Opening after Corona Virus Lockdown
An ongoing collection of material about opening the church buildings beyond the COVID-19 lockdown. Most recent
1. DHHS cleaning advice March 20
2. Synod advice May 14
- Duncan Mcleod wrote:
- This afternoon we received a letter from the Moderator encouraging us as UCA congregations to carefully consider the ways in which we will maintain the safety of our members, even while the Victoria Government begins the loosening of restrictions related to COVID-19. I have attached the two associated documents prepared by the Synod that help us prepare for the time when we do start meeting in person and visiting our members again. I remind you that the General Secretary Mark Lawrence yesterday strongly advised congregations not to start meeting in person this Sunday. Please read through the current Frequently Asked Questions document, and the Checklist for Congregations.
3. Notes from Synod Zoom meeting May 15
4. Meeting of Property / Ministry / Council representatives May 19
On May 20th Neil, Joanne (office), David Morgan (Safe church/ CC secretary), Glyn (CC chair) and Warren (Property) [Re-opening Task Group – possible name] met to consider and plan for re-opening of the church complex.
This followed extensive consultation with Synod and Presbytery.
Church council’s responsibility and role is outlined below by the Presbytery.
The core message this week is that church councils are responsible for careful planning and implementation of safe practices, well before opening up our buildings, running church gatherings in homes, or restarting pastoral visitation. The Presbytery, and the Synod, are encouraging congregations to keep their members safe rather than rushing into opening up our buildings. (Port Phillip East Presbytery: ‘Preparing for the transition period’ Zoom Meeting 15 May).
Please read above and a number of other relevant documents before our meeting. They have been attached above.
We also read:
Values and principles (courtesy of John Squires, Canberra Region Presbytery)
Gathering for worship is important, but safety of people is more important.
Safety of people is more important than income.
Weakest or most vulnerable are the test for any decision we make
Relationships with others are our first priority.
Loving our neighbour takes priority over programs and activities
We have a commitment to the common good—the good of all people in society
We need to ensure the safety of vulnerable people in leadership (ministry leaders, both ordained and lay)
(Port Phillip East Presbytery: ‘Preparing for the transition period’ Zoom Meeting 15 May).
4.2. Notes from meeting on May 20th
4.2.1. When are we able to re-open the church?
Presbytery continues to recommend all meetings/ groups meet on-line
Now to end of May – legally 0 groups because more than 10
Church Council to reconsider possibilities when government regulations are relaxed and Presbytery sees safer way forward.
4.2.2. Process for groups to re-open
- Single point of approval: CC to approve
- Apply to CC in writing
- Between CC meetings CC to delegate re-opening decisions to working group – Neil, Glyn (CC Chair), David Morgan (Safe Church), Warren (Property), Joanne (Office) [Re-opening Task Group]
- After approval Property Committee Chairperson and Office Manager will communicate directly to group leader re requirements
Notice sent to all group leaders to outline requirements e.g.
For each gathering Leader personally responsible for recording attendance details, ascertaining numbers, ensuring no one unwell, cleaning afterwards, etc.
Toilets high risk: need to be cleaned after every group uses.
Kitchen closed; review when appropriate
Discourage vulnerable people from putting themselves at risk
Before opening building to groups: deep clean over 2 weeks
- Property (Fairlie) to organise roster of volunteers – in small groups – 5-6 (?) at a time
- Then professional cleaners do toilets
- Each group cleans toilets/ door handles, etc after each use (Like a shift change in a workplace) – entrances are high risk because all pass through.
- Toilets cleaned commercially 6 days per week
4.2.4. WORSHIP: some ideas/ possibilities from meetings with presbytery
- Shorter services
- Singing and choirs problematic because breath projected and spreads more virus.
- singing or hum?
- Serious thought will need to be given to the practicalities around consecutive worship services
4.2.5. HIRE GROUPS
- start later
4.2.6. Staffing of office
Suggested Joanne return to office when church groups operating
If they begin in smaller numbers, consider returning part time
4.3. Recommendations to CC
From this group.
