Toronto’s Beth Sholom Synagogue has been “closed for a thorough sanitizing of the building,” following one of its members being diagnosed with coronavirus, according to the synagogue’s website.
It has also cancelled all events that would require large gathering of people, including their Purim celebration. Purim is a Jewish holiday that this year begins the evening of March 9 and ends the evening of March 10.
Other religious buildings have been following suit with social distancing and preemptive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The Anglican Church of Canada released a letter on March 13 encouraging all public worship to be immediately suspended.
“This extraordinary measure is consistent with the measures put in place by other civic institutions within our province, in an effort to impede the transmission of the coronavirus from person to person,” ssys the letter from the Most Reverend Anne Germond.
This letter also urged “creative ways” of practising religion from a distance. One way was providing online resources for prayer and worship.
With the future of COVID-19 looking uncertain, people may need to get used to these new ways of gathering from afar.
“Currently, there 108 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our city,” Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s medical officer of health, wrote in a statement on March 17. “Of these, four people have recovered from their illness.”
She said social distancing works, “but like any medicine, it needs to be given in the proper dose and needs time to take effect.”