COVID-19 – Guidelines for Visitors and Program Participants

November 2021

We are addressing 3 areas of concern for COVID-19 transmission:

  1. Droplets – physical distancing; face masks
  2. Aerosols – HEPA filtration in the shrine rooms and community rooms on at all times during events; windows open; face masks
  3. High-touch areas – handwashing requirement; hand sanitizer; enhanced cleaning protocols

Our COVID-19 plan has 3 parts:

  • changes for visitors and program participants
  • changes at the Toronto Shambhala Centre
  • changes for volunteers and staff

Changes for Visitors and Program Participants

If you have any symptoms—however slight—such as fever, dry cough, sore throat, loss of sense of smell or taste, fatigue or difficulty breathing, do not enter the Toronto Shambhala Centre regardless of your vaccination status.

Please participate via Zoom if you have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Record your contact information for Toronto Public Health in case someone here today develops COVID-19. We will not use your information for any other purpose.

Wear a face mask while in the Centre. Masks may only be removed if you are seated at a distance of 2 metres from others. If you don’t have your own mask, we have a supply near the front entrance.

Wash or sanitize your hands immediately upon entering the Centre. Hand sanitizer is available near the entrance and throughout the Centre.

Give others space, maintaining physical distance as much as possible, and keeping your mask on at all times if distance cannot be maintained.

To support physical distancing 16 people max in the Main Shrine Room (15 participants and volunteers plus one person in the umdze or teacher’s seat). Once we reach capacity, the front door will be closed. Pre-registration is required for most sessions to ‘reserve’ your spot ahead of time.

Bring your own drinking cup or bottle for your water/tea. Water will be available, but the Centre’s dishes are not being used at this time. Cookies/food will not be served at this time.

Changes at the Toronto Shambhala Centre

Shambhala centre main shrine room

Main shrine room with physically distanced cushions.

  • Virtual meditation sessions and programs will remain an option for people (via Zoom), and most in-person events will also be broadcast via Zoom.
  • Limit the number of people inside the Centre to support physical distancing.
  • 3 large-room air purifiers with true HEPA filtration have been purchased – one for the community room, one for the main shrine room, and a third that can be moved between shrine rooms as needed.
  • No shared food plates; no use of the Centre’s glassware, dishware, or cutlery
    Provide face masks for participants who don’t have one.
  • Hand sanitizer in several places.
  • Physically distanced meditation cushions and chairs.
  • Visitor Guidelines posted on the website, at the Centre entrance, and in the coat room.

Changes for volunteers and program staff

All in-person program staff should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must sign in on the signup sheet with each visit.

Preparation before each event:

  • Entrance and community room: face masks, hand sanitizer, facial tissues, contact sheets, clean pens, and a container for pens to be cleaned, air purifier set to “fan on”, windows open, chairs spaced apart
  • Main shrine room: facial tissues, windows open, air purifiers on “medium” or “high”, cushions and chairs spread apart as much as possible, standing fan(s) turned on.
  • Other rooms, as applicable: facial tissues, air purifier set to “fan on”, cushions and chairs spread apart as much as possible.
  • Washrooms: ample liquid soap, paper towels in every washroom
  • Get pre-registration list from registrar or coordinator, if applicable

Maximum people in the Centre: The total max number of people allowed in the Shambhala Centre at any one time is 20, regardless of which rooms are in use. When we reach this number, close the front door and place the “Sorry, we have reached capacity” sign on the outside of the Centre door.

Collect the contact sheets at the end of the session and store them in the office in the designated folder.