Bishop Anthony's letter to the people regarding COVID-19

The NSW Government is easing of various COVID restrictions, including those related to places of public worship.

To summarise, from Friday 23 October 2020;

  • Under Public Health Orders, all places of public worship in NSW must complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan for each building used.
    • It must be kept up to date as changes occur using the latest template, currently dated 28th September 2020.
    • The newest template has incorporated the aspects of the different requirements for Weddings and Funerals as well as recommending the use of Face Masks.
  • All places of public worship must register as COVID Safe. (You do not need to re-register)
  • The place of pubic worship must ensure that if they are running con-current services, meetings or events on the one property in separate areas or buildings, that the start and finish times do not overlap, to avoid over-crowding and mingling outside.
  • Maximum capacity for religious services apart from weddings and funerals, is up to 300 people or one person per 4 square metres of space, whichever is less.
  • Maximum capacity for Weddings, is up to 150 people, or one guest per 4 square metres, whichever is the lesser, may attend a wedding service in a place of public worship.
  • Maximum capacity for a funeral, 100 people, or one guest per 4 square metres, whichever is the lesser, may attend a funeral or memorial service in a place of public worship.
  • These numbers exclude staff/essential ministers.
  • Children count towards the capacity limit in places of public worship.
  • Musicians - A small group of up to 5 people may sing together in a large well-ventilated (preferably outdoor) area if:
    • all singers face forwards and not towards each other
    • have physical distancing of 1.5 metres between each other and any other performers, and 5 metres from all other people including the audience and conductor.
    • Ensembles and other musical groups should rehearse and perform outdoors or in large, well-ventilated indoor spaces.
  • NSW Government strongly recommends wearing a mask in places of public worship

In relation to hospitality after Masses or other church events in a meeting room or hall:

  • a maximum of 30 people are allowed to gather outside, or a maximum of 20 inside.
  • No buffet food is allowable. People can bring their own food.

And in relation to record keeping, a place of public worship must:

  • Keep a record of the name and contact number or email address of all staff, volunteers, visitors (parishioners) and contractors.
  • Hold the record for 28 days in a confidential and secure manner.
  • Protect the personal details being collected to avoid disclosure to other visitors
  • Ensure records are used only for the purpose of tracing, if required by NSW Health.