Summary Guidance from COVID-19 Response Team [August 23, 2020]
Dear brothers and sisters:
We continue to pray that everyone is staying well, healthy and safe during this pandemic. Since our last update on July 16, as far as we know, due God’s mercy and protection and to your diligence in following infection control guidelines, none of our church attendees have been infected with Covid-19.
The COVID ALERT APP from the Canadian government is a great tool for notification if you have been in contact with someone diagnosed with Covid-19. To install on your smart phone, download at:
In this update, we will summarize our draft guidance for the church re-opening now and going forward. We will be hosting a virtual Town hall meeting on Aug 30 Sunday 7:30pm on Zoom to seek your valuable input and answer all questions before we finalize our Covid-19 guidance.
I. Our General Guiding Principles
II. Summary of survey results
III. Requirements for coming to the church during any stage
IV. Church Re-opening Stages
V. Specific guidance for each stage
I. Our General Guiding Principles
- 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.
- We will consider all health and occupational safety concerns.
- We will work within the law and government guidelines since these so far have not had areas of conflict with our beliefs.
- We recognize that our congregations are interconnected as a community of families which has members attending different congregations.
- The pastoral team will have input before we finalize any guidelines.
- We will take a proactive approach. We will anticipate future developments rather than only react to present and past developments.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org (416) 499-0111 x 101.
- 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. Summary of survey results (On Appendix)
III. Requirement for coming to 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:
- They are not ill (no fever, no cough, no shortness of breath, no vomiting, no diarrhea etc.) and not have conditions that decrease their immune response (e.g. elderly). They should self-check their temperature before leaving their home.
- They have not travelled outside of Canada or been in contact with anyone with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in the last 14 days.
- They maintain physical distancing of at least 2 meters.
- They follow frequent meticulous hand washing and hand sanitization.
- They wear a face covering.
- They disinfect all equipment after use. e.g. Microphones, musical instruments, music stands etc. Disposable microphone covers will be provided.
- Whenever possible, items should not be shared to minimize spread of pathogens through touch. E.g. sheet music, books etc.
- 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.)
- Singing and wind instruments are not allowed indoors.
- The maximum number in a group in a room is the lower of the number that permits physical distancing of 2 meters or 30% of the room capacity. One of the group members must take a photo or video (with the exact time and location information in the digital file attribute) of the entire group as a record in case that there is a need for future contact tracing. This photo must be emailed to email@example.com. Privacy will be respected and this photo will only be used for contact tracing if needed. The person sending the email must have the names and contact information of each person in the photo and be able to produce this information if requested.
- Each person must supply and wear their own face covering.
- The church will supply one face shield to anyone involved in ministry at the church who requires one to speak. Each person is responsible for disinfecting it after each use, storing it at home and re-using it. Acceptance of this face shield signifies that person’s agreement to release the church of any liability from its use.
- They must use only the designated entrances and exits. They must walk only in the direction of the arrows.
- 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.
- Each attendee will be provided with a pair of gloves and 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 and allowed to air dry. After discarding the gloves and paper towel, he/she must use hand sanitizer to disinfect his/her hands.
- Only the south side washrooms will be opened. There is a limit on the number of personsallowed in the washroom at each time.
- 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.
- Room use must be prebooked with Queenie at firstname.lastname@example.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 guidelines are followed by his/her group.
- All children must stay with their parents.
- Families or social bubbles can sit together.
IV. Church Re-Opening Stages:
- Live steaming at church NOW
- Prayer meeting (virtual and in person) NOW
- Cell groups- meeting at church or at home (virtual and in person) OCT 5 (tentative)
- Adult Worship NOV 8 (tentative)
- Adult Sunday School (virtual and in person)
- Children activities. (difficult to social distance, keep face covering on, maintain meticulous hand hygiene)
- Use of the gyms for sports, sharing food & drinks8. New normal church function (virtual and/or in person subject to ministry needs)
At present, for our church, we are open for stage 1 and 2 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.
V. Specific Guidance for Each Stage
Stage 3 – in-person cell groups:
Tentatively reopen starting Oct 5. We want to observe the effects of schools reopening first. Cells may consider forming social bubbles within cells where face coverings are not required.
1a) Outdoor gatherings – ensure that there is physical distancing of at least 2 meters.
Follow Toronto Public Health guidelines:
b) Indoor gatherings – limit of 10 people if at home. Face covering and physical distancing of 2 meters required. Follow Toronto Public Health guidelines in 1a.
c) Indoor gatherings at church – follow (III) Requirements For Coming To The Church During Any Stage above. Follow Toronto Public Health guidelines in 1a. The large class rooms and the large gym (four large groups at a time.) will be available for booking.
Stage 4 – in-person worship service:
Tentatively reopen starting Nov 8. We want to observe the effects of cell group reopening first.
- Everyone is to sit on designated colour coded seats only.
- There will be no on site singing or communion elements.
- Pre-registration will be required. Allocation based on “first come first served” basis and equalizing opportunity for all.
Refer to the City of Toronto specific guidance for the reopening of churches for more details:
Your continued prayers would be appreciated.
１Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most HighPsalm 91: 1-6 (NIV)
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 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 email@example.com
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