The following statement is from Dr. Bonnie Henry:

Further to our recent discussions with faith leaders, this afternoon I announced new Provincial Health Officer orders to support faith leaders in reducing the risk of COVID-19 to their congregants during worship services.  This is necessary as we move into the season for greater gatherings for worship purposes and associated social interaction. This is also during a time when we expect to see an increased seasonal risk of COVID—19 transmission.   

The measures announced today:  [Nov 30]

  > A requirement that worship services must be limited to 50% of seated capacity, unless all the participants are vaccinated, in which case the capacity could increase to 100%.  While the BC Vaccine Card is an option available for this purpose, faith leaders will have the flexibility to design their own system to ensure that all participants are vaccinated, if that is the model they choose to follow.  

  > A requirement that participants attending worship services, including choirs, must wear a face covering during worship services, including as participants come in to the place of worship and when they leave, until outside.  Participants will be able to remove the face covering when consuming food or drink to allow for ceremonial activities.  Readers and celebrants will be allowed to speak without a mask, subject to distancing requirements or barrier to prevent transmission.  

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions about these measures please email: vco.stakeholders@gov.bc.ca  

Your ongoing support and assistance is much appreciated.  

Dr. Bonnie Henry

Provincial Health Officer