoing and incoming groups do not encounter each other.

6. Hand sanitization/washing

  • Provision for, and assurance of, effective hand sanitization as people enter and leave the buildings. Sanitizers must have a minimum 60% alcohol content. See link to approved list of hand and surface sanitizers under Resources.

8. Washrooms

  • There must be a plan for the use and sanitization of washroom (e.g. a key or hall monitor).

Worship Space

1. Physical Distancing / Occupancy Limits

  • Worship occupany limits should be 50% of the total occupancy of the space, while still maintaining respectful distancing and using the whole space. Please consider the building's layout, ventilation and proximity of pews/seating when planning for occupancy.  
  • Seating should be arranged, or in the case of pews, designated and marked, to ensure that there is at least 2 metres distance in all directions between households / individuals in attendance.
  • Physical distancing regulations apply equally to parking lots and grounds.

2. Congregational Singing

  • Unmasked singing is permitted outdoors. Singing is only permitted indoors when all participants are masked and distanced. Singing must be approached with caution as it is a high-risk activity.

3. Sanitation of high-touch surfaces

  • Following each service, all high-touch areas must be sanitized. These include pew backs/chair arms; light switches; lecterns; banisters; elevator buttons; door handles; toilet handles; faucets and taps; body-pack microphones and electronics, etc.

4. Personal Protective Equipment

  • Use of masks are strongly recommended for all in-person indoor activities including worship, meetings and work space. The only exceptions are for medical or accessibility reasons. 
  • Fresh/clean disposable non-medical masks are required for clergy when administering communion.
  • Readers, preachers and officiants may remove their masks to speak, and should sanitize their hands after putting their masks back on. 

5. Children who are present must stay with their parents at all times.

6.  Socializing/coffee hour after worship indoors is not permitted.

  • This will be reviewed closely as we move through the fall 2021. An alternative option might be to host outdoor social/coffee hour after worship. Invite parishioners to bring their own beverage and chair and enjoy the beautiful outdoors where visiting might happen in a physically distanced and safer manner.