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Schara Tzedeck "Return to Pray" Protocols 

EDITED MARCH 1 2021

From Dr. Bonnie Henry:

Further to the variance granted I granted to the Orthodox Jewish congregations on February 23 to hold Purim and Sabbath services in-doors, this is to clarify that consistent with your original request, the variance only allowed indoor services for the Sabbath of February 27, given that it followed immediately after the Purim gatherings on Thursday and Friday.

We are noting that virus transmission remains elevated and there are indications of increasing viral transmission in some areas of the province.  In addition we are seeing increased reports of virus variants of concern (VOCs). Modelling suggests that if these VOCs were to become established or predominant in our province, case counts will rise quickly and significantly. The enclosed presentation from the Public Health Agency of Canada notes that “With spread of VOC, current public health measures will be insufficient, and epidemic resurgence is forecast” (see slide 12) and “In all provinces current controls may not be sufficient to fully control the variants of concern. The early lifting of public health measures could lead to a resurgence of the epidemic, including the community transmission of variants of concern” (slide 16).

For these reasons I am revising the variance to the order to be clear that weekly Sabbath services at all Jewish Orthodox Synagogues must be held outdoors, according to the following conditions.-

Capacity, Setting and Attendee Limitations

1. The maximum number of people attending a service is 25.

2. Services are to be held outdoors.

3. Due to higher risk of serious complications of COVID-19 infection, the organizer must advise and encourage the following people to NOT attend in-person services:

a. People over the age of 70 (even if immunized, as there is currently uncertainty about the timing and duration of protection from immunization);

b. People who are living with someone with COVID-19, or upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms;

c. People with underlying medical conditions or compromised immune systems that put them at higher risk of severe illness or complications from COVID-19;

 

Preparation

1. To support contact tracing in case of an exposure to an infected participant, the organizer must:

a. pre-register participants to assure maximum number of attendees is not exceeded

b. collect the first and last names and telephone number, or email address, of every participant who attends a service;

c. retain this information for thirty days, in case there is a need for contact tracing on the part of the medical health officer, in which case the information must be provided to the medical health officer; and

d. destroy the information after thirty days.

2. Before attending the service, all participants must carry out a health check, which means reviewing the questions on the health check poster at https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/posters/help-prevent-spread-covid-19-entry-check-workers?lang=en.

3. If a participant has not carried out or passed the health check, they must not be present at the service.

4. If a participant exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 they must not attend the service;

5. Hand sanitation supplies are to be readily available.

 

Conduct of Services

1. Every participant will wear a non-medical face covering or mask.

2. Celebrants may remove their mask when speaking, but there must be at least a three-metre separation between them and other participants or there must be a physical barrier between them and other participants which blocks the transmission of droplets.

3. Each participant is to maintain 2 metres physical distance from one another, unless they reside in the same household.

4. No service will last more than one hour.

5. There will be no social gatherings or social interaction among participants before or after the services, whether indoors or outdoors.

6. There is to be no passing of a collection bag or plate and no sharing of ceremonial objects.

7. Participants are not permitted to sing or chant.

8. Participants must disperse immediately after a service and must not congregate with patrons who are leaving the service or arriving for a subsequent service.

 

In summary, pursuant to section 43 (3) (c) of the Public Health Act (excerpt below), I am varying the order with respect to the weekly Sabbath events further to the conditions above. The other applicable requirements of the Gatherings and Events order posted on my website at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/covid-19-novel-coronavirus continue to be in force.

 

Please note that this variance does not have an expiry date but may be withdrawn at any time by me should conditions exist that warrant doing so in the interests of protecting public health, such as if the variants of concern proliferate in the general population or we see increasing community transmission due to other factors.

 

EDITED FEBRUARY 24 2021

Given the current epidemiology of COVID-19, on behalf of Dr. Henry this message is to grant you a conditional variance to the PHO Gatherings and Events order to hold your Purim and weekly Sabbath services indoors, subject to adherence to the conditions listed below. 

The conditions of the variance to the order are:

1.      There are to be no more than 25 people attending services, as long as there is enough space for each person to maintain 2 metre physical distance from each other.
2.      Before attending the service participants must carry out a daily health check, which means reviewing the questions on the health check poster at https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/posters/help-prevent-spread-covid-19-entry-check-workers?lang=en.

