COVID-19

If you would like to receive COVID-19 update emails from CCVT please contact safeplaces@churchesofchrist.org.au.

Updates


VICTORIA UPDATE:

As part of Victoria’s ongoing management of the coronavirus pandemic, from 11.59pm Friday 24 June 2022 the following changes to the pandemic orders come into effect:

  • Rules requiring general workers (including Religious Workers) to work from home unless they are double-vaccinated are lifted. Employers can consider setting COVID-19 vaccination policies as part of their own workplace conditions.
  • Masks must still be worn on public transport, taxis, ride shares, and planes, but will no longer be required at airports. Masks are also still required in sensitive settings such as hospitals and care facilities.
  • Positive cases must still isolate for seven days from the day they took their test but may now leave home to drive a household member directly to or from education or work without leaving their vehicle. They can also leave home to get medical care, a COVID-19 test, or in an emergency, including the risk of harm.
  • To protect the most vulnerable during winter, three COVID-19 vaccine doses are still required for workers in residential aged care and disability care, healthcare, and custodial and emergency services, including police.
  • Government imposed third dose mandates in education, food distribution, meat and seafood processing and quarantine accommodation sectors will be lifted. In line with other jurisdictions around Australia, COVID-19 vaccination policies will be the responsibility of individual workplaces to consider as part of their workplace conditions
  • Visitor caps to care facilities, including residential aged care and disability are removed. Residents can see any number of people, provided they test negative on a rapid antigen test that day. If a test is unavailable, a person can only be present for limited reasons such as end-of-life visits. Centres may introduce their own visitor rules to respond to local risk.

TASMANIA UPDATE:

In Tasmania, from 12:01am on Saturday 25 June 2022, face masks will no longer be required in schools, early childhood centres or on public transport (including the Spirit of Tasmania vessel and its terminals). Some public transport providers, schools and child care centres may still require face masks to be worn based on their individual risk assessment.

Although wearing face masks will no longer be required in these settings, individuals can choose to continue wearing masks if they wish.

From 1 July 2022, the requirement to wear face masks in all remaining settings, such as hospitals, residential aged care facilities, disability providers and correctional facilities, will be based on individual risk assessments for each of these settings.

Close contacts will still be required to wear face masks when they are in indoor settings outside the home.

Face masks, along with other COVID-safe behaviours, remain an important way to help reduce the risk of COVID-19.  Although not mandatory, mask wearing is still strongly recommended in public places, especially where physical distancing is not possible.

QUICK LINKS:

COVID Safe Plans and COVID-19 Safety Plans: 
Plans are still required for all churches and agencies in Vic and Tas and must be up to date and available onsite. Your Plan is a list of health and safety actions that says howyou are keeping your attendees, your workers, and your community safe.

Please update your plan immediately to reflect the recent changes.

Vic: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-plan

Tas: www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/business-and-employees/covid-19-case-and-outbreak-management/covid-19-safety-plans

Responding to a COVID positive case:

Workplaces must still advise staff generally if an infectious colleague has attended. However, workplaces are no longer required to identify and notify individual staff members exposed to an infectious colleague.

A worker who tested positive to COVID-19 must identify and inform the staff they came into contact with.

Vic: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/case-workplace

Tas: www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/business-and-employees/covid-19-case-and-outbreak-management/case-and-outbreak-response

Vaccination:

For those who are unsure about the current vaccination requirements for religious workers in Victoria, we are no longer required to be vaccinated. 

Vic: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/worker-vaccination-requirements
Tas: www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/business-and-employees/vaccination-requirements

Density Limits:
Density and capacity limits no longer apply, although churches and agencies may still voluntarily use capacity limits as part of their ongoing COVID-19 safety management.  

This is particularly important in small rooms or venues where social distancing is difficult to maintain.

Please ensure your signage is up to date, and that facility users are clear regarding your requirements, as it is easy for people to forget or assume it is old information.

Communion Cups:
Consider double cupping your communion or using prefilled communion cups like those made at https://whole-in-one.com.au.

For hygiene purposes, please discourage people from handing trays or used cups along rows. Set up designated collection and disposal stations or have communion servers distribute and collect back communion cups directly from each person.  

Signs, Posters, and Templates:

A collection of resources and tools are available to promote and maintain a healthy environment. It not only works against COVID but for all colds, flu, and general infectious diseases.   

Please do a walk around of your premises and take down any out of date signage and replace with current information and reminders.

Vic: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/signs-posters-and-templates
Tas: www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/resources

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

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STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA UPDATE:

(Apologies for the lateness of this update – I’ve been without internet☹)

RESTRICTIONS EASED FROM 11.59PM FRIDAY 25 FEBRUARY 2022:

From 11.59pm Friday 25 February 2022, changes will come into effect for Victoria. The following are the ones that are most likely to impact Churches and Agencies:

1. The public health recommendation for Victorians to work or study from home has been removed

2. Masks are no longer required in most indoor settings, but will STILL apply in the following circumstances (unless exempt):

  • People working or visiting hospitals, and indoor areas at care facilities
  • Workers in hospitality and retail
  • In special circumstances, such as if you have COVID-19 or are a close contact and you’re leaving home

Masks continue to be recommended for workers serving or facing members of the public, such as if you are at reception, meeting guests or serving customers.

CLARIFICATION ON QR CHECK-IN REQUIREMENTS FOR PLACES OF WORSHIP (SPOILER: NO LONGER REQUIRED)

Recently the Victorian Government changed the QR code check-in requirements in some venues. Their website gave contradictory advice on whether Places of Worship were required to check in (some pages said yes, some said no, and the hotline gave an even wider variety of answers).

Following direct consultation with the Industry Coordination Centre at Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions we can confirm that QR code check-in is no longer required at Places of Worship.  

Although the www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au website is yet to be fully updated, the written advice we received is:  “We do apologise as our website is being updated with the new settings. QR code check-in is no longer required for places of worship as there is no mandatory vaccination check (of patrons) required… Most workers (including contractors, volunteers and students on placement) are still required to show evidence of their vaccination status to their employer in order to continue working outside their home.” 

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN VICTORIA:

Please see below for how the relevant restrictions affect your church or agency. Please note that this advice remains subject to change.  

This email is based on advice received directly from Business Victoria, Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, Department of Health, and Victoria's pandemic management framework and pandemic orders.

If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 or go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings (please note that not all pages are fully updated with the most recent changes).

 

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS FOR VICTORIA: 25 FEBRUARY 2022 – 12 APRIL 2022

 

Religious Gatherings

(e.g. worship services, weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies such as communion or baptism, life groups, prayer groups, private prayer, kids’ ministry, PlaygroupChristian Playgroup, youth group, members meetings, essential support services e.g. food banks/community meals)

Masks (workers): not required (but still recommended for those in public facing roles such as ushers, welcome teams, morning tea servers etc)

Masks (patrons): not required

Vaccination (workers): required unless exempt

Vaccination (patrons): not required

Density Limit: none

QR Code check in: not required

COVID Safe Plan: required

If the wedding or ceremony is being held in a venue that has vaccination requirements, such as hospitality settings, community facilities, or entertainment venues, then you must follow that venue’s vaccination requirements. (Source)

 
 
 

Mandatory Vaccination of Religious Workers

All religious workers (paid or volunteer) are required to show evidence to their employer of receiving 2 vaccination doses in order to continue working outside their home (unless exempt). Mandatory vaccination does not apply to those who are continuing to only work from home.

