Local churches asking to be exempt from new crowd restrictions

Local places of worship want the same treatment that theaters and reception halls are receiving as Covid-19 cases are on the rise and we slink closer to the red

Kingdom Hall on Stuart too, will be limited in the amount of people that can attend at a given time state new rules set in place during stage orange of the pandemic /June 2019 via Google images

Local places of worship have asked the government to change their decision, as their decision and new rules set in place state that they can only have gatherings of up to 25 people at a given time. They claim a severe injustice in this regard, as they have not been given the same allowances as theaters and reception halls have been given. In a conversation with City Councilor Mary Deros, she said: “They need to survive as well.”

A rise in numbers

As we’ve been reporting on the Park Extension News website, the numbers are rising and really, like trickling water from a troublesome hole in the works, the numbers haven’t stopped rising since threats of a second wave surfaced. And now, as we are at the cusp of the red stage of a pandemic that has already wreaked so much havoc in our city and around the world, people are left to wonder just how these decisions are being made. In light of this decision here, we can definitely see that some, if not all plans, haven’t been all that well thought out.

A conversation with City Councilor Deros

It was actually Mary Deros that called me, asking that I shine some light on this, as she felt that leaving the churches in the proverbial dust, allowing so few people in to worship, was definitely a tragedy in and of itself. She stated that if theaters were allowed more people at a given time, why not churches as well? She went on to say that perhaps churches were just as severely hit, if not more, than many local businesses during this horrible time of pandemic, and she agrees with the religious leaders calling for a change, this early in the orange stage of this second wave—and she states that all places of worship should be exempt, as especially in Park Extension, there are many faiths in the borough and they’re all being restricted with this new decision.

Eglise De Dieu Outremont on Stuart, Jehovah’s Witness Kingdom Hall on Stuart and Temple Shree Ramji Mandhata on Durocher (as well as Orthodox and catholic churches in the area), are just a few of the places of worship in the area that’ll surely be affected by the new decision and have already been affected by the pandemic.

Audiences in a public space are allowed to be up to 250 people at a given time. Many are suggesting that perhaps churchgoers are in fact audiences in a public space.

Others react

Temple Shree Ramji Mandhata will also be affected by the recent decision/ Image via Google images Picasa—image capture July 2020

“We demand from the government authorities that they reclassify as of today the places of worship”, said the president of the Assembly of the Catholic bishops of Quebec, Christian Rodembourg.

City Councilor Chantal Rossi agrees with Mary Deros, stating: “It’s absolutely illogical. Why are places of worship so distinct from other spaces? If the church becomes an auditorium for fundraising, do we apply the 25 or the 250?”

This decision can present an even worse issue

It was once again City Councilor Deros that stated that people need places of worship in times of peril. They needed it in the horrible first wave that came by, and so many issues were brought up for people during that time … even suicides went up, and she feels that places of worship need to be considered for higher numbers of people at one time, because further disasters for members of the community can be avoided with that simple decision. “People go to church and their places of worship for comfort,” she said. And in the end, perhaps comfort—the comfort that only a place of worship can give— is all we have left.

The red

And maybe it’s the red that everyone fears, and that is the only logical thing in all of this … the fear, but to limit churches and theaters seems wrong to so many in the community, but as the numbers rise this week, and slink closer to the red, perhaps all the rules will be changed once again, and at any given moment, we’re afraid.