Dr. Kieran Moore, Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) is reiterating the urgent need for residents to maintain social and physical distancing after a flyer promoting Easter church services was circulated in the Kingston area by mistake.
The flyer, pictured above, was sent out to approximately 52,000 households in the area, according to Pastor Andrew Belaire of Kingsway Christian Church, one of the five churches listed on the flyer as hosting Easter services. However, the fact the flyer is showing up in mailboxes locally was a mistake, he explained.
Belaire said that his church, along with City Christian Centre, Kingston Christian Fellowship, Kingston Alliance Church, and Third Day Worship Centre, arranged to have the flyer mailed out through Canada Post prior to the COVID-19 pandemic reaching the area. He emphasized that they have every intention of abiding by the declarations and instructions of all levels of government, and explained that they were caught off-guard by the prohibition of large gatherings after the mailings had already been sent out. Kingsway Christian Church, like many places of worship throughout the region, are now conducting virtual services online, and will not be hosting any in-person gatherings over Easter.
“This was certainly not an act of rebellion,” he said, noting that he has a family member who is an ER doctor and that he knows just how hard front line healthcare workers are working during this pandemic. “We are praying for all frontline people working so hard to get rid of the virus.”
For Dr. Moore, it is important that residents understand the importance of maintaining social and physical distancing at this critical time.
“The next couple of weeks are very important for our community, for Ontario, and for Canada. We’re seeing what’s going on in the United States, so close to our border. Now is not the time for social gatherings. My family is not going to have our traditional Easter dinner, we’re not going to go to any religious meetings – it’s just not the time,” he said.
Moore stressed the importance of adhering to public health guidelines in the coming weeks, a time period that will prove consequential to whether or not the virus continues to spread in the community.
“Small social gatherings of eight or nine have led to multiple cases in our community. Birthday parties, retirement parties, bonfires – all of these have been sources of spread in our community, and I would be very fearful if individuals were planning on having large family gatherings according to any religious occasion over Easter coming up,” he said. “We all have to be prudent and responsible over the next several weeks.”
Mayor Bryan Paterson said that he was aware of the flyers and the error in them being sent out.
“My understanding is that the flyers were prepared several weeks ago before social distancing guidelines were put in place,” he said. “I know that many churches have moved to online platforms and I trust that everyone will do their part to follow the public health restrictions that are in place.”
For all of the latest information on COVID-19 locally, including links to resources, and information on current cases, closures, cancellations, and changes to services, please see our quick reference guide here.