Amish and Mennonite Communities’ COVID-19 Collaboration

The Grey Bruce Health Unit maintains a collaborative relationship with our Amish and Mennonite communities and we continue to build on this connection.

In response to COVID-19, local Mennonite and Amish communities and leaders are observing provincial lockdown requirements and direction from the health unit.

Of concern to some public are these communities’ church gatherings. While it may appear that these gatherings are outside the regulations of the provincial lockdown, they are in fact in full compliance. Attending church service while people remain seated in their buggies at the church’s parking lot is compliant with the regulations. Furthermore, we have a high level of confidence that such practice does not increase the risk to the communities in Grey and Bruce. These groups have reached out to the health unit for consultation to ensure they are meeting attendance limits and are following rules for outside gatherings.

The Grey Bruce Health Unit’s School Health Team is working with school leaders in these communities to assess COVID-19 related needs and lockdown compliance. We will act accordingly to ensure that knowledge and resources are shared with community schools.

Recent data show the majority of COVID-19 cases in Grey and Bruce did not acquire the virus from these types of community assemblies but rather from gatherings with family and friends.

COVID-19 requires us all to stay in this together. Now is the time to collaborate, not divide. We are eager to continue our efforts within these vital and vibrant communities and offer advice and support to the various communities, in the same way we collaborate with all municipalities within Grey and Bruce. It is only with this collaborative approach that we can get through this challenging time.

“This is a difficult time and hardship for all of us, but it is of critical importance that we all stay calm and kind, and remind ourselves and our communities that the pandemic is the cause of this hardship not the “others” whomever the “others’ are  Low German-speaking communities, visitors, or decision makers.” said Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce’s Top Doctor.