COVID-19

For further updates, see the Churches of Christ Vic/Tas Facebook page as well as the Generations Churches of Christ Vic/Tas Facebook page for Kids, Youth and Young Adults Leaders.

Are we missing something? 

This page is updated regularly. Please alert Kylie Kendall to important links or resources we may be missing. 

Updates


VICTORIA UPDATE:

Lockdown restrictions have now been lifted in most of regional Victoria from 11.59pm Thursday 9 September 2021. 

Restrictions remain the same for Metropolitan Melbourne and Greater Shepparton except for a small change that allows children of single parents to access childcare.                

The following information is based on the attached Table of Restrictions, the Restricted Activity Directions (Regional Victoria) (No 8) which applies to regional Victoria, and the Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 15) which applies to metropolitan Melbourne and Shepparton.

The link takes you to the source document online, and in the attached versions I have highlighted the most relevant parts for churches and agencies.

As always, if you are unsure of how the current restrictions apply to you, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Hotline on 1800 675 398. For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings.

REGIONAL VICTORIA UPDATE:

  • No stay at home requirement
  • Removal of 5km travel limit
  • Private gatherings in the home are not permitted
  • You can see friends and family outdoors in a public place in a group of up to 10 people who live in regional Victoria (a public place is an area accessible by members of the public like a park or the beach - it does not include your front yard, backyard or any other outdoor areas in your home)
  • You can still visit and be visited by your intimate partner or nominated person if you are in a single social bubble
  • No curfew
  • Travel across regional Victoria is permitted
  • Travel to metro Melbourne restricted except for permitted reasons
  • Authorised Worker list will no longer apply
  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies permitted with up to 20 persons per venue (and those workers necessary to conduct the ceremony)
  • Funerals (indoor and outdoor) permitted with no more than 20 people (and those workers necessary to conduct the funeral)
  • Weddings (indoor and outdoor) permitted with no more than 10 people (and those workers necessary to conduct the wedding)

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN REGIONAL VICTORIA (EXCEPT SHEPPARTON):

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 Hotline on 1800 675 398. For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-live-information-regional-victoria.

 

RESTRICTIONS FOR REGIONAL VICTORIA (EXCEPT SHEPPARTON) FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 2021

Religious Gatherings

Religious gatherings at a Place of Worship can be held with no more than 20 people at the venue and a density limit of 1 person per 4 square metres. 

Those workers necessary to conduct the ceremony are not included in the cap.

These limits are across the whole venue; indoors and outdoors combined.

COVID Check-in marshal is required whenever the facility is operational.

Broadcast Teams

Due to the capacity limit for venues, many churches will continue to record or livestream a service.  Now with a small audience!

The capacity limit does not include “those workers necessary to conduct the ceremony” - effectively this means your Broadcast Team. 

All attendees on-site (including Broadcast Team members) must check-in to the QR code, wear masks, adhere to social distancing, and ensure that cleaning requirements are adhered to as per your COVIDSafe Plan.

For the person who is speaking on camera, masks can be removed temporarily under the following exemption: “Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or live broadcasting”.

Workers

If you can work from home, you should work from home.

Office workers will be able to return up to 25% or up to 10 people, whichever is greater.

Density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm applies.

The Authorized Worker Permit requirements no longer apply.

NSW/VIC cross-border areas

If your church or agency is in the NSW/Victoria cross-border area visit Information for cross border communities for more information about conditions on entering or re-entering Victoria.

Travelling to Regional Victoria for work

Travel between Regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne is restricted. 

If you cannot work from home, you can only travel to regional Victoria from metropolitan Melbourne if you are an Authorised Worker or work for an Authorised Provider. You will still need an Authorised Worker Permit. Any existing permits issued by your employer continue to be valid.

Melbourne or Shepparton based Ministers doing guest preaching, conducting weddings, conducting funerals, or doing end of life pastoral visitation in regional Victoria should seek advice on a case by case basis before travelling as in some instances you take restrictions with you.  

Weddings

Indoor and outdoor weddings held at venues are limited to up to 10 people, including the couple and two witnesses. 

This limit does not include the celebrant, one photographer, or infants under 12 months.

A person from metropolitan Melbourne or Greater Shepparton can only attend a wedding in regional Victoria held for end of life or exceptional reasons and only involving 5 people: the marrying couple, a celebrant, and two witnesses.

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 20 mourners plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. 

Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Stricter limits will be in place for funerals with people from Melbourne in attendance.

Pastoral visitation in private homes

Ministers can only visit someone in their home for end-of-life pastoral care as private gatherings in homes are not permitted. 

Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to meet outside the home for pastoral care, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. 

If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

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.

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness 

Essential public support services such as food banks or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

Only members of the public receiving this service and those conducting it can be present.  Density limits do not apply.

Essential Support Groups

Essential Support Groups such as AA are permitted in line with “religious gatherings”.