You must record the vaccination status of all workers either in your existing database or by using a register.

The church as a workplace also includes ceremonies held in other locations e.g. homes, gardens and community venues.

See current COVIDSafe Settings for business and industry in Victoria at How we work: Victoria

 

Who is a religious worker?

A ‘religious worker’ is someone who works in connection with a place of worship.  

This does NOT include “excluded workers” who:

  • conduct services of public worship and acknowledgments of faith
  • perform marriages, funerals, and special memorial services according to tradition and ecclesiastical and civil law
  • visit members of the community in their homes, hospitals, and other institutions to provide advice and religious comfort for the purpose of end of life faith reasons

Vaccination is also mandatory for workers in a range of other areas which may affect Affiliates, including retail (e.g. op shops and church cafes).  

Examples of religious workers (paid or volunteer) who may be required to be vaccinated if not working from home or exempt. 

  • Ministers/Pastors (unless exempt under the above definition of excluded workers)
  • Admin/Office staff/Receptionists
  • Cleaners/Gardeners/Property Maintenance/Repairers
  • Worship band members/Choir members/Audio Visual teams
  • Broadcast Teams (exempt if broadcasting where there are no members of the public)
  • Board Members/Elders
  • Children and Youth leaders
  • Senior’s Ministry Leaders
  • Pastoral care/counselling staff (exempt if providing end of life pastoral care)
  • Life group/bible study group leaders (exempt if group is meeting in leaders own home)
  • Ushers and Welcome Teams members

Exceptions may apply in some circumstances. If you are unsure if you meet the criteria of a religious worker because of your paid or volunteer role, please check with the Business Victoria website or call the Hotline on 1800 675 398. 

CCVT recommends that all religious workers be vaccinated. If you have concerns, please seek advice from your medical practitioner.

 

Evidence of Vaccination

Visit How to get your COVID-19 digital certificate for more information.

 

Life groups/bible study groups in private homes

Masks (workers): not required 

Masks (patrons): not required

Vaccination (workers): required unless exempt or running group in leaders own home.

Vaccination (patrons): not required

The group leader meets the definition of a Religious Worker, and therefore must be vaccinated unless the group is meeting in the leaders own house, thereby that person is “working from home”.  Business Victoria have confirmed that while mandatory vaccination does not apply to the group leader if they are working from their own home, it is still strongly recommended in this setting.

 

Vaccination for kids and youth

Vaccines are available for everyone aged 5 years and over.

People under the age of 18 years old are no longer required to show evidence of their vaccination status in order to attend religious gatherings, retail, and hospitality venues.

 

Pastoral visitation in private homes

Please note that Pastoral Carers are religious workers. They are required to be vaccinated if providing pastoral care, except if they are there to “provide advice and religious comfort for the purpose of end of life faith reasons”.

 

Pastoral visitation in hospital

Entry requirements and visitor limitations apply. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility before attending. 

 

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Entry requirements and visitor limitations apply. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility before attending.

 

Food and Beverage Premises

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies run a commercial café or other hospitality venue which is subject to the obligations specified in the Open Premises Order.

Masks (workers): required

Masks (patrons): not required

Vaccination (workers): required unless exempt

Vaccination (patrons): required (unless exempt or only getting takeaway)

Density Limit: none

QR Code check in:  required

COVID Safe Plan: required

Note: Patron vaccination requirement does not apply to patrons under 18 years old, or patrons only getting take-away.

 

Retail / Op shops

Masks (workers): required

Masks (patrons): not required

Vaccination (workers): required unless exempt

Vaccination (patrons): not required

Density Limit: none

QR Code check in:  not required

COVID Safe Plan: required

There are lots of resources for how to run retail shops safely here including free infection control trainingand information on the latest Covid Safe Plan templates and resources.

 

Face Masks

You are no longer required to wear a face mask in most indoor settings, but wearing a mask remains recommended.

You must always carry your mask when leaving home.

It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask outdoors if you can’t physically distance, have symptoms, or if you are with people who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.

See the Face masks page for more information.

 

Essential Support Groups

(AA, NA, Family Violence etc)

Masks (workers): not required 

Masks (patrons): not required

Vaccination (workers): required unless exempt

Vaccination (patrons): not required

Density Limit: none

QR Code check in:  not required 

COVID Safe Plan: required

 

Check in with QR codes

Places of Worship: not required  

Retail: not required

Food and Beveridge Premises: required

QR code check in requirements only apply in vaccinated economy venues where you are currently required to show your vaccination status, such as:

  • hospitality and entertainment venues
  • adult/higher education
  • hair and beauty services venues
  • community premises
  • physical recreation venues.

All visitors, workers, students, and customers must check in before entering a vaccinated economy venue.

 

COVID Check-in Marshals

Places of Worship: not required  

Retail: not required

Food and Beveridge Premises: not required at a food and drink premises that has a total area of all indoor spaces and outdoor spaces accessible to patrons of less than 100 sqm if:

a person working at the premises requests that each patron (except patrons under 18 years of age) show acceptable evidence that they are either:

(i) fully vaccinated; or

(ii) an excepted person,

at an entrance to the premises or at the first point of service. The first point of service is when a worker first interacts with a customer during their attendance at the premises, for example when greeting a customer once they have entered the premises. (Source)

Employers should support workers to carry out their COVID Check-in Marshal duties by making sure they have received some basic guidance by accessing the online resources.

 

Signs, Posters, and Templates

A collection of resources and tools are available to promote a COVIDSafe workplace

 

COVIDSafe Plans

It is mandatory for every Victorian business with on-site operations to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

new COVIDSafe Plan template is now available.  

Churches ARE being randomly audited (like any other organisation) so please review your COVIDSafe plan in light of changes to current restrictions to make sure it is up to date and available on site.

The church as a workplace also includes ceremonies held in other locations e.g. homes, gardens, and community venues. Please ensure that you have included these locations in your COVIDSafe Plan if running ceremonies (e.g. communion or baptisms) offsite. 

 

CSP REVIEW AND DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS:

The Victorian Government is offering a free support service for small to medium businesses to ensure your COVIDSafe Plan is up to date and reflects current COVIDSafe Settings.

Information forums will provide updates on the latest COVIDSafe Plan information and mandatory requirements, as well as tips on how to implement the Plan.

Complete this registration form to attend one of the upcoming information March forums.

 

Responding to a confirmed case

As a workplace:

If a worker who has tested positive for COVID-19 and worked indoors in the workplace during their infectious period, they must inform their workplace as soon as possible.

