Date: September 18, 2020
To: Parishes, priests and deacons
From: Fr. Dan Van Delst, Chancellor
Re: Reduced limit for social gathering
On September 17 the Government of Ontario reduced the limit regarding the number of people
“permitted to attend unmonitored social gatherings and organized public events in three regions
experiencing higher rates of transmission of COVID-19. This includes functions, parties, dinners, BBQs or
wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks and other recreational areas.”
“the amended order will set a new limit on the number of people allowed to attend an unmonitored
social gathering or organized public event in three specific regions to:
• 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit of 50); or
• 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit of 100).”
The area served by Ottawa Public Health is among the three regions. It does not yet apply to the area
covered by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, but Dr. Paul Roumeliotis stated that it may be added to
areas with the restriction.
The higher rates of transmission of COVID-19 are a reminder of the renewed importance to maintain
physical distancing and follow the other measures to reduce its transmission.
For the territory under Ottawa Public Health:
The amended order does not apply to religious services, rites or ceremonies. Thus, they may continue
with the current physical distancing requirements and a maximum of 30% of capacity. The same applies
to weddings and funerals. This allowance is based on these events being controlled with people
screening those who seek to enter and enforcing the physical distancing and the wearing of masks.
Baptisms require the same controls to qualify for the 30% limit; otherwise, the group should be limited
to 10 people including the celebrant.
For religious services in cemeteries, the Parish or other owner will need to enforce the COVID-19
measures for it to be considered monitored with the higher limit; otherwise the limit will be 25 persons.
We are seeking greater clarity to determine if the new restrictions impact meetings or other events
inside the church hall or on church property. For the present time, these meetings and events can
continue to take place while maintaining the current limits (50 people indoors/100 people outdoors) as
long as the parish applies the COVID-19 measures; otherwise the limit will be 10 people for indoor
events and 25 people for outdoor events. We will keep you posted should local public health units
provide further direction.
Thank you for your continued cooperation during these challenging days.