New COVID-19 rules permit outdoor religious services in B.C. with several limitations
VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s top doctor has issued new rules to allow in-person religious services for the first time since November, but only outdoors.
Dr. Bonnie Henry released the amended health order Tuesday, which says services can include up to 50 people, as well as people in 50 vehicles. Those attending in a vehicle must stay in their car.
Health screenings and masks are required with few exceptions and those attending must keep two metres apart from each other, unless they live together. Those organizing the gatherings must pre-register everyone who attends and collect their contact information.
Worship leaders also need to keep three metres from the congregation or be behind a physical barrier, unless they're wearing a face mask. Choirs aren't permitted and worship groups can't have more than five musicians.
Participants who aren't worship leaders or soloists can't sing or chant, the order says, and those attending can't gather socially with others during, before or after the worship service.
"Participants must disperse immediately after a worship service, and must not congregate with other participants who are leaving the service, or arriving to attend a subsequent service," the orders says.
The new rules include funerals, but not weddings or baptisms.