March 9, 2021

Clarification of Recent Reports

Concerning a Funeral at a Parish Church of the Archeparchy

In the interest of clarifying the significance of recent news reports about "possible" Covid-19 exposure at a funeral held last week at a Winnipeg church, we want our parishioners to know the following:

- All safety protocols requested by Manitoba health authorities were meticulously followed - including the pre-screening of each individual that either came for the actual funeral parastas or just passed through the premises during the earlier "final viewing";

- However, it may be misconstrued by the unfortunate wording of the Manitoba March 8 Covid-19 Bulletin #366 and subsequent media reports that protocols may have been breached. There were never "40" people at any given time at the funeral. Rather, the restricted numbers presently stipulated by the government were adhered to at every given moment;

- We are pleased, rather, that the system works. Any participants that were deemed to be higher-risk contacts by the health authorities were informed about their exposure and have been asked to either self-quarantine or to watch for any symptoms - depending on the mode of their possible exposure to the individual that was later diagnosed with the coronavirus.

- The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is to be commended for their efficient and professional conduct in responsibly assessing the level of the risk and in informing those who needed to be contacted.

Having affirmed the above, we also want to state that,

It would be helpful to know how the Manitoba Government's description of a "close contact"[i] was applied to a specific number of "40 people" associated with the funeral rites in question. It must be affirmed again that all safety protocols requested by Manitoba health authorities were carefully followed - including the screening of each individual that came to the funeral or that passed through the location during the earlier "final viewing". Again, the restricted numbers presently stipulated by the government were adhered to at any given moment;

Our parishes have always taken every precaution from the earliest days when the news of the virus was first breaking. Directives from the chancery regarding safe conduct and sanitizing procedures have always closely echoed the public health orders, and in fact, to the chagrin of some, have occasionally even exceeded those health orders in the interest of assuring the safety of our faithful.

We encourage all our parishes not to be alarmed or disheartened by the recent reports, but to maintain their spirit of dedication to their faith and active church life, while always, of course, maintaining proper health-safety protocols at all times.

[i] Cf. Province of Manitoba | Information for close contacts ( The participants - with the exception of the few in question - never came "within two metres or six feet with an infected person who is coughing or sneezing" or touched "objects contaminated with the virus and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose".

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