Advice is available online for workplaces on how to manage a positive case, including how to determine if someone is a workplace contact, who you need to contact, and what to communicate to workers.

You can also use this simple tool to help you determine who is a workplace contact: https://au.openforms.com/Form/719314db-8200-4707-9ff5-8927827e7a0f

See the cleaning guidelines for checklists to follow after a positive case has been on site.

Your COVIDSafe Plan should advise your church regarding what to do in the event that a confirmed case has been on site. If your Plan doesn’t clearly tell you what to do, you must update it immediately.

 

Household and Household-like contacts:  

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to tell their household and household-like contacts they have tested positive. Household and Household-like contacts are required to quarantine at home for 7 days, get tested, and monitor symptoms. If you have spent more than 4 hours with someone who has COVID-19 inside a house, accommodation or care facility see the Checklist for household or household-like contacts

 

All Other Contacts:

If someone who has COVID-19 has informed you that you are their social contact, or a workplace or education facility has informed you that you are a workplace or education contact, see the Checklist for all other contacts. These people are not required to quarantine but must monitor for symptoms and get tested if showing symptoms.

 

Ventilation and cleaning

It is recommended that organisations open windows and outside doors where possible to maximise ventilation to improve indoor air quality

Reduce or eliminate recirculated air and increase the use of outdoor air where possible. Work with your building owner or manager to improve ventilation where possible.

Shared and public spaces should be regularly cleaned to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. 

Cleaning information for businesses, managers and cleaners is available at: COVID-19 cleaning guidelines for workplaces. 

 

Baptisms

CCVT recommends baptisms be conducted by a member of the same household as keeping 1.5m distance is not required for members of the same household. 

It is recommended that you do not baptise multiple people in same enclosed water e.g. baptismal bath. 

Masks are useless and dangerous when wet – do not baptise while face is covered – remove beforehand and replace with new mask immediately after.

 

Tithes and Offerings

Encourage online giving or direct bank transfer. 

Avoid passing the offering bowls/bags/buckets. Position bowls/buckets in convenient places, so people can leave their offerings without touching them.

Provide offering volunteers (counting and recording) with hand sanitizer and gloves. Make sure counters maintain a distance of 1.5m from each other.

 

Singing

Singing is allowed at places of worship in Victoria. Indoor venues should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows and doors are opened if safe to do so. Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces as this is just circulating the existing air, not bringing in fresh air.

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal, it is recommended that you keep at least two metres from other people in the rehearsal. Performers are also recommended to keep five metres away from the audience. 

 

Food/Beverage 

Food and beverage is permitted under current COVIDSafe Settings.

Be proactive about eliminating or minimising communally used/touched items such as urn handles, kettles, spoons, or milk jugs by providing single use cutlery, having designated servers make tea/coffee, and monitoring food and beverage stations.

Servers should wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser after handling used crockery and cutlery. 

All communal equipment should be thoroughly cleaned between events.

Consider spacing of chairs, tables and serving areas so that crowds don’t gather or bottle neck unnecessarily – provide room for social distancing.  

Consider suggesting people BYO to events, provide multiple food/beverage stations, or make the most of the summer weather by relocating outdoors! 

 

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. 

Consider double cupping your communion or using prefilled communion cups like those made at https://whole-in-one.com.au (current price is $28.60 for 100 packs! Bargain!)

Discourage handing trays or used cups along rows by setting up designated collection and disposal stations or have covid safe communion servers distribute and collect back communion cups. 

 

Hall Hire and Tenants

It is the responsibility of the hall hirer/tenant to ensure that their workers and attendees meet any COVIDSafe requirements at their gatherings/events.

The COVIDSafe Settings that apply to the venue type apply, regardless of the activity taking place. 

A COVIDSafe Plan must be on site and should clarify who is responsible for cleaning and how often (e.g. after every event) and be in line with the relevant settings.

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

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STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA UPDATE:

RESTRICTIONS EASED FROM FRIDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2022:

From 6pm Friday 18 February 2022, density quotients of one person per two square metres in place at hospitality and entertainment venues will be removed. Indoor dancefloors at these venues can also re-open.

QR code check-in requirements will no longer be in place at retail venues, schools (including childcare and early childhood) and for employees at many workplaces. 

QR code check-in and vaccination check requirements will remain in all ‘vaccinated economy’ settings such as hospitality and entertainment venues.

Please note:  QR code check-in is still required at places of worship.

More information can be found at Density limit, dancefloor and QR code restrictions to ease.

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN VICTORIA:

Please see below for how the relevant restrictions affect your church or agency. Please note that this advice remains subject to change.  

This email is based on advice received directly from Business Victoria and Department of Health, as well as Victoria's pandemic management framework and pandemic orders.

For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings. Please note that the government website pages may not be fully updated with the most recent changes yet.

If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Hotline on 1800 675 398 or go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

 

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS FOR VICTORIA: 18 FEBRUARY 2022 – 12 APRIL 2022

 

Religious Gatherings

(e.g. worship services, weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies such as communion or baptism, life groups, prayer groups, private prayer, kids’ ministry, PlaygroupChristian Playgroup, youth group, members meetings, essential support services e.g. food banks)

Masks: required indoors unless exempt

Worker Vaccination: required unless exempt

Patron Vaccination: not required

Density Limit: none

QR Code check in: required

COVID Safe Plan: required

If a religious ceremony is being held in another location (e.g. hospitality, community, or entertainment venue) then you must follow that venue’s COVID requirements.

Find out more: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-religion-and-ceremonies-guidance

 
 
 

Mandatory Vaccination of Religious Workers

All religious workers (paid or volunteer) are required to show evidence to their employer of receiving 2 vaccination doses in order to continue working outside their home (unless exempt).

Mandatory vaccination does not apply to those who are continuing to only work from home.

You must record the vaccination status of all workers either in your existing database or by using a register.

The church as a workplace also includes ceremonies held in other locations e.g. homes, gardens and community venues.

FAQ for Workers

FAQ for Business and Industry

See current COVIDSafe Settings for business and industry in Victoria at How we work: Victoria

 

Who is a religious worker?

A ‘religious worker’ is someone who works in connection with a place of worship.  

This does NOT include “excluded workers” who:

  • conduct services of public worship and acknowledgments of faith
  • perform marriages, funerals, and special memorial services according to tradition and ecclesiastical and civil law
  • visit members of the community in their homes, hospitals, and other institutions to provide advice and religious comfort for the purpose of end of life faith reasons

CCVT recommends that all religious workers be vaccinated. If you have concerns, please seek advice from your medical practitioner.

Vaccination is also mandatory for workers in a range of other areas which may affect Affiliates, including retail (e.g. op shops and church cafes).  

The following are common examples of workers (paid or volunteer) who may be required to be vaccinated if not working from home or exempt. 

