Two updates to the Guidelines for Places of Worship

  1. The Public Health Order has been extended to March 19th. The revised Health Order has not changed the general restrictions covering all parts of Saskatchewan. The number of people allowed to gather remains the same as it has been since December 17, 2020.
  2. The specific guidelines for Places of Worship have had additions to clarify a couple of issues.

a) Contact Tracing. Since June 2020, public buildings (including places of worship) have been required to collect contact details for all people entering their facility. The following bullet points have been added to the guidelines to clarify matters.

  • For the purposes of contact tracing, places of worship are required to collect and maintain a list of people that are present within their facilities for any purposes. Contact details must include date, time, name, address, and phone number or email address.
  • When collecting contact details, avoid the sharing of pens or other common touch instruments unless disinfected between each use.
  • Contact registration lists must be maintained confidentially by the place of worship and destroyed after 30 days.

Contact tracing is required at all times. This includes anyone entering the building. Delivery persons are not generally required to provide contact details because of their short duration. Do not forget to include staff, volunteers, and tradespeople on these lists.

Confidentiality of the contact details is essential. Remember that provincial privacy laws apply to membership lists and other personal data collected by faith communities. One person registering shouldn’t be able to see the names and contact information for others also registering.

b) Non-ceremonial gatherings. A number of questions have been forwarded to the government as a result of one bullet point that reads: “These guidelines do not apply to receptions or non-ceremonial gatherings.” Faith communities have asked about gatherings that have a religious purpose but are not ceremonial, such as a scripture study or religious instruction. Others have asked about congregational meetings such as a Pastoral Council Meeting or the Annual General Meeting. The following bullet points have been added to permit such gatherings.

  • Non-ceremonial meetings are permitted in groups no larger than 30 as long as physical distancing can be maintained.
  • No food or beverage is allowed.
  • No concurrent meetings or meetings taking place at the same time as worship services.
  • Allow enough time for entry and exit, as well as cleaning and disinfection
  • Seating must be arranged so that two metres of physical distancing can be maintained between non-household gatherings.
  • Attendees to remain seated except for entering and exiting, as well as using the washroom.

The requirement to stay seated is intended to reduce the risk of breaking the physical distancing requirements.

The restriction on a meeting at the same time as a worship service in another part of the facility is intended to be consistent with the existing ban on concurrent worship services.

All guidelines for worship gatherings will also be applicable to these non-ceremonial meetings: masks are required, 2 metre distancing is to be maintained at all times, contact tracing is required, hands and physical surfaces should be sanitized regularly. Do not share common use items such as pens, paper, hymnals, microphones, etc..