Chilliwack Free Reformed Church on Yale Road (seen on Dec. 1, 2020), along with Free Grace Baptist Church, held in-person services despite the Nov. 19 public health order banning indoor gatherings. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Chilliwack Free Reformed Church on Yale Road (seen on Dec. 1, 2020), along with Free Grace Baptist Church, held in-person services despite the Nov. 19 public health order banning indoor gatherings. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

B.C. allows up to 4 indoor religious services from March 28-May 13

Temporary easing with Easter, Passover, Ramadan coming up

B.C. public health rules are being relaxed on a trial basis from March 28 to May 13 to allow indoor religious services for the important holidays coming up.

A public health variance order issued March 25 allows for indoor worship services on four days during that period, requiring physical distance and masks, and limiting attendance to 50 people or 10 per cent of the space capacity, whichever is less. People must pre-registered with a phone number or email address to allow for controlling attendance and contact tracing.

People attending are required to complete a health check first. Weddings, baptisms and indoor funerals are still off limits. A soloist may sing but no choirs are permitted.

“We are hopeful that this one-time indoor variance can be extended after the end of the trial period that we have until May 13,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said. “But of course it’s based on the pandemic and the epidemiological situation that we’re seeing here in B.C.”

Easter 2021 begins with Good Friday on April 2 and Easter Sunday April 4. The Jewish tradition of Passover begins on the evening of Friday, March 27 and ends on the evening of April 4. The Muslim tradition of Ramadan begins April 13 and lasts 30 days.

Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan have repeatedly held conference calls with faith leaders around the province to seek their support for the year-long series of public health orders on indoor gatherings. A group of Fraser Valley churches took the province to B.C. Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson upheld the public health orders March 19.

RELATED: Judge dismisses churches’ petition against COVID-19 rules

RELATED: Langley church fined twice for no-mask indoor services

Henry said the timing of the temporary variance order is to coincide with important dates.

“That was selected with careful consideration of the very important upcoming holidays across different faith communities across the province,” Henry said. “It comes agains the backdrop of increasing case counts. And if conditions require us to revisit this, we will do so in consultation, again, and I am very appreciative that faith leaders have expressed that we all have that common goal of keeping people safe through this very challenging year.

“We take no pleasure, of course, in limiting any of the religious communities’ practices, and we want this to be a success. We want to make sure we are protecting those most vulnerable.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Chilliwack Search and Rescue volunteers say that a call on April 17 on Vedder Mountain was affected by bikers who rode through the rescue site, throwing rocks onto members and the patient. (Chilliwack Search and Rescue image)
Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, and patient, sprayed with rocks and dirt during rescue

Volunteer crew speaks out after riders on Vedder Mountain show no courtesy at accident scene

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
One man dead after shooting in Downtown Vancouver

This is Vancouver’s fifth homicide of the year

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Most Read