  • Ministers/Pastors (unless exempt under the above definition of excluded workers)
  • Admin/Office staff/Receptionists
  • Cleaners/Gardeners/Property Maintenance/Repairers
  • Worship band members/Audio Visual teams
  • Broadcast Teams (exempt if broadcasting where there are no members of the public)
  • Board Members/Elders
  • Children and Youth leaders
  • Senior’s Ministry Leaders
  • Pastoral care/counselling staff (exempt if providing end of life pastoral care)
  • Life group/bible study group leaders (exempt if group is meeting in leaders own home)
  • Choir members and ushers

Exceptions may apply in some circumstances.

If you are unsure if you meet the criteria of a religious worker because of your paid or volunteer role, please check with the Business Victoria website or call the Hotline on 1800 675 398.

 

Evidence of Vaccination

There are 5 ways you can show COVID-19 proof of vaccination to gain entry to businesses and venues in Victoria. 

  1. COVID-19 digital certificate via the Service Victoria app 
  2. COVID-19 digital certificate saved to a smartphone wallet 
  3. Printed copy of COVID-19 digital certificate from the My Gov website
  4. Printed copy of immunisation history statement
  5. Eligible proof of vaccination exemption

Visit How to get your COVID-19 digital certificate for more information.

 

Life groups/bible study groups in private homes

Groups can meet in private homes for the purpose of running a formal church or agency program or activity. 

The group leader meets the definition of a Religious Worker, and therefore must be vaccinated unless the group is meeting in the leaders own house, thereby that person is “working from home”.

Business Victoria have confirmed that while mandatory vaccination does not apply to the group leader if they are working from their own home, it is still strongly recommended in this setting.

 

Vaccination for kids and youth

Vaccines are available for everyone aged 5 years and over.

People under the age of 18 years old are no longer required to show evidence of their vaccination status in order to attend religious gatherings, retail, and hospitality venues.

 

Pastoral visitation in private homes

Please note that Pastoral carers are religious workers. They are required to be vaccinated, except if they are there to “provide advice and religious comfort for the purpose of end of life faith reasons”.

 

Pastoral visitation in hospital

Entry requirements and visitor limitations apply. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility before attending.

 

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Entry requirements and visitor limitations apply. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility before attending.

 

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies run a commercial café or other hospitality venue which is subject to the obligations specified in the Open Premises Order.

Masks: required unless exempt

Worker Vaccination: required unless exempt

Patron Vaccination: required unless exempt

Density Limit: none

QR Code check in:  required

COVID Safe Plan: required

Note: Patron vaccination requirement does not apply to patrons under 18 years old, or patrons only getting take-away.

 

Retail / Op shops

Masks: required unless exempt

Worker Vaccination: required unless exempt

Patron Vaccination: not required

Density Limit: none

QR Code check in:  not required

COVID Safe Plan: required

There are lots of resources for how to run retail shops safely here including free infection control trainingand information on the latest Covid Safe Plan templates and resources.

 

Face Masks

Face masks are required indoors (except at home) for everyone aged 8 and above at all times unless an exception applies.

It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask outdoors if you can’t physically distance, have any symptoms, or if you are with people who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.

Carry a mask when leaving home. 

See the Face masks page for information about where masks are required.

 

Essential Support Groups

(AA, NA, Family Violence etc)

Masks: required

Worker Vaccination: required

Patron Vaccination: not required

Density Limit: none

QR Code check in:  not required (due to confidentiality) 

COVID Safe Plan: required

 

QR Code

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure all attendees check in when on site.

A full step-by-step guide on how to use the free Victorian Government QR Code Check-in System is available here.

 

COVID Check-in Marshals

COVID Check-in marshal is required at all public entrances when the venue or facility is open to patrons.  

A Check-in Marshal’s job is to monitor entrances and ensure each patron who enters a venue uses the Service Victoria QR code (or an alternative record keeping method, where relevant) to check in on arrival. They no longer need to check for proof of vaccination.

If a patron refuses to show evidence of a successful check in on the QR code, the COVID Check-in Marshal can ask that person not to enter the venue.   

Employers are responsible for appointing workers or volunteers as Check-in Marshals. As we meet in larger numbers, it is important to ensure you have enough people the role and that they are the right people!

Check-in Marshals are not required to complete any role-specific training, though employers should provide guidance where practical to ensure COVID Check-in Marshals understand their role and what they are required to do.  

Employers should support workers to carry out their COVID Check-in Marshal duties by making sure they have received some basic guidance by accessing the online resources.

 

Signs, Posters, and Templates

A collection of resources and tools are available to promote a COVIDSafe workplace

 

Responding to a confirmed case

As a workplace:

If a worker who has tested positive for COVID-19 and worked indoors in the workplace during their infectious period, they must inform their workplace as soon as possible.

There is new advice for workplaces (4 Feb) on how to manage a positive case, including how to determine if someone is a workplace contact, who you need to contact, and what to communicate to workers.

You can also use this tool to help you determine who is a workplace contact: https://au.openforms.com/Form/719314db-8200-4707-9ff5-8927827e7a0f

Follow the Information and advice for businesses who have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplaceand see the cleaning guidelines for checklists to follow after a positive case has been on site.

 

Household and Household-like contacts:  

If you have spent more than 4 hours with someone who has COVID-19 inside a house, accommodation or care facility see the Checklist for household or household-like contacts

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to tell their household and household-like contacts they have tested positive. Household and Household-like contacts are required to quarantine at home for 7 days, get tested, and monitor symptoms. 

 

All Other Contacts:

If someone who has COVID-19 has informed you that you are their social contact, or a workplace or education facility has informed you that you are a workplace or education contact, see the Checklist for all other contacts. These people are not required to quarantine but must monitor for symptoms and get tested if showing symptoms.

 

COVIDSafe Plans

It is mandatory for every Victorian business with on-site operations to have a COVIDSafe Plan.

new COVIDSafe Plan template is now available.

Please review your COVIDSafe plan in light of changes to current restrictions. 

The church as a workplace also includes ceremonies held in other locations e.g. homes, gardens, and community venues. Please ensure that you have included these locations in your COVIDSafe Plan if running ceremonies (e.g. communion or baptisms) offsite. 

The Victorian Government is offering a free support service for small to medium businesses to ensure your COVIDSafe Plan is up to date and reflects current COVIDSafe Settings.

- Information forums will provide updates on the latest COVIDSafe Plan information and mandatory requirements, as well as tips on how to implement the Plan.

- Workshops are available for forum participants if you would like more help or advice.

Complete this registration form to attend one of the upcoming information forums.

 

Ventilation and cleaning

It is recommended that organisations open windows and outside doors where possible to maximise ventilation to improve indoor air quality

Reduce or eliminate recirculated air and increase the use of outdoor air where possible. Work with your building owner or manager to improve ventilation where possible.

Shared and public spaces should be regularly cleaned to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. 

Cleaning information for businesses, managers and cleaners is available at: COVID-19 cleaning guidelines for workplaces. 

 

Baptisms

CCVT recommends baptisms be conducted by a member of the same household as keeping 1.5m distance is not required for members of the same household. 

It is recommended that you do not baptise multiple people in same enclosed water e.g. baptismal bath. 

Masks are useless and dangerous when wet – do not baptise while face is covered – remove beforehand and replace with new mask immediately after.

