Dear brothers and sisters:
Thank God for his peace and grace amidst the difficulties we are facing in the pandemic.
Thank you for following all public health guidelines to control Covid. Thank you to everyone who have worked faithfully so that we could re-open for in-person meetings.
After careful consideration, effective immediately, we highly recommend but not require wearing a mask whenever possible. This is a change from the previous policy of requiring a mask except when eating or playing sports. The previous policy highly recommending but not requiring up to date vaccination against Covid remains unchanged.
In making this decision, we carefully weighed the pros and cons of requiring masking:
Pros of requiring masks:
– decrease Covid, colds and influenza spreading
– Covid may increase during the winter and we may have to restart mask mandate.
– some congregations have many elderly and immune compromised people who are more at risk
Cons of requiring masks:
– more distance and barrier in interpersonal social interactions. Cannot see face and visual cues
– most Omicron infections are very mild. Vaccination and previous infection give weak protection against new infection but strong protection against severe illness and death.
– removing the requirement helps people feel that life is getting closer to normal. May encourage more in person attendance at church and small groups
– difficult to justify when masks are not needed in most settings already such as mass transit, shopping, eating, airplane etc in which the risk is similar or higher than attending church or small groups. Most churches we know of have ended mask mandates. Masks remain required only in nursing and retirement homes, certain congregate settings and certain medical clinics and hospitals.
Please respect and love those who choose to wear a mask and those who don’t.
We continue to highly recommend that everyone follow all current public health measures:
If you were exposed to Covid or have any symptoms, please take this self-assessment which will tell you what to do: https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/
If you have Covid or is a close contact, please follow these guidelines:
If you are ill, please do not come to meetings until you are better.
We will continue to monitor the course of the pandemic in the GTA closely and give further guidance as needed.
Church facilities are available now for booking for ministry use and for use by approved community partners.
Each congregation will decide whether to continue offering meetings virtually.
Peace and grace,
GCGCNY Covid-19 Response Team
TK – team lead and representing the church Board of Directors
Rev Chan – representing the church staff
Sylvia – representing the English congregation
Queenie – representing the Cantonese congregation
Edwin – representing the Mandarin congregation
Felicity – representing the Children congregation