Greetings to the Waterloo Wayside Community,
On Friday afternoon of this week the Waterloo Wayside Operations Committee consisting of Pat Babcock, (Chair), Rev. Jenn Hind-Urguhart, (Minister), Karen Dixon (ShareWear Coordinator), Jacob Veenstra, (Bridgeport Café Kitchen Coordinator), Eric Oliver (Volunteer Coordinator), Linda Oliver (Food Bag Coordinator) met to discuss our response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This team has been in deliberations and closely monitoring the rapidly moving situation. Waterloo Wayside Operations Committee discussed Wayside programming and considered the safety of our volunteers and program users from all our various communities.
Waterloo Wayside has decided to cancel all programming except for the Bridgeport Café and the Thursday Food Bag distribution. Bridgeport Café will modify its operations and distribute meals at the Emmanuel parking lot entrance beginning Tuesday March 17th. The hours of distribution will be Tuesday 1:00-3:30 p.m., Wednesday to Friday 1:00-3:00 p.m. the week of March 17th- March 20th. The following week, March 24th-27th, distribution will be Tuesday to Friday 1:00-3:00 p.m.
The Thursday Food Bag distribution will take place between 1:00-3:00 p.m. at the same location.
Yesterday Friday March 13, 2020, Emmanuel United Church decided to close, and also, suspend worship until March 23, 2020, and therefore there will be no access to the building during the food distribution.
These decisions have not come lightly. We have considered many opinions, many scenarios and many courses of action. In doing so, we have concluded that closure of the Wayside programs and the Emmanuel building serves the highest level of safety for all users of the Emmanuel and Wayside Communities. We feel it reasonable to be proactive in considering our vulnerable populations among our complex community.
We have undertaken this as a result of recent direction from the Provincial Medical Officer of Health, who has recommended the immediate suspension of all gatherings over 250 people. While not all programs may approach this number, we feel that the almost continuous use of the building throughout the week could at times bring us close to if not exceeding this number of people in the building. We are also cognizant that we have many people who attend on Sundays and at other times throughout the week who are most susceptible and vulnerable to the virus. In addition, we also have a fair number of people who travel outside the country regularly.
Please be assured, we did not enter into this decision lightly and realize that it may create a hardship for some of you, but be aware that we continue to be concerned about the spread of the COVID-19 virus and that our primary goal is to keep both you and your families safe.
The Waterloo Wayside Operations Committee will continue to monitor the situation and carry out regular communication to discuss new facts as they arise.
Friends, at this time I remind you that we are a community of complicated and hopeful people. Remember that above all we are not alone, not now and not ever. Our building may temporarily close and while we may not touch each other we can still hold each other close. Check on each other and continue to be the incredible compassionate people you are.
Pat Babcock, Chair Waterloo Wayside