Extended lockdown measures force Ontarians to celebrate religious services remotely as COVID-19 cases surge.
Over the past year, COVID-19 pressured churches to conduct their services online. Many churches have turned to online platforms such as Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook lives to continue services for audiences unable to attend their limited in-person gatherings.
Smita Paul, 65, of Toronto, said it’s unexpected that COIVD-19 will continue.
“This is my first Easter of my life celebrating virtually,” she said.
Paul said her church is open for limited in-person gatherings but she’s avoided visiting in-person service as she is scared of getting infected.
“I have diabetes as well as hypertension,” she said.
However, Paul said she is grateful for the online platforms that allowed her to worship in her living room.
“It’s better having something rather than having nothing,” she said
The novel coronavirus wasn’t widespread in the province last year and she attended a sermon without fear, she said.
She continuously hoped the pandemic wouldn’t impact her in Canada.
“I prayed for all the COVID-suffering countries but I never thought that the virus will travel here,” Paul said.
Bardish Chagger, the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, said in an April 4 statement
“Easter is a time to gather, reflect, and spend quality time with loved ones,” Chagger said. “This year, as we continue our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, celebrations will take place virtually or in accordance with the local public health guidelines.”
Paul said she was grateful for video technology as she could watch her grandchildren who live in Alberta.
“I wish I could also touch them from the screen,” she said.
Like others, Paul also wished her friends and family Wished them what? via video calls. She said it took a while for her to adapt to this new normal of connecting people.
“I’m learning a new thing every day,” she said.
Using different electronic gadgets has made her techno-friendly these days.
The following Piktochart lists all the measures religious services must adhere to under the Reopening Act of Ontario.