 

Tithes and Offerings

Encourage online giving or direct bank transfer. 

Avoid passing the offering bowls/bags/buckets. Position bowls/buckets in convenient places, so people can leave their offerings without touching them.

Provide offering volunteers (counting and recording) with hand sanitizer and gloves. Make sure counters maintain a distance of 1.5m from each other.

 

Singing

Singing is allowed at places of worship in Victoria. Indoor venues should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows and doors are opened if safe to do so. Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces as this is just circulating the existing air, not bringing in fresh air.

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal, it is recommended that you keep at least two metres from other people in the rehearsal. Performers are also recommended to keep five metres away from the audience. 

 

Food/Beverage 

Food and beverage is permitted under current COVIDSafe Settings.

Be proactive about eliminating or minimising communally used/touched items such as urn handles, kettles, spoons, or milk jugs by providing single use cutlery, having designated servers make tea/coffee, and monitoring food and beverage stations.

Servers should wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser after handling used crockery and cutlery. 

All communal equipment should be thoroughly cleaned between events.

Consider spacing of chairs, tables and serving areas so that crowds don’t gather or bottle neck unnecessarily – provide room for social distancing.  

Consider suggesting people BYO to events, provide multiple food/beverage stations, or make the most of the summer weather by relocating outdoors! 

 

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. 

Consider double cupping your communion, having covid safe servers or using prefilled communion cups

Minimise contact by having designated collection and disposal stations or have designated people serve and collect back communion cups. 

Discourage handing trays or used cups along rows.

 

Hall Hire and Tenants

It is the responsibility of the hall hirer/tenant to ensure that their workers and attendees meet any COVIDSafe requirements at their gatherings/events.

The COVIDSafe Settings that apply to the venue type apply, regardless of the activity taking place. 

A COVIDSafe Plan must be on site and should clarify who is responsible for cleaning and how often (e.g. after every event) and be in line with the relevant settings.

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: (MISSED THESE?)

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STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA UPDATE:

CHANGES TO DENSITY QUOTIENT DOES NOT APPLY TO PLACES OF WORSHIP:

The recent change to density limits does not apply to Places of Worship. Churches are open to full capacity.

For those Affiliates running a café (or a casino!) a density quotient of one person per two square metres will be required indoors at:  

  • hospitality venues, including restaurants, cafés, pubs, and nightclubs  
  • entertainment venues, including arcades, casinos, and gaming venues.  

See current COVIDSafe Settings for business and industry in Victoria at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-work-current-restrictions.

CHANGES TO MANDATORY VACCINATION DOES NOT APPLY TO RELIGIOUS WORKERS:

Today’s announcement regarding the mandatory third dose vaccination of some workers does not apply to Religious Workers.

Under new pandemic orders coming into place at 11:59pm Wednesday 12 January 2022, workers in key sectors who are already required to be fully vaccinated with two doses must get their third dose before being permitted to work onsite.  

This will apply to healthcare, aged care, disability, emergency services, correctional facility, quarantine accommodation and food processing and distribution workers (excluding retail).

See current vaccination requirements for workers in Victoria at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/information-workers-required-to-be-vaccinated

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

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STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA UPDATE:

CHANGES TO TESTING AND CONTACT MANAGEMENT

The Victorian Government has announced new isolation and testing requirements for COVID-19 cases and contacts as recommended by National Cabinet, with new pandemic orders taking effect from 11:59pm on Thursday 30 December 2021. 

The orders are an extension of Victoria’s current settings with a close contact defined as: 

  • someone who lives with a confirmed COVID-19 case, or 
  • someone who has spent four or more hours with them in a house, care facility or accommodation. 

Under the new orders Victorians who test positive to COVID-19 must isolate for 7 days from the date of their test. This is reduced from 10 days.  

PCR tests in Victoria are available for anyone who has symptoms and anyone who has tested positive to a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). 

Please refer to the Checklist for COVID contacts for more information.  

WHAT TO DO WHEN SOMEONE AT YOUR CHURCH/AGENCY TESTS POSITIVE TO COVID-19:

There are different types of contacts and different rules apply. Make sure you follow the right advice for your situation. 

As a workplace:

New advice is now available on how to manage a confirmed case in the workplace (as at 30 Dec 2021).

If a COVID positive worker (paid or volunteer) worked while they were infectious, they are required to tell their workplace. The workplace must identify and inform other staff who are contacts (including sub-contractors, but not patrons).

It is largely expected that organisations will manage their own notifications to workplace contacts, rather than the Dept of Health notifying people.  Please follow the Information and advice for businesses who have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Workplaces exposed to a positive COVID-19 case will no longer need to be deep cleaned by professional cleaners. Please see the cleaning guidelines for advice on cleaning practices, especially after a positive case has been on site.

Household and Household-like contacts:  

If you have spent more than 4 hours with someone who has COVID-19 inside a house, accommodation or care facility see the Checklist for household or household-like contacts

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to tell their household and household-like contacts they have tested positive. Household and Household-like contacts are required to quarantine at home for 7 days, get tested, and monitor symptoms. 

All Other Contacts:

If someone who has COVID-19 has informed you that you are their social contact, or a workplace or education facility has informed you that you are a workplace or education contact, see the Checklist for all other contacts

These people are not required to quarantine but must monitor for symptoms and get tested if showing symptoms.

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN VICTORIA:

Please see below for how the relevant restrictions affect your church or agency. Please note that this advice remains subject to change.  

This email is based on advice received directly from Business Victoria and Department of Health, as well as the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Workers) Order (No. 1), the Open Premises Order (No. 1),  the Pandemic (Workplace) Order 2021 (No. 1), and the Statement from the Premier’s Office

The latest relevant legislation is also attached (with highlights) for those who like to read it (it’s the same as in the last email update).

If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Hotline on 1800 675 398 or go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au. For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settingsPlease note that the government website may not be fully updated yet.

 

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS FOR VICTORIA: 30 DEC 2021 - 12 JAN 2022

 

Religious Gatherings

(e.g. worship services, weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies such as communion or baptism, life groups, prayer groups, private prayer, kids’ ministry, PlaygroupChristian Playgroup, youth group, members meetings, essential support groups e.g. AA or NA, and essential support services e.g. food banks)

Patrons: There are no longer any vaccination requirements, limits on participants, nor any requirement to check the vaccination status of patrons attending weddings, funerals, or religious gatherings.

Workers: All workers (paid or volunteer) must be fully vaccinated unless exempt. You must record the vaccination status of workers (paid and volunteer) either in your existing database or by using a register.

Offsite: If the wedding or ceremony is being held in a venue that has vaccination requirements, such as hospitality settings, community facilities, or entertainment venues, then you must follow that venue’s vaccination requirements.

Find out more about COVIDSafe gatherings.

 
 
 

Mandatory Vaccination of Religious Workers

All religious workers (paid or volunteer) must be fully vaccinated if they are working on site (i.e. not working from home) unless they are exempt.

