Guidelines for Visiting St. Agnes Parish during COVID-19
St. Agnes Parish Guidelines comply with legislation and regulations provided by:
The Province of Ontario
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit Medical Officer of Health
The City of Thunder Bay
The Diocese of Thunder Bay
Category: Entering and Exiting
The centre door of the church is cordoned off so that just the two side doors are available for entry and exiting.
The side entry doors will be propped open to avoid contact with handles.
Everyone who enters or remains in the church is required to wear a mask or face covering. Exceptions includes children under 2 years of age, anyone who requires accommodation in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code, anyone who cannot remove the mask without assistance, and anyone who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons. (Refer to Policy, Pandemic/Epidemic...001, Mandatory Use of Masks or Face Coverings)
Greeters and Ushers will wear a mask.
Greeters will be stationed at 2 separate tables in the foyer – one table will be by the Mary Room and the other bythe opposite wall.
Greeters will ensure everyone is wearing a mask or face covering, direct people to use hand sanitizer, provide instructions and answer questions. They will also keep count of the parishioners entering to avoid over-capacity.
Tape has been applied on the floors at the church entrance, in the foyer, and in the aisles of the church to designate spacing of 2 metres (6 feet) increments and also indicate the direction of movement.
The sidewalk outside the church has been marked to indicate proper physical distancing requirements as well.
Two ushers will be present at each Mass.
Parishioners will be escorted to appropriate seating by the Ushers.
Ushers will assist Greeters in the event there is a surge of parishioners entering at the same time.
Fr. James will make an announcement prior to the end of each mass asking parishioners to remain in their seats until escorted out by the Ushers to ensure an orderly exit, ensuring physical distancing.
Pews have been measured and every second row has been roped off and will be kept empty to allow sufficient distancing between rows.
Parishioners will also be seated at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart within the pews; parishioners will not be seated in the centre area unless part of a larger group taking an entire pew.
Families can be seated together as a family unit/cluster.
The choir area is not be to used to seat parishioners.
Ushers will escort parishioners to the appropriate pew and will seat people further into the pew to keep the centre aisle clear.
Ushers will seat people beginning at the front of the church (unless specifically requested otherwise).
An area at the front left side of the church has been designated for those who attend with a personal mobility device.
Individuals using a walker will be seated at a designated pew at the back of the church.
Walkers will be stowed at the back of the church along the back wall.
When nearing capacity, u\Ushers will communicate to Greeters so the church hall can be prepared to accommodate parishioners.
The church hall will be available for overflow; tape has been installed on the floor to designate spacing of 2 metres (6 feet) increments and to indicate the direction of movement.
Greeters will direct parishioners into the church hall, as required.
Parishioners in the church hall will be seated at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart.
The Entrance Procession will take place directly from the Sacristy.
There will only be one Lector present at each Mass.
The Lector will be seated at the front on the left side close to the ambo.
Announcements and Scripture Readings will all be done from the ambo.
The Lectionary and Announcements Binder will remain on the ambo so it will not be necessary for the Lector to enter the Sacristy.
The Greeting of Peace is maintained; a simple bow of the head towards one’s neighbour is offered as a sign of peace ( Hand shaking is NOT permitted).
After the priest has received Holy Communion, he will hold up the host for the congregation to see and will say “The Body of Christ”; the congregation will respond with “Amen”; during the distribution of Holy Communion, no words are spoken.
Ushers will assist people in approaching for Holy Communion, ensuring physical distancing is maintained.
There will only be one Eucharistic Minister present at each Mass in addition to the priest.
The priest and Eucharistic Minister will wear a mask when distributing Holy Communion.
Fr. James will distribute Holy Communion to parishioners in the centre aisle.
The Eucharistic Minister will distribute Holy Communion to parishioners in the two outside sections (first one side and then the other).
Father James will distribute Holy Communion in the church hall as required.
Communion is received only in the hand at this time.
The priest or Eucharistic Minister will carefully place the Sacred Host in the recipient’s hand without touching the person; no words are spoken.
Parishioners will keep their masks on until they have received the host in their palms and are physically distanced from the Priest or Eucharistic minister.
Pyxes and directions will be stored in the sacristy and are also available at the altar; pyxes will be available on request and at the discretion of Fr. James.
There will only be one Cantor and a pianist/organist at each Mass.
The Cantor will be behind plexiglass to ensure physical distancing and the safety of others during singing.
There will be no congregational singing.
Secured containers for parishioner’s offerings for Mass will be available behind the last pews in each of the centre aisles.
Collection containers will be monitored by the Ushers to ensure security.
Collection containers will be on wheels so they can be easily moved into the sacristy for safe depositing.
Category: Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing Procedures
All staff engaged in cleaning will wear a mask and disposable gloves.
Masks are to be disposed of when dirty or not later than the end of the day.
Gloves will be changed at the end of a task or after cleaning a washroom and hands are washed (or rinsed with hand sanitizer) after removal of gloves.
Pew fronts and tops and sides of pew benches that are used will be wiped with a disinfectant cleaner after each weekday mass and between each weekend mass.
The surface of the ambo, the Lectionary, Announcements Binder and Microphone will be wiped after each mass as well as the Lector chair and adjacent table.
Microphones and the keyboard/mouse used by the music ministry are cleaned between masses, including the plexiglass barrier used by the cantor.
The Collection boxes will be wiped with a disinfectant cleaner between masses.
All rooms within the church that are used (Mary Room, Children's Chapel, Church Hall) are cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner after each use.
All surfaces (including floors, seating, kneelers) will be cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner at least once a week.
Washrooms will be restricted to use only when absolutely necessary.
Only one stall in each washroom will be available for use and will be cleaned between masses and more often as required.
Handwashing signs are posted in the washroom.
Signage indicating occupancy limits is posted outside washroom.
A wall-mounted hand sanitizing unit is available in the hallway outside the washrooms.
Two wall-mounted hand sanitizing units are installed in the entrance of the church (these units are checked prior to each mass to ensure they are filled and operating properly).
Two tables with bottles of hand sanitizers are set up in the foyer; a Greeter will be at each table to provide direction and answer questions.
A bottle of hand sanitizer as well as disinfectant wipes will be available in the back pews of the church.
Hand sanitizer is also available in the Sacristy and at the Altar, as well as on the table adjacent to the Lector's chair.
A waste basket is located near the entrance/exit of church.
Large sized Notices (18" by 24") have been placed at the entrance of the church with a general directive asking people to refrain from entering if they are feeling sick or have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, excessive fatigue and muscle aching, or chills.
Signage has been placed at both Greeter's tables directing people to use the hand sanitizer and to avoid touching their face or other individuals.
Signage is posted that includes information for parishioners to ensure physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) is maintained at all times and to follow the guidance of the Greeters and Ushers.
Signage regarding the requirement to wear a mask or face covering is also posted at the church entrance.
Signage is placed outside washrooms indicating only one individual (or one family) is to be in the washroom at one time.
During weekend masses, the Children's Chapel is open with entry from within the worship area; the Chapel is available to families on a first come-first serve basis; parents are responsible for sanitizing the Children's Chapel after using the space.
Holy water fonts have been removed.
Entrance to the sacristy is limited to those who are required to prepare for the liturgy and limited to only one person at a time.
Hymn books and other paper items have been removed from pews and from the foyer
Live streaming will continue at the Saturday 5 p.m. Mass, Sunday 11 a.m. Mass, and Tuesday 7 p.m. Mass and Adoration.
Most recent approved amendment date: November 25, 2021
St. Agnes Parish 1019 Brown Street Thunder Bay, ON P7E 2L7
Office Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 9:00 am until 4:00 pm