CURRENT ALERT - NEW COUNTRY VICTORIA REGULATIONS - 24 June 2021
Below is a summary of the new regulations we must follow to allow in person services to occur in our Churches.
Religious gatherings and ceremonies No overarching venue limit. Density quotient of 1 person per 2 sqm applies when using a COVID Check-in Marshall, otherwise density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies
Funerals Permitted with 300 people plus those necessary to conduct the funeral, subject to venue density limits. Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap
Weddings: Permitted with 300 people plus those necessary to conduct the funeral, subject to venue density limits. Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap
Masks must be carried at all times
• Must be worn indoors except if at home, or if an exception applies
• Recommended to be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained
Food and Drink - (Hospitality) Indoors - seated service only. Density limits apply to your Church Hall.
NOT CURRENT - PLEASE REFER TO TOP OF PAGE
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 must be worn:
- on public transport, in commercial passenger vehicles such as taxis and ride share vehicles, and in tour vehicles
- by visitors to a hospital
- by visitors at a care facility (while indoors)
- on flights to and from Victoria
- at airports
- if you are a diagnosed person, or a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19, when leaving your home or accommodation for a permitted reason, such as to seek medical care or to get tested
- while awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test when leaving your home or accommodation for a permitted reason, such as to seek medical care (except as part of a surveillance or other asymptomatic testing program)
- while experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
It is not mandatory to wear a mask inside our church buildings, though people should feel free and welcome to do so.
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.
Electronic Contact Tracing must take place. If some parishioners cannot use QR Codes you must keep manual records for those people.
Registering for Electronic Record Keeping
Parishes should 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 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.
Your church can be opened for private prayer. However all necessary COVID-safe guidelines must be adhered to INCLUDING:
- Collecting Contact details
- 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.
Inside gatherings eg Parish Council
Apply 2square metre rule. Use electronic record keeping. Use manual record keeping where participants cannot use a QR code.
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.
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.
We suggest that you record in your parish service register all online services, leaving attendance blank where unknown.
Weddings and Funerals
The venue you hold a wedding or Funeral at must apply the two square metre rule. This means the limit on the number of people who can attend a wedding / funeral is determined by the size of the venue. The square metre rule includes the couple, the celebrant, but not the photographer or other workers such as catering staff.
Electronic Contact Tracing must still take place.
A wedding or funeral held in a private residence is limited to the members of the household and up to 100 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.
Baptism, Confirmation or Other Pastoral Services
Please see above Religious gathering limits.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Mon, Tue & Thurs at the Bishop’s Registry (5331 1183)
Wed at home (4343 1405)
Email - email@example.com
The Safe Church Officer
The Rev’d Glen Wesley
Mon-Wed at the Bishop’s Registry (5331 1183)
or 0429 146 566
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
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 https://au.ccli.com/copyright-licences/.
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.