COVID-19 Omicron Response

IMPORTANT CHURCH CHANGES DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Update from the GCGCNY Covid-19 Response Team, Jan 4, 2022.

Dear brothers and sisters:

Wishing everyone God’s peace and grace in the New Year. 

Thank you for following all public health guidelines to control Covid-19.  Thank you to everyone who have worked faithfully to enable our re-opening. 

In our last update from Dec 19, we asked everyone to be prepared for a possible shift to online meetings only in the near future.  With the continuing onslaught of Omicron and the doubling of new Covid infections every 3 days, the time for that shift has come.

We have made the difficult decision to immediately stop all in person meetings and pivot to virtual meetings only until further notice.  This includes all worship services, prayer meetings, Sunday School, cell group meetings, KLS, the Missions Conference and all other meetings.  Pastors have the discretion to record their sermon and the worship service in their usual worship space with a minimum number of helpers.  Everyone must follow all the Covid guidelines.  Pastors and everyone also have the discretion to offer in-person pastoral care if the benefits outweigh the risks.

We are relieved to report that on the Sunday of Dec 26, although 3 attendees in Mandarin worship, 1 attendee in English worship and 1 attendee in KLS developed symptoms after and were found to have Covid on testing, no one became infected on Dec 26 at our church.  This showed the effectiveness of our 7 layers of protection for all attendees: screening, at least double vaccination (>12 years old), masking, 2m physical distancing, air filtration, cohorting and sanitizing.

Despite this reassurance, we want to be extra cautious in protecting the health and safety of everyone.  That is why we made the above decision.

Please complete your Covid vaccinations and get your third dose of Covid vaccine ASAP.  With the increased availability of Covid vaccines, we will be requiring everyone eligible to be fully vaccinated with the 3 doses in a few months’ time unless a valid medical exemption certificate is shown.

We will continue to monitor the course of the pandemic in the GTA closely and give further guidance as needed.

The guidelines below have been revised from the last version that was effective Dec 19, 2021 and will be the defining version effective immediately.  All changes are in red.

Peace and grace,

GCGCNY Covid-19 Response Team

GCGCNY Covid-19 guidance. Updated Jan 4, 2022

  1. Our General Guiding Principles
  2. Requirements for coming to the church during any stage
  3. Church Re-opening Stages
  4. Specific guidance for each stage
  1. Our General Guiding Principles
  1. We will balance government recommendations with an extra margin of safety and caution and the principles and practices of our Christian Faith and our church.
  2. We will consider all health and occupational safety concerns.
  3. We will work within the law and government guidelines since these so far have not had areas of conflict with our beliefs.
  4. We recognize that our congregations are interconnected as a community of families which has members attending different congregations.
  5. The pastoral team will have input before we finalize any guidelines.
  6. We will take a proactive approach.  We will anticipate future developments rather than only react to present and past developments.
  7. We will be monitoring the course of the pandemic in GTA closely.  If infection rates start going up, we may halt the re-opening plan or go backwards in the re-opening stages.
  8. The Covid-19 Crisis Response Team welcomes everyone’s feedback, comments, suggestions and questions.  We strive to reflect our values of love, faith, hope, unity, truth and transparency in this process and in our decisions and implementation.  Our contact is: admin@gcgcny.org  (416) 499-0111 x 101.
  9. Each lead pastor may decide to implement each stage at a later date than this guidance’s earliest dates in accordance with the needs and resources in each congregation.

II. Requirements for coming to the church during any stage

To ensure the safety and health of everyone and to follow government guidelines, whenever anyone comes to the church, we require that:

