Hamilton

Families celebrating Easter and Passover must get 'creative' amid pandemic

Organizers of groups of more than five may be charged under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which carries a fine starting at $750.

COVID-19 closures will force families celebrating faith-based occasions to avoid large gatherings

Hamilton families celebrating faith-based occasions will have to ensure gatherings do not exceed five people. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Eating in front of a computer isn't quite the same as feasting with family, but that is likely the reality for most celebrating Easter, Passover and other faith-based holidays as the COVID-19 pandemic has robbed people of the chance to gather.

Gatherings of more than five people are illegal.

Organizers of groups of more than five may be charged under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which carries a fine starting at $750.

But the law won't apply to households that have more than five residents.

It will force families to get creative.

"Many pastors have been able to provide streaming and online Masses and other adapted forms of prayer to support people's personal prayers," Monsignor Murray Kroetsch of Hamilton's Roman Catholic Diocese said in a statement from the city.

Families can also have a virtual family dinner with others through programs like Skype or Zoom or host an online Easter egg hunt for children.

(Remember, Doug Ford did deem the Easter Bunny as an essential worker.)

"While the doors to our houses of worship may be closed, the gateways to both Heaven and our soul remain open. During these holidays, let our spirt soar with genuine connection," Rabbi Daniel Green from the Adas Israel Congregation and Dean of the Hamilton Hebrew Academy, added.

Service changes

The city also suggests quick grocery store trips for big, family meals instead of longer stays in shops.

Shoppers looking to visit the Farmer's Market will be able to buy groceries between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday and Tuesday.

There will also be some service changes for commuters due to the holidays.

The HSR will be operating on a Sunday/Holiday schedule on Friday and the temporary Saturday Schedule on Monday.

DARTS will be operating holiday service hours from Friday to Monday, and all subscription trips on DARTS, with the exception of dialysis, are cancelled for that time.

If passengers need to travel on these day, they must make an advance reservation to do so. ATS customer service will be closed on Friday, April 10 to Monday, April 13.

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