Current - *updated 31 December


From 5pm on 31 December 2020 you must wear a fitted face mask when you are in public indoor spaces unless you have a lawful reason not to. This includes places of worship.

You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to. It is strongly recommended you wear a face mask when you can’t keep 1.5 metres distance from other people such as transport stops, busy walkways, and shops.

Face masks are mandatory on public transport, when in taxis or ride share vehicles, and in some large retail venues such as shopping centres, supermarkets, department stores.

Religious Gatherings

"Religious gatherings can be held indoors or outdoors. Venues must apply the two square metre rule to ensure people have enough room to maintain 1.5 metres distance between them.  The two square metre rule can be used only if electronic record keeping is used, otherwise, the four square metre rule applies. The square metre rule doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age."

Contact Tracing must still take place for either (a) those still using the 4 square metre rule OR (b) as an alternative for those who cannot use a QR CODE. e.g. "I don't own a mobile phone".

Registering for Electronic Record Keeping

Churches that want to use the two square metre rule must register for a QR CODE. See link above or contact the Diocese for assistance.

Rules for all gatherings and services

  • A COVID-safe plan has been approved by parish council, a COVID-safe officer has been appointed.
  • Hand sanitiser is used on arrival.
  • Toilets are cleaned before and afterwards.
  • There is no overlap of attendees from one service/gathering to another apart from the cleric or lay person leading.
  • An attendance register of first names and phone numbers is made and kept for 28 days for Churches using the 4 square metre rule or for those who cannot use a QR Code.
  • People who have any COVID symptoms must not attend.
  • The cleric or lay person leading must ensure everyone abides by the hygiene rules
  • The COVID-safe officer does not have to attend but has to ensure that the rules are known and will be kept. If the COVID-safe officer does attend, they are included within the maximum number of people allowed.
  • Do not use shared prayer books or Bibles
  • Communion must be in one kind - hosts.

Can food and drinks be served as part of, or after, a religious gathering?

"Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering. It is recommended that single use items are used to serve food or drink. It is recommended that one person serves or distributes food or drinks. For example, one person uses the urn for hot water for tea."

Can I sing at a place of worship?

"Yes, singing or chanting can occur as part of a religious ceremony, wedding or funeral.

Group singing is safest when the following measures are applied:

  • singing outside or in a well-ventilated room (with windows open)
  • physical distancing of at least 2 metres between each person while singing
  • short performances (of less than an hour)
  • wearing a mask when singing indoors
  • singing softly.

These measures are recommended to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Fans, free standing or ceiling, are not recommended for use in enclosed indoor spaces for singing.

Performers should be 5 metre from the audience where practical.

Private Prayer

Your church can be opened for private prayer. However all necessary COVID-safe guidelines must be adhered to INCLUDING:

  1. Collecting Contact details
  2. Cleaning after each service / devotion

If we cannot ascertain who has entered the church it is not possible to leave the church open and unattended. However if someone is willing to mind the church and collect contact details (first name and phone no) and clean after any private devotion then the church can be opened for private worship. 

Insider gatherings eg Parish Council

Please apply either the 2square metre rule if you are using electronic record keeping or the 4square metre rule still keeping an attendance record..

Attendance records

When not using electronic record keeping, we are legally obliged to record only the first name of each person attending and their phone number for contact tracing. This record is to be kept for 28 days. 

General Cleaning

If a room, hall or church is used only weekly, COVID-standard cleaning should still take place. When spaces are used more frequently, cleaning needs to be in between each use, and strictly follow the COVID guidelines provided.

Registering Services

We suggest that you record in your parish service register all online services, leaving attendance blank where unknown.

Weddings and Funerals

Venues must apply the two square metre rule.  The two square metre rule can be used only if electronic record keeping is used, otherwise, the four square metre rule applies. The square metre rule doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age."

Contact Tracing must still take place for either (a) those still using the 4 square metre rule OR (b) as an alternative for those who cannot use a QR CODE. e.g. "I don't own a mobile phone".