3.      If they have not carried out or passed the daily health check, participants must not be present at the service.

4.      If participants exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 they must not attend the service;

  • Every participant will be wearing a face mask on entry to the building, during the service and on exiting.
  • Celebrants may remove their mask when speaking, but there must be at least a three-metre separation between them and the participant or there must be a physical barrier between them and other participants which blocks the transmission of droplets.
  • Each participant is to maintain 2 metres physical distance from one another (unless they are in the same family).
  • The services will last no more than one hour.
  • Hand sanitation supplies are to be readily available and high levels of hygiene maintained.
  • There will be no social gatherings or social interaction before or after the services, indoors or outdoors.
  • Ventilation is to be maximized through mechanical means and/or opening doors or windows.
  • There is to be no sharing of ceremonial objects.

13.  Participants are not allowed to sing.

14.  Participants must disperse immediately after a service and must not congregate with patrons who are leaving the service or arriving for a subsequent service.

15.  Following a service, and during an appropriate interval of time before another service commences, the organizer must ensure that:

a.      the place is cleaned, sanitized and ventilated while there are no patrons present;

b.      there is a sufficient period of time between services to permit a place to be cleaned, sanitized and ventilated without any participants being present, and

c.      participants leaving one service, do not have contact with patrons arriving for a subsequent service.

16.  To support contact tracing in case of an exposure to an infected participant, the organizer must

  • collect the first and last names and telephone number, or email address, of every participant who attends a service; retain this information for thirty days, in case there is a need for contact tracing on the part of the medical health officer, in which case the information must be provided to the medical health officer; and destroy the information after thirty days.

17.   Due to higher risk of serious complications of COVID-19 infection, the organizer must advise and encourage the following people to NOT attend in-person indoor services:

a.      People over the age of 60

b.      People who are living with someone with upper respiratory or flu-like symptoms

c.      People with underlying or comprised medical conditions.

d.     Family members who live with people over 60 or those with underlying or comprised medical conditions

Please note that this variance does not have an expiry date but may be withdrawn at any time by the Provincial Health Officer should conditions exist that warrant doing so in the interests of protecting public health.

 

EDITED JANUARY 2021

We have received special notice from Dr. Henry regarding running services on Shabbat based on the knowledge that we, as an orthodox institution, cannot use electronics on Saturdays to perform our ritual duties. Therefore this is to inform you that, according to section 43 (3) (c) of the Public Health Act, Dr. Henry is varying the current order for our Sabbath religious services, with the conditions below.  This variance remains in place for the duration of the Provincial Health Officer prohibition on events.  The other conditions of the order, as applicable, continue to be in force.

  • Special services are limited to 25 people.
  • Services are held outside with only a tent covering- no walls
  • People maintain a physical distance of 2 metres from each other.
  • Attendees wear masks
  • High levels of hygiene are maintained.
  • There will be no social gatherings or social interaction before or after the services, indoors or outdoors.

The other applicable requirements of the Gatherings and Events orders are posted at https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/covid-19-novel-coronavirus continue to be followed.

EDITED NOVEMBER 15TH 2020

ALL SERVICES ARE SUSPENDED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

EDITED SEPTEMBER 2020

This protocol “Return to Pray” was developed in accordance with guidelines and advice from the BC Ministry of Health, the BC Provincial Health Officer, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Schara Tzedeck COVID-19 Advisory Committee.

This protocol is designed to balance your experience at Schara Tzedeck with best practices to help minimize health risks and to protect against the spread of COVID-19 within and beyond our doors.

“Return to Pray” will be rolled out in two stages. The goal of this graduated approach is to allow us time to evaluate our protocol and make adjustments as needed.

Stage 1 Our beta test week will begin Monday, June 1 with Shacharit at 6:45 am, and Mincha/Maariv at 9:00 pm for attendees ages 11-35 only. Rabbi Federgrun will be leading services this week.

Stage 2 will begin Monday, June 8 am with Shacharit at 6:45 am, and Mincha/Maariv at 9:00 pm for everyone ages 9 yrs and up. Both Rabbi Rosenblatt and Rabbi Federgrun will be leading services this week.