- As we are one congregation, we should not recommence worship until circumstances make it possible for all services to begin
- Complex remains closed – no usual activities
Groups such as, UCAF, Badminton and Table Tennis, Playgroups, Friday Bible Study, Choirs, LeisureTime, Men’s Group, Cooee, Hub not to commence until after state laws allow meetings of groups up to 50 people, but Church Council will also decide based on age of guests, volunteers, high risk individuals and support persons. Space requirements per person also relevant.
- Prioritise the vulnerable
- Each Church Group must seek permission to recommence and when approved the Office manager will issue instructions for that group. Church Council to consider all Synod recommendations on risk and age.
- Authorise Re-opening Task Group to manage between CC meetings
- Involve Communications Committee using all channels
- Need to help everyone understand where we are
- Design and create signage, forms, etc before re-opening
Glen Waverley Uniting Church
20 May 2020
5. Synod advice May 21
6. Government update 24 May
One politician's summary of the changes included:
Frustratingly, the legal directions which underpin these changes are yet to be released by the Victorian Government, which makes it difficult to answer detailed questions about their impact. I expect they will be posted here closer to June 1 when they take effect.
Health Department now has: Places of worship can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies for up to 20 people in a single undivided indoor space, subject to the four square metre rule plus the minimum number of people reasonably required to perform the service or ceremony.
7. Hospitality Industry Guidelines 26 May
- From Monash City Council.
- Pertains to our kitchen.
- Applies from 1 June.
- Limit of 20 people with 4 square metres each, which limits Fellowship area to 10, and Chapel to 15.
8. Church Council meeting May 28
Council adopted the recommendations above from the Re-opening Task Group and the following statement.
Having considered the post June 1 regulations from government, and advice from Synod, Church Council agreed to the following guidelines to apply from June 1 to June 22. Given the requirements of fewer than 20 persons and 4 square metres per person in a room of a church building, no meetings will be held at the church during this time. The complex remains closed.
While it may be legal for people to meet in homes, with fewer than 20 persons able to maintain 1.5m between them, that does not mean that it is advisable. Certainly no member should be pressured to attend. Whether to attend should be a free and considered decision of each member, considering their own health, exposure and vulnerability situations. Church Council cannot endorse such meetings as church groups.
9. Synod advice May 29
10. Advice on room sizes
From WarrenGreenwood 3 Jun 2020. Updated June 13.
Persons at 4sqm/person
Persons at 2sqm/person (From 6 Dec 2020)
6x9 = 54
6x6.5 = 39
6x6.5 = 39
9.5x4 = 38
18.5 x 12 = 223
11. Synod advice June 4
12. Presbytery Zoom seminar on OH&S / COVID-19 June 5
You are welcome to share the link to the video with other members of your congregation.
Some points of advice relating to rental groups and contractors
- If your buildings are being used by different groups, including your own members, the congregation (church council in particular) is responsible for overseeing risk management, including the orientation/induction of contractors and rental groups.
- Cleaning and sanitisation is required between each group using any part of the building.
- Once you have updated contractors and rental groups on our new standards, they need to do their own risk assessment and management plan and follow it.
- It would be wise for congregations to be able to have a way to monitor agreements, including attention to entrance and exit processes, standards of cleaning and sanitisation, physical distancing, keeping of contact registers, and attention paid to food hygiene. This can be done through a signed checklist and the occasional spot check.
- Rental agreements and licenses can be amended to include the new requirements.
- Should a COVID-19 outbreak occur in a way that is linked with our building, a professional deep cleaning process is required. This can costs thousands of dollars. We are also at risk of being fined if we are found to have been negligent.
- The Presbytery is aware that there is often pressure on congregations to open up their buildings, from rental groups, and from a financial perspective. However, the principle of keeping people safe is still our key priority at this time. Take the time required to assess risks, address them and only proceed once you’re sure that you have people, plans and resources needed to open up again.
Elnura Dulakovic, Synod OH&S officer, can be contacted by email at <elnura DOT dulakovic AY victas DOT uca DOT org DOT au>
A user guide to opening our buildings will be ready on the Vic Tas Synod website next week.
13. Synod advice June 11
14. Government changes from June 22, announced June 14
- "From 11:59pm on 21 June, Places of worship can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies for up to 50 people, as well as the minimum number of people reasonably required to perform the service or ceremony. The one person to four-square metres rule needs to be followed. Groups of family or friends can be no larger than 20 people and be divided into separate seating areas like a balcony or tier"
- Capacities of our rooms under the 4 sqm per person are given at 10 above.
- Increased number was reversed on June 20.
15. Synod advice June 18
See VIC-COVID-FAQs-June-18.pdf, including:
Synod’s Crisis Management Team is seeking further clarity to be able to provide safe guidelines for morning/afternoon tea and the sharing of meals. Until then, this kind of social gathering should not occur.
16. Government changes June 20
In response to rising numbers of cases, the government has now advised: Restaurants, pubs, auction halls, community centres, libraries, museums and places of worship will maintain their 20-person limits until at least July 12.
17. Synod advice June 22
18. Synod advice June 25
19. Synod advice July 2
20. Revised advice of the renewed restrictions July 8
- If you live in the Melbourne metropolitan area you need to stay at home.
- There are four reasons that you can leave home:
- Shopping for food or other essential items
- To provide care giving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
- For exercise (outdoor exercise only, with only one other person or members of your household)
- Work or study, if you cannot work or study from home
- Otherwise, you must stay home.
- Religious ceremonies and private worship can only occur online, with a maximum of five people to conduct the ceremony.
- Weddings can be held with up to five people (the couple, two witnesses and a celebrant).
- Funerals can be held with up to 10 people plus those required to conduct the service.
- Community venues will be closed, except for essential public support services like food banks.
- You cannot have visitors to your home except for caregiving or compassionate reasons or receiving services. You can no longer visit friends and family who live at another household, except to see your intimate partner, or for caregiving or compassionate reasons, or providing a service, or for work purposes.
For further information, see the DHHS web site: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/updated-restrictions-1159pm-wednesday-8-july
21. Synod advice July 9
22. Some recent research
- Includes a conventional surgical mask only stops 30% of the small aerosol droplets studied here for inhaled breath; for exhaled breath the efficacy is much better.
23. Synod advice July 16
24. Council decisions July 22
- Church Council agreed that the building would remain closed and services streaming throughout August.
- Church Council accepted that it will not be possible to plan and safely run a fete in October 2020.
25. Synod advice
26. Advice on Congregation meetings and Council elections
- We sought advice on voting from Presbytery, in view of the UCA emphasis on meetings as discernment, and the consequent prohibition of absentee voting.
- Duncan Maclead replied:
I sought Isabel Thomas Dobson’s advice on this issue. Here’s her response. "No, there has been no exemption from voters being present. But I would understand that a suitable confidential process either electronic or by post for those who have been present to hear and participate in the discussion would be included in being part of the meeting. The issue of those without network access is more difficult. It would depend on the sorts of issues at a congregational meeting, whether they are formal decision making meetings or information sharing ones as to how to respond." At the Presbytery we are working with the principle of only people participating in the Zoom meeting being able to vote, whether it’s in the meeting (Zoom polls) or later (eballot.com). Postal voting would be OK if people phoned into the meeting to listen in and be part of the conversation.
27. Synod advice July 30
28. Synod advice August 6
- Addendum: It turns out we don’t need to put the employer signature in at the top. Just the employee or volunteer’s signature. Synod fills that bit in as well as the two parts at the bottom of the form.
29. Synod advice Aug 13
30. Recovery action plans
Our plan for streaming was sent to Synod Aug 15, and acknowledged.
- A funeral was held Aug 18, and the appropriste action plan was sent to Synod.
A more succint account of all our plans is at CovidSafePlans.
31. Synod advice Aug 20
32. Council meeting Aug 26
- Council agreed that the buildings will remain closed throughout September.
Other decisions are listed at HeadLines.
33. Synod Advice Aug 27
34. Synod Advice Sep 3
35. State Government Roadmap out of Stage 4
- Worship opens subject to "density quotient" from 23 November subject to case numbers. At 4sqm per person, that is 73 in church.
36. Synod advice Sep 10
- No use of church buildings until at least the end of November, except for live broadcast.
37. Church Council Sep 23
- Building closed through October.
38. Synod advice Sep 24
39. Presbytery summary of "Road map"
- Second Step – likely to be after 28 September
- Weddings on compassionate grounds only - with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).
- Funerals allowed with up to 10 people (infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit).
- Places of worship closed. Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship, are allowed.
- Third Step – likely to after 26 October (Changed to 19 October if daily average number of cases in the last 14 days is less than 5 state-wide)
- Weddings with up to ten people including the couple and two witnesses. The celebrant is not included in the ten-person cap.
- Funerals allowed with up to 20 mourners can attend a funeral. Infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit). You can travel to attend a funeral.
- Outdoor religious gatherings are allowed for up to ten people plus one faith leader.
- Places of worship can open for private worship.
- Private worship can be attended by households or bubbles plus a faith leader.
- Last Step – likely to be after 23 November but not before 3 weeks from Third step, ie not before 9 November (When there are no new cases for 14 days)
- Public gatherings: up to 50 people outdoorsWeddings allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence
- Funerals allowed with 50 people (infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit), 20 in a private residence.
- Public worship (not including private ceremonies such as baptism, bar mitzvah) can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. At GWUC this means 71 in the church.
- COVID Normal – When trigger points are met across the state AND there are no outbreaks of concern in other states or territories
- No restrictions on public gatherings but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees
- No limits on weddings or funerals but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees
40. Synod advice October 1
41. Synod advice October 8
42. Synod advice October 15
43. Changes announced October 18
44. Updated Recovery Action Plan Template October 22
45. One Page Reopening Checklist Oct 22
- For internal use.
- Considerations for building that have been closed for a long time.
46. Synod advice October 22
47. Premier's announcements October 26
- From today faith communities will be able to meet for outdoor religious ceremonies with up to 20 people, in addition to those required for the service. Indoor services can be held with up to 10.
- From Nov 8 subject to case numbers, religious gatherings will expand with up 20 people and a faith leader indoors, and 50 outside.
- Community venues: closed except for: hosting an essential public support service (10 people); hosting an essential support group (10 people); hosting a wedding (10 people) or funeral (20 people). Not changing on Nov 8.
- Public gatherings still restricted to ten people from two households.
- Gatherings in homes to be advised.
Full details in 201026 - Metro Melb Easing Restrictions-2.pdf
48. Synod advice October 29 updated October 30
49. Synod advice Nov 5
- Expected changes from Nov 8
- Funerals: expanding to 50 people outdoors (not including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral).
- Religion: expanding to 50 people outdoors and 20 people indoors (maximum of 10 per group) plus a faith leader. This means a maximum of 20 people plus a faith leader in total within the building, with attendees spread out in groups of up to 10 per group. Each group of people must remain at least 10m from any other group of people at all times, with no physical interaction between groups. Total attendance numbers remain subject to density quotient of 4m² per person.
- Can we sing in church? Yes, but small choirs or singers should only perform in well ventilated indoor settings and must be limited to a maximum of 5 singers or wind instrument players. Performers must be 2 meters apart and 5 meters from the audience. Singing outdoors is strongly recommended.
50. Changed restrictions Nov 9
- From tomorrow, worker permits are no longer required to travel beyond 25 km, travel to and from regional Victoria, or to visit church sites for work (paid or volunteer).
- People are still encouraged to work from home wherever and whenever possible.
- Cleaning, signage, record keeping, and other COVIDSafe requirements continue to apply for church venues and facilities. The density quotient applies to all indoor venues and spaces, except for workplaces that are not accessible to the public, private residences, and areas of accommodation facilities that are for the exclusive use of a single group.
51. Synod advice November 12
52. Synod advice November 19
53. Government summary of last step restrictions from November 23
- Religious gatherings and ceremonies:
- Indoor religious gatherings and ceremonies: Cap of 150 with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm. No group limit.
- Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies: Cap of 300 with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm. No group limit.
- Either indoor or outdoor ceremony, not both at the same time.
- COVID Safe Summer and COVID Normal in 2021
- Dan Andrews indicated that further relaxation of restrictions will be announced on Sunday December 6, which will hopefully last through the summer. The "COVID Normal" settings will be introduced in 2021.
- Density rule limits us to 50-70 in the church, depending on effective area. All congregation must be 5m from singers.
54. Synod advice November 26
- "An announcement on the move to “COVID NORMAL” is currently anticipated to be made on December 6, but remains subject to Covid case numbers."
55. Synod advice December 3
56. Government announcement Dec 6
Ceremonies and religious gatherings: Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm applies. Venues using the density quotient of 1 per 2sqm must use electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record keeping a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies.
Community venues and facilities including libraries and toy libraries: No patron caps with a density quotient of 1 per 2sqm, subject to use of electronic record keeping. If not using electronic record keeping a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm applies.
Indoor physical recreation and community sport: No patron caps with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm for each space. Gym and exercise classes limited to 50 people (excluding anyone necessary for running the class).
Face masks: Must be carried at all times. Mandatory when inside shopping centres, retail stores inside shopping centres, department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores, hardware stores or supermarkets, when travelling on public transport or when travelling in a commercial passenger vehicle (unless a lawful exemption applies).
- Note that this includes adjacent contradictory statements:
wear a face mask when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others
- Note that this includes adjacent contradictory statements:
57. Synod advice December 10
58. GWUC arrangements for attending worship over Christmas and January
59. Presbytery summary of changes Dec 31
Dear friends I hope that all is going well with you and your congregations. We, at St Luke's, were very happy to be able to meet together on Christmas morning and are going to farewell 2020 together tonight. The announcements by the Acting Premier this morning do not change the arrangements for Church services. Note that masks must be worn indoors. Yours in fellowship Tom -- Dr Tom Spurling AM Chairperson Port Phillip East Presbytery
60. Synod advice Jan 4
61. Synod advice Jan 20
- Churches are no longer included in the locations where masks are mandatory. They remain highly recommended at all gatherings.
62. Synod advice Jan 25
63. Government changes Feb 3
- Masks are now mandatory in indoor settings, private gatherings have been limited to 15 people.
- Following a hotel worker testing positive.
64. Synod advice Feb 4
- Includes "Masks became mandatory in public indoor spaces. Masks must be worn in indoor public spaces apart from when eating or drinking."
Note however the Government exemptions include "Persons whose professions require clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth. This includes teaching or live broadcasting."
65. Advice on ride sharing and carrying passengers Feb 10
- Where possible, avoid carrying passengers who do not live in your household in your vehicle. The enclosed space can increase the risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).
- If travelling in a vehicle with people who are not part of your household:
- To physically distance, passengers should sit in the back seat wherever possible.
- Everyone should wear a fitted face mask unless they have a lawful exemption.
- Increase ventilation. Open windows wherever possible and avoid using the air conditioner’s recirculation mode.
- Regularly clean and sanitise often touched objects and surfaces in the vehicle such as door handles.
66. New lockdown Feb 12
Five day shutdown announced due to Holiday Inn outbreak.
- Places of worship are closed other than for broadcasting of services. Religious gatherings and ceremonies are not permitted.
67. End of Circuit breaker Feb 17
- Back to 2sqm per person.
- Restaurants and retail can reopen. Same too with community facilities, entertainment venues and all other public places – although some additional limits on crowd sizes will be in place.
- So for now, it’s important we reduce the risk in some of our most vulnerable settings. That means having no more than five visitors to your home per day. And limiting public gatherings with friends and family to 20.
- Masks will continue to be a big part of our defence and will be required everywhere indoors except at home – at the supermarket, at the office, at the pub when you’re getting up to pay.
68. New QR code rules
- Announced Feb 28. Need to be complied with by March 27.
List of currently approved services is at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/visitation-api-connected-third-parties
- There is a 28 day amnesty to get this in place.
- Rewardle assure us that they will be compliant by the deadline.
69. Synod advice March 11
70. Further easing of government restrictions from 26 Mar
- It is strongly recommended you wear a face mask when at a private gathering or when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people.
- Density quotient of 2 person per 2 sqm applies
71. Synod advice March 26
72. Government advice April 9
- "From midnight tonight, Friday 9 April, Victoria will move to allowing 100 per cent of seated indoor and outdoor capacity for entertainment, cultural and sporting venues up to a maximum of 1,000 patrons per space."
- Registration is still required.
- The 2sqm rule no longer applies to seated entertainment venues, but still applies to churches.
73. Synod advice April 15
- "Face Masks: Must be carried at all times and must be worn at all times where social distancing cannot be maintained."
74. Synod advice April 29
75. Synod advice May 13
- "From 28 May, venues including places of worship with less than 400m2 can have up to 200 people per space without any density limit, provided COVID marshals are on site ensuring all patrons are checking in to each space using the QR Code system."
- "When using QR codes,every gathering will require a designated greeter at every door by which the public can enter. Each greeter will need to have a smart phone or tablet device. The role of the greeters is to ensure that everyone entering the building registers using the QR code, to assist with registrations as required, or to use their own phone or tablet to register any attendees who do not have the capability of registering themselves."
"How do older people, or those without a smartphone sign in using the QR Code?
The government QR code allows you to sign in another person. By having event greeters at every entry door, they can sign in any attendee who is unable to register themselves. The requirement for every attendee to be signed in using the QR code method is a government requirement as of April 23, 2021."
However https://service.vic.gov.au/check-in/ has:
"If you can’t use a phone, you can check-in on a paper form." Synod interpret this as "but the venue must then enter them electronically"
76. Forshadowed removal of density requirement
- Foreshadows removal of density requirements from May 28, along with tightening of check in requirements.
- Only the Services Victoria app will be allowed.
- Services Victoria app for iPhone requires iOS 11.0 or later.
77. Services Victoria "Concierge system"
In response to an enquiry about suitable devices to run the Victora Services app, the following reply was received:
"Service Victoria and the Department of Health are working on a new system for businesses and organisations such as yours which will be web-based. Any device which can connect to the internet and run Safari or Chrome will be able to use the new webform. This system will be ready by 28 May when the new digital check-in system is required.
We are looking for people to help test this new system next week before it comes online. This would take less than 15 minutes of your time. Please reply to this email and let me know if you're interested in being one of the first to take a look and give feedback on the new concierge system."
3 June 2021
The kiosk mode is still happening -- pushed back because of lock-down.
All the businesses and venues who are registered with an official government QR code will be sent instructions for how to set up the new Kiosk check-in system over the coming days. If your device has a web browser it should be capable of running the kiosk.
78. 7 Day circuit breaker May 27
- From Presbytery:
- "Worship services are limited to broadcast, with a maximum of five people in the church building. No in-person gatherings are allowed, in churches or in homes. We can still run services on Zoom or other online media."
- Church building closed.
79. 7 Day extension to lockdown June 4
- No changes for church.
80. Easing of restrictions from June 11
Announcement allows up to 50 in church. Masks compulsory indoors. Spacing to be observed.
81. Kiosk is available!!!
82. Easing of restrictions from June 18
- Up to 75 subject to 4sqm per person, ie 73 in our worship centre.
83. Further easing from June 24
- Allows 300 in the venue but with 4sqm per person, ie 73 in the worship centre but overflow into the foyer/fellowship is now allowed.
84. Further easing from July 9
"Religious gatherings and ceremonies: No overarching venue limit. Density quotient of 1 person per 2 sqm applies when using a COVID Check-in Marshal, otherwise density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies" See numbers in rooms.
- "Face coverings:
- Must be carried at all times
- Must be worn indoors, however not required in schools or in workplaces that are not public facing (e.g. office work), or if an exception applies."
