On Wednesday afternoon, I received the information below from the Manager of Strategic Outreach & Stakeholder Relations Office of the Premier of BC. It offers some helpful clarification, especially the italicized sections, regarding the ways communities of faith are exempt from the vaccine card and mask wearing requirements – and the ways they are not.
In my last email about gathering in-person, within the August 24th mandates, I wrote “The standards provided by the province are minimum standards, and it is important to acknowledge that we as United Church people can ask for a higher standard in our communities of faith and ministries, in response to our duty of care of our people.”
We remember that children are not yet vaccinated, elders and immune-compromised people continue to be hit hard by COVID-19 and variants, and of course of our communities of faith may also include people who are not vaccinated, for reasons that are their own. We do hope and pray for all people who can, to chose to be vaccinated. I invite church leaders to continue the faithful work of discerning what are the best maximum practices for your community of faith setting.
Continue to stay connected to the government resources linked below, and our PMRC COVID-19 Support page.
Community of Faith Exemptions and Inclusions
“A number of faith-based organizations have requested clarification on the proof of vaccination requirement and mask mandate. All worship services (and receptions following services) are exempt from the mask mandate and the requirement for proof of vaccination. In addition, any public meetings held in faith-based settings that have a worship component such as youth groups and pastor meetings or essential services like NA/AA group meetings, warming and cooling centres, or providing food to people in need, are also exempt from the mask mandate and proof of vaccination requirement.
However, an organized event such as a reception, celebration of life reception, or other event that does not have a worship component, does require attendees to provide proof of vaccination and wear masks. For information on how your organization can verify proof of vaccination click here.
In all of the instances above we continue to recommend that you follow the guidelines for faith based organizations to keep your congregants safe, including: encouraging your community members to get vaccinated, wearing masks in all settings unless eating/drinking, making sure people who are ill do not attend worship services, and supporting those who are not yet vaccinated to participate remotely.”
More About the BC Vaccine Card
“Effective September 13, people aged 12 and over will be required to show proof of vaccination to get into certain events, services, and businesses in BC If you’re 18 or older you’ll also need to show valid government photo ID.
The three accepted forms of proof of vaccination will be:
✅ An official BC immunization record – accepted until Sept 26
✅ The BC Vaccine Card – save it to your phone, print it, or call 1-833-838-2323 to get one by mail. Translators are available. Individuals can also go to one of the 65 in-person Service BC Offices
✅ An official immunization record from outside-of-BC – accepted if you’re a visitor to BC
To obtain your BC Vaccine Card go to: https://www.healthgateway.gov.bc.ca/vaccinecard You will need to provide date of birth, personal health number (PHN), and date you received dose 1 or dose 2.
To learn more about the rollout of BC’s Vaccine Card go to https://www.gov.bc.ca/vaccinecard
We encourage you to share this with your networks and have included English and multi-lingual information in the links below: