Religious and faith-based organizations are permitted to resume in-person worship services under a revised Provincial Health Order Northern Health Authority (NHA) announced on Dec. 9.
Under the Gatherings and Events PHO, one specific caveat to the 50 per cent capacity limitation is only vaccinated worshipers may attend with COVID-19 safety requirements in place.
“The regional public health orders covering all of the NH region are in response to sustained rates of COVID-19 activity and the impact on health care resources,” the health authority stated in its media release.
The revised order takes effect at midnight, Dec. 10, 2021, and will be in place until at least Jan. 31, 2022. Northern Health and provincial public health officials will continue to evaluate levels of COVID-19 activity and ongoing impacts on the health care system, individuals, and communities, the statement reads.
“Under the recent changes, faith-based organizations will be allowed to resume in-person worship services, as long as they are limited to 50 per cent capacity in the place of worship and all participants over the age of 11 are vaccinated. Virtual or drive-in services can be held without a check of vaccination status,” Northern Health stated.
The revised order removes the necessity for proof of vaccination at outside events in line with provincial measures.
Other revisions include the increase to 10 fully-vaccinated people gathering inside personal residences and up to 25 outside. This is up from five and 15.
Inside seated events, such as weddings, funerals, theatre and performing arts events, are increased go to 50 per cent of venue capacity with proof of vaccination. This was increased from a 50 person limit. Outside event capacity has expanded to allow 50 per cent capacity from a 100-person cap.
Northern Health reminded the public vaccination continues to be the best line of defence against COVID-19.
There are ongoing vaccine clinic opportunities throughout the region, including for newly-eligible 5 to 11-year-olds. To find a clinic, visit: https://www.northernhealth.ca/health-topics/covid-19-immunization-clinics
K-J Millar | Journalist
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