It has come to our attention that despite clear guidance to the contrary and a border closed to all unessential traffic, there are individuals coming to Toronto for Pesach, as well as people planning to join other families for Seder within our city. In response, we wanted to communicate the following message summarizing the current public health advisory:
- The provincial order of March 27thforbids the gathering of more than 5 people. The only exception is where there are more than 5 people who normally reside in a single residence. Conducting a seder with anyone who does not normally reside in your home, including any family from out of town or another neighbourhood, is forbidden by law. ANYONE who does not live in your home (grandparents, children, etc) should not come for seder.
- The Canadian federal travel order and the US/Canada agreement of March 20thprohibits all non-essential travel. Family should not travel across the US/Canada border to spend Pesach in Canada, even if they are Canadian citizens. If they have already travelled, they are not included in the household member exception (5 people) and are subject to a strict 14-day quarantine.
Anyone in contravention of the law risks being reported to authorities. But more importantly, they are endangering lives in our community. Several leading poskim (Rabbinic authorities) have suggested that it is not only allowed but obligatory to report violations of mandated quarantine. We sincerely hope and pray that our community will not require these drastic measures to be taken in order to protect one another.
We now know that COVID can be spread from people without symptoms. We know that people exposed to COVID can develop symptoms more than 14 days after an exposure. We know that people who have had COVID can continue to shed the virus for weeks after becoming asymptomatic. And we know that this disease does not care if you’re young or old, healthy or sick.
Please take this message seriously. Now is unfortunately a time where strict safety measures must be taken. There is no room for shortcuts or leniencies. Lives are literally at risk.
Please take the difficult and necessary steps to ensure that we avoid any unintended harm or suffering. And recognize that our best intentions to spend Seder with those we love and care for have the very real potential to spread disease and suffering.
Please stay safe. Exercise caution. Continue to care for each other. And keep our community healthy.
With love and appreciation for all that you’re doing to benefit each and every one of us,
(For a list of task force members and to sign up for updates please go to www.kolhacovid.com)