You must record the vaccination status of all workers either in your existing database or by using a register.

Mandatory vaccination does not apply to those who are continuing to only work from home.

The church as a workplace also includes ceremonies held in other locations e.g. homes, gardens and community venues.

FAQ for Workers

FAQ for Business and Industry

See current COVIDSafe Settings for business and industry in Victoria at How we work: Victoria

 

Who is a religious worker?

A ‘religious worker’ is someone who works in connection with a place of worship.  

This does NOT include “excluded workers” who:

  • conduct services of public worship and acknowledgments of faith
  • perform marriages, funerals, and special memorial services according to tradition and ecclesiastical and civil law
  • visit members of the community in their homes, hospitals, and other institutions to provide advice and religious comfort for the purpose of end of life faith reasons

CCVT recommends that all religious workers be vaccinated. If you have concerns, please seek advice from your medical practitioner.

Vaccination is also mandatory for Authorised Workers in a range of other areas which may affect Affiliates, including retail (e.g. op shops and church cafes).  

The following are common examples of workers (paid or volunteer) who may be required to be vaccinated if not working from home or exempt. 

  • Ministers/Pastors (unless exempt under the above definition of excluded workers)
  • Admin/Office staff/Receptionists
  • Cleaners/Gardeners/Property Maintenance/Repairers
  • Worship band members/Audio Visual teams
  • Broadcast Teams (exempt if broadcasting where there are no members of the public)
  • Board Members/Elders
  • Children and Youth leaders
  • Senior’s Ministry Leaders
  • Pastoral care/counselling staff (exempt if providing end of life pastoral care)
  • Life group/bible study group leaders (exempt if group is meeting in leaders own home)
  • Choir members and ushers

Exceptions may apply in some circumstances.

If you are unsure if you meet the criteria of a religious worker because of your paid or volunteer role, please check with the Business Victoria website or call the Hotline on 1800 675 398.

 

Evidence of Vaccination

There are 5 ways you can show COVID-19 proof of vaccination to gain entry to businesses and venues in Victoria. 

  1. COVID-19 digital certificate via the Service Victoria app 
  2. COVID-19 digital certificate saved to a smartphone wallet 
  3. Printed copy of COVID-19 digital certificate from the My Gov website
  4. Printed copy of immunisation history statement
  5. Eligible proof of vaccination exemption

Visit How to get your COVID-19 digital certificate for more information.

 

Life groups/bible study groups in private homes

Groups can now meet in private homes for the purpose of running a formal church or agency program or activity. 

The group leader meets the definition of a Religious Worker, and therefore must be vaccinated unless the group is meeting in the leaders own house, thereby that person is “working from home”.

Business Victoria have confirmed that while mandatory vaccination does not apply to the group leader if they are working from their own home, it is still strongly recommended in this setting.

 

Vaccination for kids and youth

Vaccines are available for everyone aged 5 years and over.

People under the age of 18 years old are no longer required to show evidence of their vaccination status in order to attend religious gatherings, retail, and hospitality venues.

 

Pastoral visitation in private homes

Please note that Pastoral carers are religious workers. They are required to be vaccinated, except if they are there to “provide advice and religious comfort for the purpose of end of life faith reasons”.

 

Pastoral visitation in hospital

Visitors are only allowed at hospitals for very limited reasons. 

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility before attending, as they may have their own additional requirements.

 

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Visitors are only allowed at care facilities for very limited reasons. 

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility before attending, as they may have their own additional requirements.

 

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies run a commercial café or other food and beverage facility.

Even though food and drink facilities such as cafés are now open with no density or capacity limits, they still fall under the obligations specified in the Open Premises Order (No. 1) so certain additional requirements still apply, such as:

  • Workers must be fully vaccinated unless medically exempt. 
  • Workers must wear face masks unless exempt.
  • Patrons over the age of 18 years old must provide evidence of being fully vaccinated or medically exempt (doesn’t apply to those only getting take-away).
  • Check in using Services Vic app
 

Retail / Op shops

The mandatory vaccination requirement has been removed for all retail customers.

All retail workers onsite (paid or volunteer) are still required to be vaccinated unless medically exempt. 

Retail workers and customers are still required to wear face masks.

Op shops must have a COVIDSafe plan in place.

There are lots of resources for how to run retail shops safely here including free infection control training.

 

Face Masks

Face masks are required indoors (except at home) for everyone aged 8 and above at all times unless an exception applies.

It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask outdoors if you can’t physically distance, have any symptoms, or if you are with people who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.

Carry a mask when leaving home. 

See the Face masks page for information about where masks are required.

 

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure all attendees check in when on site.

A full step-by-step guide on how to use the free Victorian Government QR Code Check-in System is available here.

 

COVID Check-in Marshals

Note: A COVID Check-in marshal and a COVID marshal are not the same thing!

COVID Check-in marshal is required at all public entrances when the venue or facility is open to patrons.  

A COVID Check-in Marshal’s job is to monitor entrances and ensure each patron who enters a venue uses the Service Victoria QR code (or an alternative record keeping method, where relevant) to check in on arrival. They no longer need to check for proof of vaccination.

If a patron refuses to show evidence of a successful check in on the QR code, the COVID Check-in Marshal can ask that person not to enter the venue.   

Employers are responsible for appointing workers or volunteers as COVID Check-in Marshals. As we meet in larger numbers, it is important to ensure you have enough people the role and that they are the right people!

COVID Check-in Marshals are not required to complete any role-specific training, though employers should provide guidance where practical to ensure COVID Check-in Marshals understand their role and what they are required to do.  

Employers should support workers to carry out their COVID Check-in Marshal duties by making sure they have received some basic guidance by accessing the online resources.

 

Signs, Posters, and Templates

Signage and posters are available to inform customers and visitors that COVID-19 vaccination is required to enter your facility. It is important that you clearly display these at all entrances to your business so that customers are aware of their obligations. 

A collection of resources is also available to promote a COVIDSafe workplace. You are encouraged to download and print the following signs and posters to put up around your property. They cover hygiene and changes to business operations due to COVID-19.

 

Responding to a confirmed case

As a workplace:

If a COVID positive worker (paid or volunteer) worked while they were infectious, they are required to tell their workplace. The workplace must identify and inform other staff who are contacts (including sub-contractors, but not patrons).

It is largely expected that organisations will manage their own notifications to workplace contacts, rather than the Dept of Health notifying people.  Please follow the Information and advice for businesses who have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Workplaces exposed to a positive COVID-19 case will no longer need to be deep cleaned by professional cleaners. Please see the cleaning guidelines for advice on cleaning practices, especially after a positive case has been on site.

 

Household and Household-like contacts:  

If you have spent more than 4 hours with someone who has COVID-19 inside a house, accommodation or care facility see the Checklist for household or household-like contacts

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to tell their household and household-like contacts they have tested positive. Household and Household-like contacts are required to quarantine at home for 7 days, get tested, and monitor symptoms. 

