Statement from ICP re: Phase 2 Re-Opening of Places of Worship this Friday June 12th.
We are living in difficult times. Religious community is built around gathering together in prayer, ritual, and relationship. During this Covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to do these things together in the ways to which we are accustomed. Our Peel faith communities have found new ways to innovate and create community, reaching out virtually during this time to engage and support our members and community under the social distancing guidelines.
The Interfaith Council of Peel recognizes that the emergency measures have taken a significant toll on our places of worship and congregations and that faith communities yearn to gather in person. As measures are changing and places of worship have been permitted to begin opening at 30% capacity effective this Friday June 12, 2020, we acknowledge those who celebrate the change but reaffirm the need for patience and caution as we each consider plans for reopening our in-person faith and communal functions. While we yearn for connection and the chance to worship together, and understand and respect Premier Ford’s announcement transitioning Ontario towards the easing of restrictions, COVID-19 remains a considerable threat. It is the health, safety, and well-being of our communities and neighbors that motivate us towards making decisions that will care for and protect one another.
We are diverse in our worship and in our institutions. Each institution is responsible for its due diligence and should proceed at its own pace keeping in mind liability, equity and public health directives. In considering reopening and return to our holy spaces, we must be guided by the recommendations of public health officials. We must approach the complicated process of regathering in our houses of worship with abundant caution and intention. The health of those we serve, support, employ and engage is the highest of priorities. We should seek expert advice, ensure that we adhere to prevention practices of physical distancing, hand washing, wearing of masks and sanitization of common surfaces and register everyone visiting our houses of worship for the purpose of contact tracing in case of an outbreak.
We ask all faith communities to remember one other in your thoughts and prayers hoping that we ride out this pandemic with minimal impact.
Peace and Blessings to everyone.
Rabbi Audrey Pollack- Chair, ICP
Urz Heer- Co-Chair, ICP
Steering Committee, ICP