Thank you for sharing in this important work, loving our neighbours and keeping us all safe!

If you have questions or concerns, contact Rev’d Ann Turner at executivedirector@nspeidiocese.ca.

November 19th, 2021

Dear Friends,

Here you will find a summary of correspondence from Dr. Strang with particular focus on funerals and clarifying what is an essential service with regards to worship. It does not allow for any changes to the guidelines in place but may help with understanding how essential services and Proof of Vaccination requirements are determined. Remember that in those areas where our Guidelines and Provincial Guidelines differ, the stricter of the two applies. Thank you for all you are doing to help keep us all safe!

From Dr. Strang (dated November 5, 2021):

At today’s media briefing I informed Nova Scotians that the increased case numbers we are seeing are from several clusters of cases, primarily in Northern and Western Health Zones, related to several faith groups participating in a single multi-day event. This situation presents an opportunity to reinforce some key information on what is currently required in faith gatherings and events under the Public Health order and the COVID-19 Protocol for Proof of Full Vaccination for Events and Activities.

Proof of Vaccination

Proof of full vaccination is not required for a regular faith service, such as daily or weekly services. Services that are part of your faith’s annual calendar (such as Christmas and Easter services in Christian faiths) are considered the same as regular daily/weekly services – no proof of full vaccination is required. If a Remembrance Day service is combined with a regular daily or weekly service, no proof of full vaccination is required. But if it is an additional special service, then proof is required.

Proof of full vaccination is required for participants (not officiants) at weddings, funerals and other ceremonies – even if they take place in a church or other faith facility. However, it is not required for indoor and outdoor funeral services with a maximum of 25 participants (not including officiants or funeral home staff). Proof of full vaccination is still required for visitation and receptions.

As an aside, please note that we are currently not granting any exception requests for people to enter Nova Scotia to attend a funeral. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated at least 14 days before arriving must self-isolate for at least 7 days and get 2 negative test results in Nova Scotia to stop isolating.

Proof of full vaccination is required for any events and activities hosted by a faith organization, including social time after a service, bible study, youth group, retreats, community meals, or fundraisers. It is also required when people rent/use the church’s facilities (like a hall or other rooms) for events like a wedding reception or leisure activities/clubs like playing cards.

If a faith organization is offering space for mental health and addictions support groups or for programs and services for vulnerable populations, proof of full vaccination is not required. If faith organizations are offering food bank services, shelters, or meal programs for vulnerable populations (including dine-in), proof of full vaccination is not required for people accessing those services or for employees providing them. It is required for volunteers providing them.

I encourage you to carefully review the protocol for further details. Please note that there are resources at the end that will help your organizations when you are hosting events and activities where proof of full vaccination is required.

Masking

The wearing of masks https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/masks/ in faith services and gatherings is required (in Nova Scotia) with the following exceptions:

(a) is less than 2 years of age or age 2 to 4 years and their caregiver cannot persuade them to wear a mask;

(b) for whom the wearing of a mask is not possible because of the person's medical condition;

(c) is reasonably accommodated by not wearing a mask in accordance with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act;

(e) removes the mask momentarily for identification or ceremonial purposes (e.g. post wedding ceremony kiss; receiving communion)

(g) is an officiant (preaching) or performer (choir singing but not congregational singing) in the course of performing activities requiring vocalization such as talking or singing at the event or activity 

General information on other measures that you are encouraged to use and follow is at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/avoiding-infection/.

 

November 5th, 2021

 Update for Parishes in PEI  

Please include the following update in your parish Covid Guidelines.  

Public Health in PEI has announced that face masks are required in all indoor public spaces in Prince Edward Island with the following exception:  

     It is not mandatory to wear a mask while seated at indoor events (such as church services and indoor seated concerts), provided there is 6 feet of physical distance between individuals of different households or different close social groups.  

      Masks must be worn at these types of events anytime you are out of your seat.  

In partnership with the Diocesan Guidelines, masks remain strongly recommended for singing. It is our expectation that parishes have some discussion before they decide not to require the wearing of masks while seated. The fifth wave of Covid is evident in other parts of the world.   

If you have further questions or concerns, please reach out directly to Executive Director, The Rev’d Ann Turner, at executivedirector@nspeidiocese.ca. 

 

 

October 22nd, 2021

Today’s Covid updates are on the subjects of Funerals (new NS guidelines) and Receptions (these are separate documents for NS and PEI, respectively).

Supplementary Funeral Guidelines, Nova Scotia October 22, 2021  

In recognition of the importance of allowing families to mourn the passing of a loved one, I (Dr. Strang) am pleased to inform you that the Public Health Order, Section 16.8, has been revised to incorporate legal authority for a business or organization (including a faith organization) to host a funeral service outside the Proof of Vaccine Protocol if it adheres to the following:  a maximum of 25 persons attend (excluding the officiant and funeral home staff); all persons in attendance wear a mask at the funeral service, both indoors and outdoors; all persons (staff and attendees) who are unwell do not attend the funeral service; and  any business or organization that hosts a funeral service outside the parameters set out sections (a) to (c) must adhere to the POV Protocol.  

Other considerations or concerns should be addressed by consulting with Rev’d Ann Turner at executivedirector@nspeidiocese.ca  

Food Service Guidelines for PEI

Food Service Guidelines for NS

Funeral Supplementary Oct 22

October 15th, 2021 

Music-Making & Performances

Today’s update is dedicated to music-making and performances. COVID-19 is most commonly spread from an infected person through respiratory droplets generated through coughing, sneezing, laughing, and/or singing. Taking a layered approach with multiple measures reduces the spread of COVID-19. Some of these measures include vaccination, physical distancing, the use of non-medical masks, hand hygiene and environmental cleaning. 

We have been asked several different questions about singing and musical performances. The attached is a summary of much of the information available, with some details relevant to the questions we have received. The following restrictions apply only to Nova Scotia. Restrictions specific to Prince Edward Island are at the end of the document. While restrictions in PEI are less stringent, we encourage caution, especially with regards to masking and physical distancing.