 

All Other Contacts:

If someone who has COVID-19 has informed you that you are their social contact, or a workplace or education facility has informed you that you are a workplace or education contact, see the Checklist for all other contacts

These people are not required to quarantine but must monitor for symptoms and get tested if showing symptoms.

 

COVIDSafe Plans

Please review your COVIDSafe plan in light of changes to current restrictions. 

The Victorian Government is offering a free, confidential review of your COVIDSafe Plan by professional services firm, Ernst & Young (EY). The review will help to ensure your plan reflects the current COVIDSafe Settings. EY professionals will consider all relevant information, identify any gaps and provide advice on how the plan is being implemented.  

To book a review, email covidsafeplanreview@djpr.vic.gov.au with your business name, a contact name and phone number.

The church as a workplace also includes “ceremonies held in other locations e.g. homes, gardens and community venues”. Please ensure that you have included these locations in your COVIDSafe Plan if running ceremonies (e.g. communion or baptisms) offsite. (Source

 

Cross-border Communities

If your church or agency is on a Victorian border, please visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/interstate-travel for more information about conditions in other states.

 

Baptisms

The church as a workplace also includes “ceremonies held in other locations e.g. homes, gardens and community venues”. Please ensure that you have included these locations in your COVIDSafe Plan if running ceremonies (e.g. baptisms) offsite. 

CCVT recommends baptisms be conducted by a member of the same household as keeping 1.5m distance is not required for members of the same household. 

It is recommended that you do not baptise multiple people in same enclosed water e.g. baptismal bath. 

Masks are useless and dangerous when wet – do not baptise while face is covered – remove beforehand and replace with new mask immediately after.

 

Tithes and Offerings

Encourage online giving or direct bank transfer. 

Avoid passing the offering bowls/bags/buckets. Position bowls/buckets in convenient places, so people can leave their offerings without touching them.

Provide offering volunteers (counting and recording) with hand sanitizer and gloves. Make sure counters maintain a distance of 1.5m from each other.

 

Singing

Singing is allowed at places of worship in Victoria. Masks are recommended. If the singing is indoors, the indoor venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows and doors are opened if safe to do so. Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces as this is just circulating the existing air, not bringing in fresh air.

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal, it is recommended that you keep at least two metres from other people in the rehearsal. Performers are also recommended to keep five metres away from the audience. 

 

Food/Beverage 

Due to the risks of COVID-19, food, drinks, crockery, utensils and vessels (such as spoons and cups) or other communal equipment should not be shared by attendees. However, this is permitted under current COVIDSafe Settings. (Source)

Please be proactive about eliminating or minimising the number of items such as spoons or jugs that are touched or used by multiple people.

Good food safety measures are recommended, such as wearing masks when not eating or drinking, providing single use cutlery, having designated servers make tea/coffee.

If food or drinks is to be shared, servers should wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser after handling used crockery and cutlery. All communal equipment should be thoroughly cleaned between uses.

Consider spacing of chairs, tables and serving areas so that crowds don’t gather or bottle neck unnecessarily – provide room for social distancing.  

Consider BYO, multiple food/beverage stations, or make the most of the summer weather by relocating outdoors! 

 

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. 

Minimise contact by having designated collection and disposal stations or have only designated people serve and collect back communion cups (no handing them all to the end of the row).

Consider double cupping your communion, having covid safe servers or using prefilled communion cups

 

Hall Hire and tenants

Many Affiliates operate at venues that are used as a place of worship by churches and by community groups for non-religious purposes. They also hire out to other organisations.

It is the responsibility of the hall hirer/tenant to ensure that their workers and attendees meet any COVIDSafe requirements. 

The COVIDSafe Settings that apply to the venue type apply, regardless of the activity taking place. However, both should familiarise themselves with the sector-specific COVIDSafe Settings relevant to the activity taking place and apply those settings where possible. 

Your COVIDSafe Plan should clarify who is responsible for cleaning and how often (e.g. after every event) and be in line with the relevant settings.

 

Ventilation and cleaning

It is recommended that organisations open windows and outside doors where possible to maximise ventilation to improve indoor air quality

Reduce or eliminate recirculated air and increase the use of outdoor air where possible. Work with your building owner or manager to improve ventilation where possible.

Shared and public spaces should be regularly cleaned to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. 

Cleaning information for businesses, managers and cleaners is available at: COVID-19 cleaning guidelines for workplaces. 

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

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STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA UPDATE:

MASKS:

From 11:59pm tonight, 23 December 2021, face masks will return indoors (except in the home) for people aged 8 years old and over. 

Face masks are no longer required outdoors but are strongly recommended if you can’t physically distance, have any symptoms, or if you are with people who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.

As always, there are exceptions, but other precautions should be increased where possible when not wearing a mask.

PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR GATHERINGS:

The Department has also published COVIDSafe advice for hosts and attendees of household Christmas parties at COVIDSafe gatherings.  Even though churches and agencies are considered a workplace, much of the advice is helpful to our church family gatherings as well.

THE FOLLOWING COVIDSAFE SETTINGS CONTINUE TO APPLY TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITY AND WORKPLACES SAFE:  

  • check in everywhere, every time, on the QR code 
  • review and update your COVIDSafe Plan regularly to make sure you comply with current requirements, and always keep a copy onsite  
  • notify the Department of Health and WorkSafe if you have a confirmed case in the workplace.   

Those who want to be as COVIDSafe as possible are strongly encouraged to work from home. 

For more information on how to keep your workplace safe this holiday season, visit COVIDSafe workplaces.

ADVICE FOR CASES AND CONTACTS:

Helpful information is available online for cases and household, social, workplace, education, and other contacts.

See the checklists available for support and guidance, particularly if a church or agency becomes aware that a positive case was on site.

NOT SURE ABOUT SOMETHING?

If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Hotline on 1800 675 398 or go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au. For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings

Please note that the CCVT office will be closed between 24 December and 3 January and staff will not be available to assist with COVID related enquiries during this time.  

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

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TASMANIA UPDATE:

From Tuesday 21 December 2021 face masks must be worn by everyone aged 12 and over when in public indoor settings in Tasmania.

This requirement applies to all our churches, church offices, church halls, op shops, cafes, and other buildings to which the public have access. It does not apply to private residences (e.g. the manse).

The following exceptions are likely to be relevant for our work:

  • When at home or visiting someone else in their home.
  • Outdoors, unless attending a large event (over 1000 participants). Outdoor church events are likely to be unaffected by the mandate. Please note that public health authorities continue to recommend mask wearing outdoors, especially if physical distancing is impracticable.
  • Working, volunteering, or studying alone in an indoor space and there is no one else in that space - you must put on a mask if another person enters the space. This will be relevant to our office spaces.
  • Consuming food or drink but replace your mask as soon as you are finished. Relevant for the practicalities of receiving communion and/or enjoying morning tea after a service.
  • Clear enunciation, or visibility of the mouth, if essential as part of your employment or training. This will be highly relevant to those who need to speak in church (preaching, reading scripture etc). Those who lead the singing (including in a choir) will likewise be able to remove their masks during the singing if required. Remember to observe physical distancing. Congregation members must sing with a mask on.
  • Children aged under 12.
  • Those with an exemption from a doctor or the Director of Public Health.

