Yesterday, the premier of our Province, Jason Kenney, announced a significant change in governmental Covid restrictions. The big story, of course, was the removal of the Restriction Exemptions Program. However, the province has also removed all gathering restrictions from churches immediately, and it looks like the mandate to require masking will end on March 1.
I feel that this is premature for our churches, but I also recognize that it signals that we too need to look at what measures should be in place in order to live sustainably with this virus. Of course, our primary value in all of this is the safety of our parishioners.
For now, however, we will keep everything in the diocese status quo for the next two Sundays at least. To be clear, even though the government is lifting gathering restrictions, all churches in the Diocese of Edmonton will keep them in place for the Sundays of February 13 and February 20.
During this time, the leadership of the diocese will meet, and I will be in conversation with other bishops in our province, as well as some medical professionals in our midst. We will articulate further guidance from the diocese next week. Please know that I am extremely grateful to all our parishes for their attentiveness to navigating the restrictions during these times of transition. Please continue to raise your prayers to God's for wisdom and mercy as we trust in God to bring us through this.
Blessings, Bishop Steve