COVID-19 PANDEMIC NEWS AND INFORMATION
February 16, 2021
From news sources, beginning Tuesday, February 16, the Hearst-Moosonee Diocese is divided into the following colour categories:
For these two zone, one is permitted up to 30% capacity for religious celebrations, marriages and funerals. More detailed information is provided in the following document:
February 8, 2021
Message from Terrence Prendergast, Apostolic Administrator, Hearst -Moosonee Diocese
According to the latest Government of Ontario directives, the “stay home” orders and sanitary restrictions will remain in effect in our health districts until Shrove Tuesday, February 16. We will need to wait until next week to learn what form our Ash Wednesday and other Lenten observances will take.
Thank you for continuing to adhere to all the precautions for keeping people safe.
January 14, 2021
SECOND DECLARATION OF EMERGENCY FOR ONTARIO –
In response to the alarming rise of covid 19 cases, a declaration of emergency was made on January 12, 2021 for all of Ontario. As of January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., a “stay at home order” is in effect for all of Ontario. This order is in effect for 28 days and could be extended if required.
This means you must stay at home. You should only go out for necessities, such as:
Businesses must ensure that all employees work from home if they can. Do not travel outside your region or the province unless absolutely necessary.
Additional detailed information related to this “Second Declaration of Emergency” can be found on the Province of Ontario website.
Note that individuals and/or businesses who do not follow the orders can be fined. Maximum fines can be up to $100,000 for individuals and $10 million for a corporation. Failure to follow the rules could also result in prosecution or even a year in jail.
January 8, 2021
On Thursday, January 7, 2021, the Ontario government extended the shutdown in Northern Ontario for another 14 days to Saturday, January 23, 2021, aligning with the shutdown period in Southern Ontario. For additional information, please refer to the CBC News article of January 7, 2021.
December 22, 2020
Following is the Hearst-Moosonee Diocese Inter-Par of December 27th. This is an important message from Mgr Prendergast, S. J., Diocesan Apostolic Administrator, regarding provincial measures and our own personal arrangements at this time of isolation.
December 21, 2020
Today Premier Doug Ford announced that all of Ontario will move into a lockdown on Boxing Day in a bid to curb climbing COVID-19 case numbers and spare hospitals and their intensive care units from being inundated in January.
The lockdown will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 26 and remain in place until at least Jan. 23, 2021 in the 27 public health units that comprise southern Ontario, the government says.
In Ontario’s north, where daily case numbers have been significantly lower, the lockdown is set to expire on Jan. 9, 2021.
Please refer to the following CBC News article for more detailed information:
July 16, 2020
Effective Thursday, July 23, 2020, in all communities in the Porcupine Health Unit area, it will be mandatory to wear a face covering in public indoor spaces. Please keep in mind that the use of a face covering does not replace the need for other public health measures such as physical distancing, frequent hand hygiene and staying home if unwell.
Please see the following instructions from the Porcupine Health Unit.
For more information, please visit the link below or contact the health unit office.
June 18, 2020
Please note the following poster “Health and Safety Rules to Protect Against Covid-19 At The Entrance And In The Church”, as provided by the Catholic Church of Montreal . (Click on the poster to enlarge)
June 17, 2020
The following is further to the June 13, 2020 news item regarding “Ontario eases restrictions on Wedding and Funeral Ceremonies”.
Refer to the attached French document from the Ministry of Health concerning the restrictions regarding marriages and funeral ceremonies. This document can be confusing, but the difference is between the words “Ceremonies” and “Receptions”.
For a wedding or funeral ceremony held indoors: a maximum of 30% of the capacity of your church.
For a wedding ceremony or funeral held outside: a maximum of 50 people.
For all wedding or funeral receptions held outside or inside the number is 10 people.
June 13, 2020
Ontario Eases Restrictions on Wedding and Funeral Ceremonies!
Refer to the original “News Ontario” bulletin and additional information regarding Stage 2 Reopening in Ontario, on the following link:
The Ontario government is providing more flexibility on the number of attendees permitted at indoor and outdoor wedding and funeral ceremonies, in recognition of the importance of being with loved ones during the moments that matter most.
Based on positive public health trends the government is extending the number of people allowed to attend an indoor wedding or funeral ceremony to a maximum of 30 per cent capacity of the ceremony venue.
Wedding and funeral ceremonies taking place outdoors will be limited to 50 attendees. For both indoor and outdoor ceremonies, those attending must follow proper health and safety advice, including practising physical distancing from people who are not from the same household or their established 10-person social circle.
“With recent progress to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are able to ease restrictions on these special ceremonies,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “We have taken deliberate steps to increase testing and increase our ability to track and contain this virus. As we loosen these measures, I strongly urge everyone to remain careful and cautious as we are all still at risk.”
The changes came into effect on Friday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. The maximum number of people allowed to attend indoor or outdoor wedding and funeral receptions remains at 10 people. As the COVID-19 outbreak evolves in Ontario, further direction will be provided on capacity restrictions for weddings and funerals going forward.
June 9, 2020
We have good news to share today!!
As of Friday at 12:01 a.m., Ontario residents will be allowed to gather in groups of 10 — up from the previous five. Also places of worship will be allowed to reopen, however with physical distancing measures in place and allowing no more than 30 per cent capacity.
Certain public health units will also see the reopening of services such as hairdressers and barbers, restaurant patios and more outdoor spaces.
More detailed information concerning “church operations during pandemic emergency situations” is available on
Please refer to the link below for the Workplace Safety & Prevention Services’ resource entitled Guidance on Health and Safety for Places of Worship During COVID-19.
This document includes resource links, tips and best practices to help employers and workers prevent the spread of COVID-19 and work together to reopen the province.
Please note that much of what is covered in this resource is also in the Worshipsafe manual.
May 27, 2020:
As you already know from the news Wednesday May 27th, the Government of Ontario has extended the emergency measures until June 9, which means that churches are not about to reopen. We will advise further once we hear otherwise.
The State of Emergency declared by the Government of Ontario forbidding the gathering of more than 5 people invites us to do our part to fight the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
All masses remain cancelled until we receive clearance from the Government of Ontario.
March 19, 2020:
As you know, everything is changing rapidly and new clearer directives from the Porcupine Health Unit have been issued on March 17, 2020 concerning churches. Our diocese is therefore following these new directives concerning Masses and all gatherings. As of today’s date ALL MASSES and CHURCH ACTIVITIES HAVE BEEN CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
For your information, please review the following most recent directives/communique of March 17, 2020 from the Porcupine Health Unit :
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