A wedding or funeral held in a private residence is limited to the members of the household and up to 30 visitors, plus the people required to conduct the ceremony.

Clergy who decline weddings or funerals for personal safety reasons are urged to speak with the Bishop to see if another minister can conduct the service.


"Wakes are not considered part of the funeral. You can hold a gathering after a funeral, however the following limits apply:

  • A wake held outdoors in a public place can have up to 100 people outdoors.
  • A wake held at a venue (such as a restaurant or community centre) must follow the venue’s permitted capacity. The two square metre rule is applied only if electronic record keeping is used. Otherwise, the four square metre rule applies.
  • If you hold a wake at your home, then the members of your household and up to 30 visitors can attend."

Baptism, Confirmation or Other Pastoral Services

Please above Religious gathering limits.

Home Communion

Home communion should only be in one kind - host. In such cases, the recipient cannot be in compulsory isolation and the recipient must be agreeable to the visit. This should only be for the people living in that home and not for a gathered group. The utmost hygiene of clean hands and distance must be maintained, not only for the safety of the person at home but for the clergy also. Be careful in sharing food or drink.

Clergy in Risk Categories

Some clergy are in at risk categories because of health, family members’ health or age. Please speak to the Bishop about this matter.

Other Activities - Op Shops etc

Op Shops

Op Shops in are able to open but must have a COVID-safe plan (as outlined in previous dNews). Op shop COVID-safe plans need to reflect density quotients and cleaning requirements. Op shop COVID-safe plans should be sent to

Emergency Relief

If your parish has an emergency relief programme, there will need to be a demonstrated risk plan provided to the appropriate organisation (Diocese, Anglicare Victoria, Brotherhood of St Laurence).

We realise that your usual volunteers may well belong to at risk groups (e.g. over 70 or with chronic health conditions), yet this may also be an opportunity for others from your parish or surrounding parishes who are not normally in a position to volunteer but are now available to help.

Church Rental Groups

Parishes should ask for a COVID-Safe plan from groups who rent church facilities and negotiate cleaning with those groups. Ensure such groups are permitted to meet. Parishes should be confident each user group is adhering to government requirements for permitted work activity, attendance recording and limits, social distancing, hygiene and to the particular restrictions for their group. Ultimately, adherence to rules is the responsibility of those groups.

Tenants with exclusive use of a property (childcare, kindergartens) are responsible for their own COVID19 compliance. Licensees and hall hirers are expected to clean and disinfect before vacating the property each time they use it, with the parish maintaining regular cleaning including COVID19-compliant disinfection. Some suggested checklists are available here for licensees and hall users.

Church rentals, especially housing, may be affected by National Cabinet decisions to give protections to tenants and lessees.

Enquiries to:

The Registrar
Peter Jarvis
Mon, Tue & Thurs at the Bishop’s Registry (5331 1183)
Wed at home (4343 1405)
Email -

The Safe Church Officer
The Rev’d Glen Wesley
Mon-Wed at the Bishop’s Registry (5331 1183)
or 0429 146 566
Email -

General Synod Advice re Streaming & Copyright

CCLI live streaming licence

Each church that intends to conduct live streaming must have its own individual CCLI Church Copyright live streaming licence. This licence allows you to stream or podcast your live-recorded worship service music on your church’s website or other streaming services. Group licences are currently not available. Further details see

APBA copyright

Copyright for the use of material from A Prayer Book for Australia should be acknowledged during live streaming and a graphic added to end of any published videos.

Use of music during live streaming services

Those who are using contemporary songs will need to purchase a licence via CCLI as noted above. Those who are using traditional hymns played live rather than recordings should not require permission if the music is in the public domain, which much of it is.

Choral music will need to be in the public domain otherwise a license will be required. Parishes should seek the advice of their person who usually coordinates music in their parish in this regard.

Use of video during live streaming services

Showing film scenes, videos or clips will require specific licencing to prevent against any breaches of copyright.


Privacy law should also be considered in the case of live streaming. Ensuring that you have the permission of those who may appear in your live stream will minimise the risk of a privacy breach.