  1. They are not ill (no fever, no chills, no cough, no shortness of breath, no runny/congested nose, no sore throat, no decrease or loss of taste or smell, no vomiting, nausea or diarrhea, no marked tiredness, no sore muscles or joints, no headaches.) They have not been told to self-isolate or live with someone who has been told to self-isolate. They should self-check their temperature before leaving their home.
  2. They have not been in contact with anyone with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in the last 14 days.
  3. They need to show proof that they are at least 2 weeks post their second Covid vaccination.  If not, they need to show BOTH a government approved medical exemption certificate AND proof of a negative Covid test within the last 48 hours.  Each congregation will try to have someone trained and ready to do the 15 minute Rapid Antigen test at least 15 minutes before the start of the worship service at the entrance.  The availability of this testing will depend on available resources.
  4. Children under 12 years old not fully vaccinated yet will not require a Rapid Antigen Test to come to in person church meetings. 
  5. They maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres.
  6. They follow frequent meticulous hand washing and hand sanitization.
  7. They wear a well-fitted 3-layered medical grade mask.  Properly worn and well fitted N95 or KN95 masks if available and tolerated would give better protection.
  8. They disinfect all equipment after use. e.g. Microphones, musical instruments, music stands etc.  Disposable microphone covers will be provided.  Disinfectant spray and paper towel will be provided.
  9. Whenever possible, items should not be shared to minimize spread of pathogens through touch.  E.g.  sheet music, books etc.
  10. No food or drink are allowed in the gyms and sanctuaries A and B except for a personal container of water.  (no coffee, tea or other beverages that cause a mess when spilled.)
  11. For worship servers on stage, only one is allowed to lead without a mask or face covering behind the Plexiglas barrier.  More than one is allowed if they are from the same social bubble. The Plexiglas must be disinfected between use by different worship servers unless the servers are from the same social bubble.
  12. The maximum number in a group in a room is the number that permits physical distancing of 2 metres. 
  13. Each person must supply and wear their own 3-layered medical grade mask.  Extra ones should be brought so that if the mask becomes wet from singing, it is changed immediately.  Everyone is asked to put on his mask properly with good fit on the skin so that there is no leakage where the mask touches the skin.
  14. Congregational/group singing will be allowed.
  15. They must use only the designated entrances and exits.  They must walk only in the direction of the arrows.
  16. Church attendees must not enter into the Grace Nursery School area since they have re-opened and have to follow strict infection control protocol from the government.
  17. Each attendee will be provided with a pair of gloves and a disposable disinfectant wet wipe OR one sheet of paper towel to disinfect any surface he/she has touches after the end of each meeting.  Spray bottles with disinfectant will be available to spray on the paper towel.  The surfaces will be dampened with the paper towel or wipe and allowed to air dry.  After discarding the gloves and paper towel or wipe, he/she must use hand sanitizer to disinfect his/her hands.  A person may bring his/her own disinfectant wipe if he/she wishes.
  18. Only designated washrooms will be opened.  There is a limit on the number of persons allowed in the washroom at each time. 
  19. A person using the toilet is to pick up a disposal toilet seat cover before entering the washroom.  The cover is to be flushed down the toilet after use.  Everyone after washroom use must wash his/her hands with soap and water and dry with a paper towel.  The same paper towel must be used to open the washroom door before being discarded in the waste bin outside of each washroom.
  20. Room use must be prebooked with Queenie at admin@gcgcny.org  (416) 499-0111 x 101 at least 1 week in advance.  Information needed for booking are the person responsible and his/her contact info, the number of attendees expected and the time slot required.  In booking the room, the person booking the room agrees to bear the responsibility that all government and church guidelines are followed by his/her group.  He/she must have the names and contact information of each person attending and be able to produce this information if requested.  He/she must turn on the air purifiers (if available) in the room before the meeting and turn them off after the meeting.
  21. All children grade 6 and under must stay with their parents unless attending program arranged by KLS Children Ministry.
  22. Families or social bubbles can sit together.
  1. Church Re-opening Stages:
  1. Live steaming at church    NOW
  2. Adult Worship virtual only  NO IN PERSON
  3. Prayer meeting virtual only  NO IN PERSON
  4. Cell groups- meeting at church or at home virtual only  NO IN PERSON
  5. Sunday School virtual only  NO IN PERSON
  6. Children activities. virtual only  NO IN PERSON
  7. use of the gyms for sports, sharing food & drinks   NOT YET
  8. New normal church function (virtual and/or in person subject to ministry needs)   NOT YET

At present, for our church, we are open for stage 1 of the above with the lead pastors making the decisions for each congregation.

