Places of worship find ways to work within capacity limits

By | July 25, 2020

WINNIPEG — As Phase 4 of the province‚Äôs reopening plan starts, places of worship continue to struggle to ensure everyone gets a chance to engage in their faith.

Faith-based services and powwows don’t have a cap on gathering sizes anymore but are still forced to maintain less than 30 per cent capacity.

The new rules allow churches, mosques, and temples to let more people in, but many places of worship are still limiting the number of people allowed inside.

Urooj Danish, the office manager for the Manitoba Islamic Association, said those who want to attend have to book in advance.

“No one can book more than two spots, so if you are booking for your weekly prayers, you cannot book for more than two weeks,” said Danish.

She said this allows everyone to get a chance to pray inside the mosque.

When people come in to pray, their tickets are scanned, and they have to use hand sanitizer. 

Father Michael Bollwaum from St. Charles Parish said they are also taking bookings online or by phone.

“We do proper screening before. We ask people specific questions before they are allowed to enter, and then we asked them to sanitize when they first come in and before they leave. And we keep physical distancing at all times,” he noted

If there are still empty spaces available, the church will take walk-ins.

Even with restrictions easing, some places of worship aren’t taking any chances.

Sensei Tanis Moore from the Manitoba Buddhist Temple said they are sticking to online services.

“We have a lot of elderly members, so we need to protect them as well as our selves. We have a lot of virtual services across Canada and through the States,” said Sensei Tanis Moore.

Despite the hardships, the faith organizations remain optimistic. 

“I know that we are in this together, and we can deal with this together,” said Danish, who believes the challenges grow support for each other.

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