After some confusion during Easter weekend about what could and what couldn’t be done when it came to church services, the Saskatchewan government is trying to clarify things.
Services may be delivered:
• Online (via Zoom, YouTube, etc.), as long as no more than 10 people are in the place of worship at one time and are strictly observing all social distancing protocols.
• As drive-in services where individuals remain in their vehicles with no contact between worshippers, and only individuals from the same household occupy the same vehicle.
• Drive-in services must be in designated parking lots or staging areas and also meet the following conditions:
o Event organizers need adequate measures to keep people from leaving their vehicles while at the service.
o Vehicles must be separated by at least two metres.
o Access to facilities, including washrooms, is discouraged. Where washroom access must be provided, provisions must be made to ensure frequent cleaning and disinfection throughout the event.
o Appropriate social distancing practices between persons who need to leave the vehicle to access washroom facilities is maintained at all times.
o No food or beverage service.
o All other services must be suspended including picnic areas and play areas.
o Anyone who is unwell or symptomatic must remain home.
o Event organizers are required to provide proposals and field questions to local public health officials to ensure the event does not risk transmission of COVID-19.
Earlier this week, Premier Scott Moe wanted an explanation from the Saskatchewan Health Authority as to why a drive-in church service in Nipawin was prohibited last weekend.
The lead pastor of the Nipawin Apostolic Church, said people were invited to stop in an arena parking lot and tune into an Easter Sunday church service that morning from inside their vehicles saying they wanted to do something creative and different. The service would also have met the physical distancing requirements that have been placed because nobody had to get out of their vehicle or roll down their windows.
After receiving a call from a public health official about the gathering and worry it was causing, the decision was made to cancel the event much to the disappointment of the church.