- Government advice on singing:
Is singing allowed at a place of worship? Yes. If the singing is indoors, the indoor venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened.
85. New restrictions from July 16
- Includes "Religious gatherings and ceremonies: No in-person gatherings permitted. Broadcast permitted"
86. Lockdown extended July 21 to 27
87. Restrictions eased 28 July for two weeks
- Back to 4sqm per person for religious gatherings.
- Groups limited to 10 for "public gatherings".
- Masks indoors and out.
88. Removal of group size Aug 4
https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony Reviewed 04 August 2021 has dropped the limit on Groups. SynodFAQ has not changed Aug 5.
89. Lockdown Number 6 Aug 5
- Includes "Religious gatherings and ceremonies: No in-person gatherings permitted. Broadcast permitted"
90. Easing for Regional Victoria 9 Aug
- No change for metropolitan area.
91. Extension of Lockdown #6. 11 Aug
- Building closed and no congregation to Aug 18.
92. Two week extension of Lockdown #6. 16 Aug
- Lockdown extended to September 2 with some extra restictions.
93. Additional restrictions
- Curfew and worker permits.
94. Extended until vaccinated 1 Sep
95. Ballarat lockdown 16 Sep
96. Road map 19 Sep
- Outdoor only until 80% of 16+ fully vaccinated. Indicative date: 5 November 2021
97. Tightened work permit requirements. 1 Oct 2021
98. Authorised workers require vaccination 4 Oct 2021
99. Updated Service Victoria app 11 Oct
- Vaccination status is now shown when checking in, provided it has been obtained from Medicare and copied to Service Victoria.
See CovidVaccinationCertificate for instructions on this process.
100. Vaccination status needs to be recorded 12 Oct 2021
- For all authorised workers, vaccination status needs to be recorded by 15 Oct. This was done for GWUC.
101. Changes on reaching 70% early 17 Oct 2021
- Take effect from 22 Oct.
- ABC has "Weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies will be allowed for up to 20 fully vaccinated people or 10 unvaccinated people indoors and 50 people fully vaccinated or 20 people unvaccinated people outdoors, subject to density limits."
- More changes at 80%, now predicted around Nov 2.
Synod FAQs. Look at page 2 for the new rules.
102. New cleaning guide from Victorian Department of Health
- "Updated in line with emerging evidence that the environment plays a smaller role in the transmission of COVID-19."
103. Updated roadmap 24 Oct 2021
- From 80%, expected 29 October ...
- From when 90% of 12+ have had two doses, predicted 24 Nov.
- No capacity limits. No density limits.
- Masks in high risk indoor settings or settings where there are low vaccination levels and where you cannot socially distance.
- All vaccination requirements remain including for non- essential retail.
104. Reached 90% early November 18
Premiers statement:"the Acting Chief Health Officer has determined that almost all remaining restrictions in Victoria will ease from tonight. ... There will still be mask requirements, density limits and caps in place for weddings, funerals, places of worship and other settings if the vaccination status of attendees is not being checked. The usual exceptions will apply."
Rule is: If everyone present is fully vaccinated, you can host or attend weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies at places of worship with no limits on density or attendance.
Face masks are strongly recommended where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
105. Revised Synod FAQ Dec 2
106. Relaxed restrictions Dec 15
- Checking of vaccination status is no longer required for places of worship.
- Workplaces exposed to a positive coronavirus case will no longer need to be deep cleaned, after mounting international evidence that coronavirus is an airborne or droplet-borne disease and the likelihood of becoming infected by touching a surface is very low risk.
107. Mask mandate returns Dec 24
108. Testing & isolation changed Jan 7 2022
- No effect on churches.
109. Synod advice Jan 25
110. Further easing Feb 18
- Checkin no longer required unless serving food and drink.
111. Eased mask restrictions 26 Feb
Foreshadowed as "Masks are recommended for other workers serving or facing members of the public, such as if you are at reception, meeting guests or serving customers."
112. Synod advice Mar 3