Further re-opening of new stages will be based on the above General Guiding Principles and be subject to available human, organizational, financial, supply and equipment and technological resources.

  1. Specific guidance for each stage

Stage 2 – in-person worship service:

  1. Everyone is to sit on designated seats only.
  2. Pre-registration will be required.  Allocation based on “first come first served” basis and equalizing opportunity for all.

Stage 4 – in-person cell groups:

  1. In-person cells or any gathering will be limited to 10 people whether at church or at home.
  2. For at home meetings, people should a wear mask except for when eating.  Physical distance of at least 2 metres should be maintained.  For ventilation, a properly sized HEPA air purifier should be used.  If not, at least one window should be opened and the heat turned up.

Your continued prayers would be appreciated.

Psalm 91: 1-6 (NIV)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.

If you have any comments, suggestions, feedback or questions, please contact us through admin@gcgcny.org.

Grace and peace,

Covid-19 Response Team

Rev Chan – representing the church staff

Queenie – representing the Cantonese congregation

Edwin – representing the Mandarin congregation

Sylvia – representing the English congregation

Felicity – representing the Children congregation

TK – team lead and representing the church Board of Directors

Event spaces with opt in proof of vaccination that was updated Dec 16, 2021.

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200364

English Service https://gcgcny.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/GCGCNY-Covid-Update-2021-12-18.pdf
Chinese https://gcgcny.org/covid-19/updates-from-gcgcny-covid-19-response-team-%e6%96%b0%e5%86%a0%e8%82%ba%e7%82%8e%e6%87%89%e8%ae%8a%e5%b0%8f%e7%b5%84%e6%96%b0%e8%a8%8a-2021-12-18/

Update from the GCGCNY Covid-19 Response Team, Dec 19, 2021.

Dear brothers and sisters:

Thank you to following all public health guidelines to control Covid-19.  Thank you to everyone who have worked tirelessly to enable our re-opening.  With the onslaught of Omicron and the doubling of new Covid infections every 3 days, we will make the following changes effective immediately on Dec 19.  These changes will update our previous guideline dated Oct 29, 2021.  The changes are in red.

  1. The capacity of sanctuary A, B and large gym, currently at 60, 80, 120 will decrease to 50, 60, 80 for Christmas celebrations and to 40, 60, 80 effective Dec 26. 
  2. Everyone will be required to maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres. (increasing from present 1 metre).
  3. Everyone must properly wear a well-fitted 3-layered medical grade mask.  Properly worn and well fitted N95 or KN95 masks if available and tolerated would give better protection.
  4. In-person cells or any gathering will be limited to 10 people whether at church or at home.
  5. For at home meetings, people should a wear mask except for when eating.  Physical distance of at least 2 metres should be maintained.  For ventilation, a properly sized HEPA air purifier should be used.  If not, at least one window should be opened and the heat turned up.
  6. Please complete your Covid vaccinations and get your third dose of Covid vaccine ASAP.
  7. Please be prepared for a possible shift to online meetings only in the near future.
  8. The elderly and vulnerable should avoid all in-person meetings.

We will continue to monitor the course of the pandemic in the GTA closely and give further guidance as needed.

We are thankful that the Covid vaccines have been approved for >5 year olds.  We are hoping approval for >6 month olds by Feb/March, 2022.  With this timeline, everyone should have the opportunity to get fully vaccinated by fall, 2022.  After a grace period, we will be requiring 3 doses of vaccination for everyone >5 years old as a condition of entering the church unless a valid medical exemption certificate is shown.

The guidelines below have been revised from the last version that was effective Oct 29, 2021 and will be the defining version effective immediately. 

