Update from the GCGCNY COVID-19 Response Team [August 1, 2021]
Dear brothers and sisters:
Thank you for getting fully vaccinated as soon as you can, wearing masks, keeping physical distancing, maintaining diligent hand hygiene and following all public health recommendations to keep everyone safe and healthy.
As a family in Christ, our hearts ache for those of us who have lost loved ones during the pandemic. We pray for God’s mercy, grace, strength, comfort and healing.
Although every one fully vaccinated has good protection against getting infected and excellent protection against hospitalization and death, as of today, more than 30% of people in Ontario are still not fully vaccinated. There is a real danger of a fourth wave of the delta variant. We have to be cautious since the delta variant is one of the most easily transmitted viruses known and it causes more severe disease and death even among the young. One person infected with the delta variant infects 8-9 others compared to 2 others for the original alpha strain.
We note that while some people prefer in-person meetings, many people have found the online meetings to be more accessible and convenient. The government still requires mask, 2 meter distancing, contact tracing information and cleaning for all indoor church gatherings. However, for indoor or outdoor small gatherings at home for vaccinated people, no mask or physical distancing is required. In view of this we encourage safe in-person small gatherings in homes or parks rather than at the church. https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/phac-aspc/documents/services/diseases/2019-novel-
Due to the lack of manpower, limited internet bandwidth, the need to purchase and install new equipment and finding rooms for the new equipment, we are still preparing for future in-person worship. We will continue the online worship for now. We thank each pastor, staff and volunteer for making online worship possible.
A survey of the pastoral staff showed that most of them still feel safer to work from home and do not feel that their congregations are ready for in-person worship or meetings at the church.
The Church will be sending out a survey in the near future to every church attendant to understand each congregation’s readiness, expectations and concerns about in-person worship and meetings. Please complete and return the surveys. We value your opinion which will help inform our decisions.
It has come to the attention of the committee that some people who have booked the use of the church have violated church and public health guidelines regarding physical distancing and mandatory use of face covering. The committee has instructed Queenie that any one booking use of the church will need to guarantee in writing that their group will follow all Public Health guidelines.
Those who violates the guidelines will be given one warning. If the violation continues, they will be suspended from use of church facilities for one month. If after the one month suspension, they violate the guidelines again, they will be suspended from use of church facilities for 3 months.
For people using church facilities to record elements for the worship service, Plexiglas barriers will be installed after consultation with the users in the affected areas such as in the sanctuaries. The guideline from our Sept 13, 2020 update still apply:
“There was a question about whether a mask or face covering is needed if there is only one person in the entire room singing and leading worship. The answer is that we prefer everyone to wear a mask or face covering indoors. This is especially so since singing involves the projection of more droplets for greater distances compared to talking. However, if the singer is unable to sing or lead worship wearing a mask or face covering, we would allow that provided that everyone else in the room is wearing one. The singer must stay behind the Plexiglas barrier of the pulpit when singing. If others within the same social bubble are involved, then they too are allowed not to wear a mask or face covering when in the same area on stage as the singer. The area within a 4 meter distance around the singer must be cleaned and disinfected after use.”
The same would apply for the chairperson or preacher of the worship service.
We are thankful that we have Covid vaccines approved for every one over 12 years old now. It is anticipated that approval for those 5 to 11 years old will come in Sept/Oct, 2021 and for those aged 6 months and up will come in Nov/Dec, 2021. We are hopeful that everyone over the age of 6 months who wants to be fully vaccinated will be by Feb, 2022. If the Covid transmission is controlled then, it is hoped that the government would relax some of the present restrictions.
Please get fully vaccinated if you haven’t. The benefits far outweigh the risks. Please encourage everyone you know to get fully vaccinated. It is so sad to see people suffering and dying needlessly or causing others to suffer and die needlessly because they refused to get the life-saving vaccine. This is the only way we will end this pandemic and have our lives return to closer to normal.
We continue to monitor the pandemic closely and act proactively to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Thank you for your understanding and patience.
If you have any comments, suggestions, feedback or questions, please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grace and peace,
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