Is The Coronavirus More Contagious in Church Parking Lots?

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Does the Ontario Government and our Public Health Department have new science suggesting that the Coronavirus is more contagious and dangerous for a person(s) in Church parking lots, compared to that same person(s) visiting a Provincial or Municipal park or waiting in line at their local Costco, Walmart or Home Depot parking lots?

“Unjust acts always seem to involve taking: taking life, taking liberty, taking dignity, taking property, taking the fruits of our love. When governments start taking rather than protecting, we as Christians have an obligation to stand up” (Ben Freeth)

On Friday May 15, Doug Ford announced that that over the Victoria Day Weekend he would begin opening up Provincial Parks for public use.  Physical distancing restrictions of 2m would still remain in effect.  This was hailed by citizens as a great step forward in the reopening of our Province and in allowing citizens public access to our amazing outdoor spaces.

On Saturday May 16, Doug Ford also announced that he was authorizing and signing an amendment to the Emergency Act, making it possible for Ontario Church goers to assemble in outdoor parking spaces beginning on May 17.  However, based on the very severe restrictions it would appear that Ontario Public Health has determined a different science for contagion, spread and danger of the the Novel Coronavirus (SARS CoV2) in open parking lots vs open park spaces or even in different parking lots for that matter.   The following images are straight from this amendment.

Here are the new regulations allowing a PERSON(S) to attend a Religious Gathering beginning on May 17, 2020:

Effective immediately individuals can gather to attend religious gatherings if they comply with the following regulations:

  • Each person attending the gathering, other than the persons conducting the service, rite or ceremony, must remain within a motor vehicle that is designed to be closed to the elements.
  • A person must not be in a motor vehicle that contains members of more than one household.
  • The driver of the motor vehicle must ensure that it is positioned at least 2m away from other motor vehicles.
  • No more than 5 persons may conduct the service, rite or ceremony from outside a motor vehicle, and the persons conducting the service, rite or ceremony must remain at least 2m apart from each other and from other persons attending the gathering.
  • The persons conducting the service, rite or ceremony must ensure that any building that is intended for such activities and is located at the place where the gathering is occurring remains closed during the gathering except for any access the persons conducting the service, rite or ceremony may reasonably require.
  • No materials must be exchanged; (1) between the persons conducting the service, rite or ceremony and the occupant of a motor vehicle or (2) between the occupant of one motor vehicle and the occupant of another motor vehicle.
  • A person who normally uses a non motorized vehicle because of their religious belief and who attends the gathering must remain within their non motorized vehicle and paragraphs 2, 3 and 6 apply with necessary modifications.

These restrictions are aimed at safeguarding the health and well-being of Ontarians while allowing individuals to practise your faith in congregate settings.

Just to be clear on this. 

  • The Ontario Government tells us on Friday May 15 that it is now safe for the public to make use of and congregate at Provincial Parks, as long as the person(s) maintains physical distancing of at least 2m from each other.
  • Municipal Governments are also using the same parameters to reopen many City Parks and open areas. 

However, when it comes to paved or gravel Church building parking lots the science appears to be very different.  A PERSON(S) attending a religious gathering in a parking lot must STAY IN THEIR VEHICLE WITH WINDOWS ROLLED UP and THE VEHICLES MUST STAY 2M APART.  Unlike a Provincial or Municipal Park where no limit has been put on the number of persons, ONLY 5 PEOPLE CAN BE OUT OF THEIR VEHICLES IN ORDER TO PERFORM THE RELIGIOUS SERVICE AND MUST REMAIN 2M APART.  

Do the regulations applied to those who wish to attend Church gatherings in parking lots make any sense when compared to the regulations applied to the exact same person(s) who may visit a local Provincial or Municipal Park or local big box store on the same day!?  Some questions we might ask:

  1. Is the Coronavirus more dangerous on paved or gravel surfaces vs a public park? 
  2. Is a Church parking lot somehow a more dangerous environment than the paved parking lot at Costco, Home Depot or Walmart where sometimes hundreds of people wait outside in line ups for 30min to an hour, 2m apart from many different people? Do Church parking lots present a more dangerous environment, requiring everyone to remain in their cars with windows rolled up at all times and with the vehicles 2m apart? 
  3. Why can’t Church goers sit in a chair by their car and maintain 2m distance from others for 30min to an hour, no different than we do in line at Costco or sitting at public parks that are now open? 
  4. If the public washrooms at the local Costco are open to the public for use after waiting in line with hundreds of people for 30min to an hour, why can’t Church buildings be open for washroom use during or after a 45min service?
  5. Can a Church have their service at a local park or grassy open area and if so, must they also remain in the vehicles with windows up?
  6. Are person(s) to keep their cars running for air conditioning so that no person(s) dies while sitting through a one hour service in the heat?  We are told over and over again by authorities and public health not to leave anyone in a vehicle while parked since temperatures in the vehicle reach unsafe heights within 10 minutes or less. The police will break your car window to get a dog out, but the Government is suggesting it is ok to sit in our cars for an hour with the windows up.

Is there ANY scientific or medial health explanation why a PERSON(S) can’t sit in their lawn chair, or stand by their vehicle, while in a Church parking lot during a service?

Our society depends on the Government and Public Health to use sound science to assess risk and enact legislation during times of crisis. If you believe that the rules put in place for public safety relating to gatherings in Church parking lots is based on sound science, how can you then feel safe lining up for 45min at your local Costco or Home Depot? If the Government has determined based on science and medical data regarding transmission of SARS CoV2, that people must remain in vehicles with windows rolled up to be considered safe in one parking lot, then is that same Government sending people into harms way at other parking lots like a Costco, Walmart etc..? How can we trust the Government’s source for science with such clear and drastic contradictions?

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