Peace and grace,

GCGCNY Covid-19 Response Team

GCGCNY Covid-19 guidance. Updated Dec 19, 2021

  1. Our General Guiding Principles
  2. Requirements for coming to the church during any stage
  3. Church Re-opening Stages
  4. Specific guidance for each stage
  1. Our General Guiding Principles
  1. We will balance government recommendations with an extra margin of safety and caution and the principles and practices of our Christian Faith and our church.
  2. We will consider all health and occupational safety concerns.
  3. We will work within the law and government guidelines since these so far have not had areas of conflict with our beliefs.
  4. We recognize that our congregations are interconnected as a community of families which has members attending different congregations.
  5. The pastoral team will have input before we finalize any guidelines.
  6. We will take a proactive approach.  We will anticipate future developments rather than only react to present and past developments.
  7. We will be monitoring the course of the pandemic in GTA closely.  If infection rates start going up, we may halt the re-opening plan or go backwards in the re-opening stages.
  8. The Covid-19 Crisis Response Team welcomes everyone’s feedback, comments, suggestions and questions.  We strive to reflect our values of love, faith, hope, unity, truth and transparency in this process and in our decisions and implementation.  Our contact is: admin@gcgcny.org  (416) 499-0111 x 101.
  9. Each lead pastor may decide to implement each stage at a later date than this guidance’s earliest dates in accordance with the needs and resources in each congregation.
  1.  Requirements for coming to the church during any stage

To ensure the safety and health of everyone and to follow government guidelines, whenever anyone comes to the church, we require that:

  1. They are not ill (no fever, no chills, no cough, no shortness of breath, no decrease or loss of taste or smell. If <18, no vomiting, nausea or diarrhea.  If >18, no marked tiredness or sore muscles or joints.) They have not been told to self-isolate or live with someone who has been told to self-isolate. They should self-check their temperature before leaving their home.
  2. They have not been in contact with anyone with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in the last 14 days.
  3. They need to show proof that they are at least 2 weeks post their second Covid vaccination.  If not, they need to show BOTH a government approved medical exemption certificate AND proof of a negative Covid test within the last 48 hours.  Each congregation will try to have someone trained and ready to do the 15 minute Rapid Antigen test at least 15 minutes before the start of the worship service at the entrance.  The availability of this testing will depend on available resources.
  4. Children under 12 years old not fully vaccinated yet will not require a Rapid Antigen Test to come to in person church meetings. 
  5. They maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres.
  6. They follow frequent meticulous hand washing and hand sanitization.
  7. They wear a well-fitted 3-layered medical grade mask.  Properly worn and well fitted N95 or KN95 masks if available and tolerated would give better protection.
  8. They disinfect all equipment after use. e.g. Microphones, musical instruments, music stands etc.  Disposable microphone covers will be provided.  Disinfectant spray and paper towel will be provided.
  9. Whenever possible, items should not be shared to minimize spread of pathogens through touch.  E.g.  sheet music, books etc.
  10. No food or drink are allowed in the gyms and sanctuaries A and B except for a personal container of water.  (no coffee, tea or other beverages that cause a mess when spilled.)
  11. For worship servers on stage, only one is allowed to lead without a mask or face covering behind the Plexiglas barrier.  More than one is allowed if they are from the same social bubble. The Plexiglas must be disinfected between use by different worship servers unless the servers are from the same social bubble.
  12. The maximum number in a group in a room is the number that permits physical distancing of 2 metres. 
  13. Each person must supply and wear their own 3-layered medical grade mask.  Extra ones should be brought so that if the mask becomes wet from singing, it is changed immediately.  Everyone is asked to put on his mask properly with good fit on the skin so that there is no leakage where the mask touches the skin.
  14. Congregational/group singing will be allowed.
  15. They must use only the designated entrances and exits.  They must walk only in the direction of the arrows.
  16. Church attendees must not enter into the Grace Nursery School area since they have re-opened and have to follow strict infection control protocol from the government.
  17. Each attendee will be provided with a pair of gloves and a disposable disinfectant wet wipe OR one sheet of paper towel to disinfect any surface he/she has touches after the end of each meeting.  Spray bottles with disinfectant will be available to spray on the paper towel.  The surfaces will be dampened with the paper towel or wipe and allowed to air dry.  After discarding the gloves and paper towel or wipe, he/she must use hand sanitizer to disinfect his/her hands.  A person may bring his/her own disinfectant wipe if he/she wishes.
  18. Only designated washrooms will be opened.  There is a limit on the number of persons allowed in the washroom at each time. 
  19. A person using the toilet is to pick up a disposal toilet seat cover before entering the washroom.  The cover is to be flushed down the toilet after use.  Everyone after washroom use must wash his/her hands with soap and water and dry with a paper towel.  The same paper towel must be used to open the washroom door before being discarded in the waste bin outside of each washroom.
  20. Room use must be prebooked with Queenie at admin@gcgcny.org  (416) 499-0111 x 101 at least 1 week in advance.  Information needed for booking are the person responsible and his/her contact info, the number of attendees expected and the time slot required.  In booking the room, the person booking the room agrees to bear the responsibility that all government and church guidelines are followed by his/her group.  He/she must have the names and contact information of each person attending and be able to produce this information if requested.  He/she must turn on the air purifiers (if available) in the room before the meeting and turn them off after the meeting.
  21. All children grade 6 and under must stay with their parents unless attending program arranged by KLS Children Ministry.
  22. Families or social bubbles can sit together.
  1. Church Re-opening Stages:
  1. Live steaming at church    NOW
  2. Adult Worship (virtual and in person)       NOW
  3. Prayer meeting (virtual and in person)       NOW
  4. Cell groups- meeting at church or at home (virtual and in person)    NOW
  5. Sunday School (virtual and in person)
  6. Children activities. (to social distance, keep face covering on, maintain meticulous hand hygiene as per Children Ministry Covid guidelines)      at discretion of Children’s Pastor
  7. use of the gyms for sports, sharing food & drinks
  8. New normal church function (virtual and/or in person subject to ministry needs)