The onus to wear a mask is on the individual, not the organisation. You should publicise the requirement to wear a mask (poster resources are available here) and remind people where necessary. However, you are not required to police mask requirements.

For more information on the mask wearing requirement, please see Mandatory mask wearing in public.

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN TASMANIA:

Please see below for how the relevant restrictions affect your church or agency. Please note that this advice remains subject to change.  

If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or go to www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au.

 

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS FOR TASMANIA from 21 DEC 2021

 

Religious Gatherings

(e.g. worship services, weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies such as communion or baptism, life groups, prayer groups, pastoral care, private prayer, kids’ ministry, PlaygroupChristian Playgroup, youth group, members meetings, essential support groups e.g. AA or NA, and essential support services e.g. food banks)

Under the Tasmanian Events Framework, most of our Affiliates operate as either “Small gatherings (outside the Events Framework)” or “Tier 1”.

Small Gatherings: 

Indoor events up to 250 people

Outdoor events up to 500 people 

Requirements:

  • Capacity is capped at the density limit of 1 person per 2 square meters or the 250/500 people limit, whichever is lower. 
  • No application or approval required under the Events Framework, refer to Safe Workplaces Framework
  • Staff, clergy, church attendants, choir members and anyone assisting with or performing the service are not included in the 250 person limit.
  • For venues with multiple indoors spaces, the 250 people indoor gathering cap applies separately to each single undivided space indoors.
  • At venues with seating where more than 250 people will be attending but will be seated most of the time, the maximum number of attendees may be up to 100% of seating capacity but is still capped at 1 person per 2 square meters.
  • In unseated areas, such as a foyer, a maximum of one person per two square metres of floor space is allowed.
  • For gatherings at a private property a limit of 100 people applies. Refer to gatherings, density, and physical distancing.

 

Tier 1:

Indoor events of 251 to 2000 people

Outdoor events of 501 to 2000 people

Requirements:

Note: Density limits do not apply to premises that deliver services and support to disadvantaged community members e.g. those providing homeless accommodation, boarding houses, emergency/social housing, child safety services, foodbanks, employment services, and migrant and refugee assistance.

Please see the attached Events Framework Guidelines for more information.

 
 
 

Visiting a hospital

Visitors are only allowed at hospitals for very limited reasons. 

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility before attending, as they may have their own additional requirements regarding time limits and vaccination.

 

Visiting a care facility

Visitors are only allowed at care facilities for very limited reasons. 

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility before attending, as they may have their own additional requirements regarding time limits and vaccination.

 

Face Masks

Face masks are now required in most indoor spaces and are strongly recommended outdoors and in private homes if you can’t physically distance or if you are with people who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.

You must wear a face mask in the following situations unless exceptions or exemptions apply:

  • Workplaces
  • Education settings
  • Businesses, shops, and accommodation
  • Service providers and community venues such as churches 
  • Public transport
  • Hospitals and aged care
  • Airports, aircraft, and Spirit of Tasmania
  • Outdoor events with more than 1000 patrons
  • Indoors at weddings and funerals
 

Contact Tracing

Now more than ever it is important that quick and accurate contact tracing can occur when there is a known exposure.

Under the Contact tracing direction, all staff and visitors aged 16+ are required to use the Check in TAS app when they visit a range of businesses, organisations, and events, including retail, hospitality, places of worship and places used for religious gatherings and services, including those used for weddings or funerals.

All Affiliates must be registered for the QR Code Service and ensure all attendees check in when on site.

All Affiliates must have someone 

People may choose to use alternative check in options such as getting other members of their group to check them in or using pen and paper option.

 

Resources

Factsheets, signage, and posters are available to help inform people about COVID-19 requirements and best practice. They cover hygiene and changes to business operations due to COVID-19. It is important that you clearly display these at all entrances and throughout to your property so that people are aware of their obligations. 

 

Responding to a confirmed case

You must respond quickly to limit further exposure and contain potential outbreaks. 

Don’t panic – help is available, just follow the process outlined on Responding to a case or outbreak in your workplace or business.

Please see the cleaning guidelines for advice on cleaning practices, especially after a positive case has been on site.

 

COVID-19 Safety Plans

All businesses and organisations should have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that demonstrates compliance with the minimum COVID-19 standards and how you are keeping your customers, your workers, and your community safe. 

Please review your COVID-19 Safety Plan in light of changes to current restrictions. 

 

Baptisms

The church as a workplace also includes ceremonies held in other locations e.g. homes, gardens, and community venues. Please ensure that you have included these locations in your COVIDSafe Plan if running ceremonies (e.g. baptisms) offsite. 

CCVT recommends baptisms be conducted by a member of the same household as keeping 1.5m distance is not required for members of the same household. 

It is recommended that you do not baptise multiple people in same enclosed water e.g. baptismal bath. 

Masks are useless and dangerous when wet – do not baptise while face is covered – remove beforehand and replace with new mask immediately after.

 

Tithes and Offerings

Encourage online giving or direct bank transfer. 

Avoid passing the offering bowls/bags/buckets. Position bowls/buckets in convenient places, so people can leave their offerings without touching them.

Provide offering volunteers (counting and recording) with hand sanitizer and gloves. Make sure counters maintain a distance of 1.5m from each other.

 

Singing

Singing is allowed at places of worship in Tasmania.

Masks are required to be worn by the congregation, but the leader can remove their mask temporarily if required to communicate with a person who is deaf, or has impaired hearing, and visibility of the mouth is essential for the communication.

If the singing is indoors, the indoor venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows and doors are opened if safe to do so. Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces as this is just circulating the existing air, not bringing in fresh air.

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal, it is recommended that you keep at least two metres from other people in the rehearsal. Performers are also recommended to keep five metres away from the audience. 

 

Food/Beverage 

Masks may be removed for eating and drinking but should be put back on immediately afterwards.

Reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by eliminating or minimising the number of items such as plates, cutlery, or jugs that are touched/used by multiple people.

Good food safety measures are recommended, such as wearing masks when not eating or drinking, providing single use cutlery, having designated servers make tea/coffee.

Please be proactive about the spacing of chairs, tables and serving areas so that crowds don’t gather or bottle neck unnecessarily – provide room for social distancing.  

 

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. 

Masks may be removed for taking communion but should be put back on immediately afterwards.

Minimise contact by having only designated people serve and collect back communion cups (no handing them all to the end of the row) or provide bins for collection of used cups. 

Consider double cupping your communion, having covid safe servers or using prefilled communion cups

 

Hall Hire and tenants

Many Affiliates operate at venues that are used as a place of worship by churches and by community groups for non-religious purposes. They also hire out to other organisations.

It is the responsibility of the hall hirer/tenant to ensure that their workers and attendees meet any COVIDSafe requirements. 

Your COVIDSafe Plan should clarify who is responsible for cleaning and how often (e.g. after every event).

 

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