(May 15, 2020) Despite significant changes announced by the premier of Ontario yesterday, officials have not yet indicated when groups of 10 will be allowed to congregate. There are still over 300 cases of COVID-19 daily in Ontario, with a large proportion of these being community transmission. The advice remains that people limit any contact outside of one’s own household. Furthermore, no organized public events of more than five people indoors or outdoors are permitted by law.
Our Minyan Committee has been hard at work, carefully considering how groups of more than 5 eventually participating in a minyan can act to minimize the risk of community spread of COVID-19. On an ongoing basis, we are privileged to share our views with Rabbis in our community who have turned to us in consultation. Since public health considerations are informed by circumstances that are dynamic, it would be premature for us to provide specific recommendations, as they do not apply until COVID-19 cases decrease below the threshold and gatherings of 10 are permitted.
Rest assured, we are monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to provide specific guidance as it becomes relevant to do so.
We have been approached by representatives from various shuls around to the city to provide some indication of what they can expect when gatherings of 10 become legally permitted. General principles will remain the same in any event. We anticipate the ongoing need for essential elements of physical distancing. These include formation of small groups (possibly limited to 10 members, if legally mandated), separation of at least 6 feet between individuals at all times, and mask wearing by participants. It is a consideration for the time being that minyanim would take place exclusively outdoors.
Finally, we are more than eager to return to our shuls. Sadly, but for good reason, we do not expect to be able to do so in Stage 1 of re-opening. We continue to plan for that eventuality all the same.