In recent days, there have been a number of changes to COVID-19 protocols throughout the province. Given all this new information, the Archdiocese of Toronto wants to provide an update on our COVID-19 policies.
First, we thank all our clergy, staff, volunteers and parishioners for continuing to follow the WorshipSafe protocols. These measures have effectively protected against the transmission of COVID-19 in our parishes. The WorshipSafe protocols remain in place throughout the archdiocese.
To ensure our parishioners remain safe at church as we enter the winter months (when COVID-19 cases have previously increased), the Archdiocese of Toronto has implemented a temporary vaccine policy for clergy, staff and volunteers – in essence, those serving on the front line of ministry. These groups have now provided their proof of vaccination or are completing regular rapid-antigen tests.
The Government of Ontario has mandated proof of vaccination to access certain indoor settings, such as restaurants, bars and gyms. Places of worship are exempt from these proof of vaccination requirements, recognizing both the essential nature of religious institutions in our society and the very limited spread of COVID-19 in these settings.
The Archdiocese of Toronto is not asking for proof of vaccination to worship in our churches. Although the Archdiocese of Toronto encourages all Catholics to be vaccinated for the common good, we are making every effort to ensure that our churches remain open to all. The WorshipSafe protocols have kept our parishioners safe throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so as COVID-19 restrictions are gradually removed throughout the province.
We ask everyone to remain mindful that the pandemic is still part of our lives. Please do not attend church if you have COVID-19 symptoms. And if you are particularly vulnerable to the virus, please limit your indoor activities as much as possible.
If you cannot attend church in person, almost 100 parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto are offering livestream Masses. You can find a list of those parishes here.
Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, continues the dispensation from Sunday obligation for those who cannot attend Mass during the pandemic.
We all hope to return to in-person services with no restrictions as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience as we continue to pray for all of those who are suffering during this time of pandemic.