  1. Reservations. All attendees MUST register for services. Attendees can register either online or by calling the shul office at (604) 736-7607 by 3pm daily during regular business hours. Office administration will identify and reach out to members who may need assistance with registration.

NOTE: Registration is critical to ensuring we have accurate information to assist with contact tracing in the event of an outbreak and help with planning for the correct number of services needed to accommodate all registered worshippers. Therefore, there will be no accommodation for ‘walk-in’ worshippers.

  1. Admission Criteria. Everyone who wishes to attend must be symptom-free. Upon registration you will be asked a short series of health inventory questions to ensure you are healthy and do not pose a risk to other members, clergy, staff or community. Further, when you arrive at shul, a greeter will ask you about your symptoms or those of anyone with whom you live. If you arrive at shul and disclose or present with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you will be denied entry to the synagogue.
    PLEASE: IF YOU DO NOT FEEL WELL, STAY HOME.
  2. Service Capacity. Each service will be limited to 50 people per service with, where possible, the same individuals at each service to assist with easier contact tracing. Changes in service size will be determined in accordance with guidelines from the BC Ministry of Health, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Schara Tzedeck COVID-19 Advisory Committee.
  3. Number of Services. The number of services will be determined by the number of registrants. Services will run consecutively and/or concurrently in different rooms as needed to accommodate all registrants, with the designated limit of 50 people per service.
  4. Service Changes.
  • Length of service will be modified, where possible, to help mitigate the chance of transmission. For example, for morning services, participants are asked to recite the section of Pesukei D’zimra at home, allowing us to focus on the parts of the service that can only be done with a Minyan.
  • Torah reading will be done by one person, who will read all the aliyot, including maftir and haftarah, as well as take out and return the Torah to the ark.
  • No kissing of Torah by worshippers during hakafah.

 

  1. Entry. Entry will be through the Oak Street entrance at the Wosk Auditorium. Everyone is asked to note and respect proper physical distancing and ensure no crowding at the entrance, by observing the new two-metre markings on the sidewalk and entry walkway.
  2. Exit: Controlled exit will be managed in coordination with security, via multiple designated exits to minimize the potential for crowding after services.
  3. Security. Guards will be on-site on Shabbat, as before, to assist with regular security, as well as management of new protocols.
  4. Service Location(s) Services will be held in the Main Sanctuary, with additional concurrent or consecutive services in the Wosk Auditorium, as needed.
  5. Seating Members of the same family who live together are encouraged to sit together. Seating areas will be clearly marked off with coloured tape to indicate the designated area for that service. For example, attendees at the first service will sit in seats marked in blue. Attendees at the next service in seats marked in green. Additional services will take place in a similar fashion in the Wosk Auditorium, as needs demand.
  6. Children Children must be 9 years old or older to attend regular services. (Please note, children between the ages of 9-11 yrs are now able to attend services with the stipulation that they must remain with one of their parents throughout the entire service and wear a mask at all times. The first week they attend will be a probationary period to see if they are able to adhere to the rules and protocols of the synagogue.) We are working on a family service with young children. Details TBA.
  7. Hygiene Attendees will be required to disinfect their hands with hand sanitizer upon entry to the shul building and be vigilant about their hygiene. You must remain 6ft apart from those not within your family bubble.
  8. Mask Everyone is required to wear a mask inside Schara Tzedeck. Please feel free to bring your own preferred medical mask, face shield, homemade mask or even a ski buff. Evidence suggests that viral transmission can be reduced with the use of masks. We do not want to take chances, please wear one.
  9. Siddurim and Chumashim Attendees are asked to bring their own siddur and chumash. If you do not have a siddur or chumash, we will supply you with one and label it with your name for your exclusive use at Schara Tzedeck.
  10. Kippot and Talitot Each man is encouraged to bring his own kippah and talit. IF you forget your kippah, we will provide you with one to keep. However, NO talitot will be provided at shul.
  11. Restrooms. Maintenance staff will clean the restrooms regularly and it will be one person at a time. Signs will be posted on restroom doors indicating, available, in use, or cleaning.
  12. Kissing. None (within the shul), i.e. mezuzot or Torah.

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR MINYAN

 

Wed, 8 December 2021 4 Tevet 5782