Planning for Safe, Cautious Reopening

A message from Treena Duncan, Executive Minister

Religious organizations and faith-based worship services play a critical role in connecting the community by supporting beneficial and safe social interactions. As COVID-19 vaccinations are administered throughout the province, we are entering a new phase of the pandemic where we can begin to gather again in person to share hope, healing, restoration, and recovery together. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.

Chinook Winds Region recommends that Communities of Faith plan for safe, cautious re-opening as Alberta enters into new opening stages.

As many of you know, Premier Jason Kenney and cabinet members announced on Wednesday a three-stage re-opening process with Stage 1 starting June 1.

Places of Worship begin Stage 1 effective this Friday, May 28. As of tomorrow, that restriction moves back to 15 percent of fire code occupancy.

Additionally, Effective Tuesday, June 1 in Stage 1:

  • Funeral services can have up to 20 people, not including staff and clergy. Receptions remain prohibited.
  • Wedding ceremonies can have up to 10 people including officiant, bride/groom, witnesses. Receptions prohibited.

Stage 2: will occur two weeks after 60% of Albertans 12+ (born in 2009 or earlier) have received at least one dose and hospitalizations are below 500 and declining. Expected to be in effect in mid-June.

  • Places of worship – 1/3 of fire code occupancy
  • Funeral services – up to 20 people, indoors and outdoors (receptions permitted outdoors only)
  • Wedding ceremonies – up to 20 people, indoors and outdoors (receptions permitted outdoors only)
  • Outdoor social gatherings – up to 20 people with distancing (indoor social gatherings still not permitted)

Stage 3: Two weeks after 70% of Albertans 12+ (born in 2009 or earlier) have received at least one dose. Expected to be effective in late June or early July.

  • All restrictions lifted, including ban on indoor social gatherings
  • Isolation requirements for confirmed cases of COVID-19 and some protective measures in continuing care settings remain.

While these are provincial plans for re-opening, Chinook Winds Region encourages you to consider careful plans for re-opening. We recognize that not everyone is going to immediately feel safe about returning to in-person worship and would like to emphasize the importance of letting people know that they can stay home until they are comfortable returning to in-person. Please consider having both online and in-person ministry offerings to facilitate the involvement of everyone. You may also be considering offering outdoor worship. Please watch for resources available through Leadershift to support Communities of Faith who wish to offer both online and in person worship.

Certainly, we’re coming closely to the end of the tunnel. We look forward to the day when all of us have two doses of vaccine. That is coming.

In the meantime, please know that the Regional Staff remain available to you and we will continue to work together to plan for safe re-openings.


Treena Duncan, Executive Minister