Today, the Government of Ontario announced a 28-day province-wide lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown will come into effect on Saturday, April 3, 2021. Places of worship throughout the province will have a maximum capacity of 15 per cent during starting on Saturday.
Easter in Toronto and Peel Region
This announcement presents no changes for parishes in Toronto and Peel Region for the Easter Triduum.
Easter in Durham Region, Orangeville, Simcoe County and York Region
For parishioners currently in Red Zone regions (Durham Region, Orangeville, Simcoe County and York Region), this announcement is sure to cause confusion, as it comes into effect just before the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. Many of you may be worried about what this announcement means for the tickets you booked for the Easter Triduum. We share your disappointment at the timing of this announcement.
Parishes will respect the 15 per cent capacity limit starting on Saturday, April 3, 2021.
The real capacity for most parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto has been closer to 15 per cent throughout the pandemic, because the two-metre/six-foot physical distancing space between households limits the number of people who can be in our churches.
As a result, parishes using online reservation systems should be able to respond to this announcement in time for Easter. There are several options available to parishes that made tickets available at 30 per cent capacity and they are already working to ensure as many people as possible can celebrate Easter in their church.
Please check your parish’s website and social media channels in the coming days for more details.
Attending Mass will be largely the same for parishes that use a first-come-first-seated system.
What If I Cannot Get into a Church?
Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, continues the dispensation for those who cannot attend Mass during the pandemic.
For those who cannot physically attend Mass, there are a number of virtual options available, including:
Starting Monday, April 5, 2021, all funerals in the Archdiocese of Toronto will be limited to 15 per cent capacity (including the priest and other celebrants) to a maximum of 50 people.
These are difficult times, but there are signs of hope that the pandemic will soon be behind us. Cardinal Collins has written a letter sharing his Holy Week thought, which you can read here. As Cardinal Collins writes in that letter, “In the midst of this spiritual distress, we must not lose sight that through the storm we are experiencing, Jesus remains the way, the truth and the life.”