Charlottetown church making proof of vaccination mandatory

·2 min read
Spring Park United Church in Charlottetown is taking it upon itself to require proof of vaccination.  (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)
Spring Park United Church in Charlottetown is taking it upon itself to require proof of vaccination. (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)

A United church in Charlottetown, P.E.I., will start requiring proof of vaccination beginning this Sunday — even though they don't have to.

Vax Passes aren't required at worship services on the Island, but Spring Park United Church minister Darin MacKinnon said the move is about making people feel safe.

"We're one of the first, but I think many in the Christian community would like to possibly be thinking of moving in this direction," Mackinnon said.

"It's been a common feeling from churchgoers over the past couple of months. This is why the church board voted unanimously to make vaccination mandatory to attend services."

Steve Bruce/CBC
Steve Bruce/CBC

MacKinnon said while some unvaccinated members may feel excluded, they can still watch Sunday services, which are streamed online.

"A lot of places we go in public require it and I think they feel secure when they go to those events, and I believe they wanted to have that same feeling of security in their worship space as well," said MacKinnon

Steven Dickie has attended the church his entire life and said he welcomes the decision.

"We have a young son who's not able to be vaccinated currently," said Dickie.

"We have been concerned from an exposure point of view. We just want to make sure our family is safe when we come into this space."

He hopes the Vax Pass requirement can help comfort other members of the church.

"It gives us the added reassurance and confidence that we won't be in a facility where COVID-19 is spread," he said.

Steve Bruce/CBC
Steve Bruce/CBC

As it stands, churches still have to follow physical distancing and cohorting rules.

At Spring Park United, that means only 80 people can attend the service each Sunday. Before the pandemic, they could have as many as 140 people.

Those cohort and capacity limits have been loosened at restaurants and other non-essential businesses and events, where the province has made Vax Passes a requirement.

MacKinnon noted that since the church is bringing in the requirement on its own, the capacity rules won't change.

But he hopes that won't always be the case.

"We certainly hope this will lead to more restrictions being lifted, and more freedoms for our members and visitors as well," MacKinnon said.

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