At present, for our church, we are open for stage 1-4 of the above with the lead pastors making the decisions for each congregation.

Further re-opening of new stages will be based on the above General Guiding Principles and be subject to available human, organizational, financial, supply and equipment and technological resources.

Your continued prayers would be appreciated.

Subject to ministry needs

At present, for our church, we are open for stage 1-4 of the above with the lead pastors making the decisions for each congregation.

Further re-opening of new stages will be based on the above General Guiding Principles and be subject to available human, organizational, financial, supply and equipment and technological resources.

  1. Specific guidance for each stage

Stage 2 – in-person worship service:

  1. Everyone is to sit on designated seats only.
  2. Pre-registration will be required.  Allocation based on “first come first served” basis and equalizing opportunity for all.

Stage 4 – in-person cell groups:

  1. In-person cells or any gathering will be limited to 10 people whether at church or at home.
  2. For at home meetings, people should a wear mask except for when eating.  Physical distance of at least 2 metres should be maintained.  For ventilation, a properly sized HEPA air purifier should be used.  If not, at least one window should be opened and the heat turned up.

Please note that the City of Toronto specific guidance for the reopening of churches is out of date and has not been updated since Dec 1.  So we are following the provincial guidelines for meeting and event spaces with opt in proof of vaccination that was updated Dec 16, 2021

At present, for our church, we are open for stage 1-4 of the above with the lead pastors making the decisions for each congregation.

Further re-opening of new stages will be based on the above General Guiding Principles and be subject to available human, organizational, financial, supply and equipment and technological resources.

Psalm 91: 1-6 (NIV)

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.

If you have any comments, suggestions, feedback or questions, please contact us through admin@gcgcny.org.

Grace and peace,

Covid-19 Response Team

Rev Chan – representing the church staff

Queenie – representing the Cantonese congregation

Edwin – representing the Mandarin congregation

Sylvia – representing the English congregation

Felicity – representing the Children congregation

TK – team lead and representing the church Board of Directors

Read for the latest updates

COVID-19 Updates


Contact Info:

admin@gcgcny.org, (416) 499-0111 x 101
Please check this website (www.gcgcny.org) regularly for updates.

https://gcgcny.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/GCGCNY-Covid-Update-2021-12-18.pdf