Property Maintenance and Security 

Permitted

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- seated service is capped at 20 patrons outdoors and 10 patrons indoors subject to density limit of 1 person per 4 square metres

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service

- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

Restaurants and cafes are required to request that patrons check in using the Service Victoria app and confirm a person is not a resident of metropolitan Melbourne or Greater Shepparton.

Groups should be spaced 1.5 metres from one another.

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

Face masks are a requirement for everyone aged 12 years and older.

Face masks are now recommended for primary aged children also (see table of restrictions). 

Singing

Singing is allowed at places of worship. Masks must be worn. If the singing is indoors, the indoor venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened. Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces. 

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. 

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.

Signs, Posters, and Templates

A collection of resources 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.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate that is still running a permitted activity (such as Broadcasting) must have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan. 

Playgrounds

The recent opening up of playgrounds applies only to playgrounds in a public park accessible by members of the public.

For Affiliates who may have playgrounds on their property, the venue cap of 20 people applies.  

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

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METRO MELBOURNE AND SHEPPARTON UPDATE:

Curfew, Authorised Worker Permits and Stay at home restrictions still apply.

Stay at Home unless:

  • shopping for necessary goods and services (one person per household, once per day, a support person can accompany if required)
  • caregiving or compassionate reasons
  • authorised work or permitted education, or work interstate
  • exercise (up to two hours, with one other person plus dependants if they cannot be left unattended. The other person can be from another household)
  • receive a COVID-19 vaccination
  • other specified reasons (specific exemptions apply)

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN METRO MELBOURNE AND SHEPPARTON:

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 Hotline on 1800 675 398. For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings.

 

RESTRICTIONS FOR METRO MELBOURNE AND SHEPPARTON FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 2021

Religious Gatherings

No in-person religious gatherings permitted at Place of Worship or in private home (indoors or outdoors).

Broadcast Teams

Broadcast Teams may attend a Place of Worship to record or livestream a service.  Broadcast Teams should consist of only the minimum number required and are limited to a maximum of 5 people. A Broadcast Team must consist of the same people each time that team meets together.

It is allowable to have multiple teams, as long as those teams do not overlap or have any common members. Each team only meets with the same people each time. If a team member is unable to attend, they cannot be replaced with a new person. This means you either run with the reduced team or use the alternate team. This is in line with the workforce bubbles in other industries.

For example: 

1. A church hosts an English congregation and a Mandarin congregation. Each congregation may use its own team of 5 people to broadcast a service in its language. 

2. A church alternates between two separate Broadcast Teams. This way, each team gets a break every other week.

3. A church has a broadcast team of 5 people to pre-record segments for use in online services. The church has a completely separate Broadcast Team that livestreams on Sunday mornings. The two teams do not have any common members.

(Source: Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions 03/09/2021– please note this advice is subject to change as further advice becomes available online or in revised Directions. If in doubt, please seek advice directly).

All Broadcast Team members (paid or volunteer) should be issued with a Worker Permit as they are considered Authorised Workers for this purpose.

Check-in, masks, social distancing, and cleaning requirements must be adhered to by each Team – please update your COVIDSafe Plan.

For the person who is speaking on camera, masks can be removed temporarily under the following exemption: “Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or live broadcasting”.

Workers and

Authorised Worker Permit

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

You can go to work to collect the materials or equipment you need to work from home, but you cannot remain at the premises.

The following are the most common examples of Authorised Workers in a church context. They are authorised only for doing the Permitted Work where it cannot be done from home.

  • Minister: as marriage celebrant, officiating at a funeral, broadcasting, permitted end of life pastoral care visitation
  • Broadcast Team member: attending church property for recording/livestreaming church services
  • Essential Services: staff or volunteers operating foodbanks or providing essential services to the homeless

A full list of who is considered an authorised provider or an authorised worker is available online.

All Authorised Workers must carry a permit that is certified by their employer whenever they are travelling to work and attending work. This is required from 11:59pm on Tuesday 17 August. (Applies to paid staff and volunteers).

If you are an authorised worker with a permit, you must carry your permit and photo ID with you at all times when travelling for authorised work. 

The 5km radius restriction and the curfew does not apply to those undertaking authorised work.  

An adult can transport an authorised worker to and from their place of work without a worker permit, if the worker is their dependant or a person they live with.

Download the Authorised Worker permit here or see the attached template in Word and PDF.

Weddings

Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Not permitted unless end of life or for deportation reasons. 

Limit of 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, 2 witnesses).

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 10 mourners plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. 

Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Pastoral visitation in private homes

Ministers can only visit someone in their home for end-of-life pastoral care. The Minister must have a Workers Permit.

If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Private gatherings in homes are not permitted. Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to meet outside the home for pastoral care, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. 

Pastoral visitation in hospital

Visitors are only allowed at hospitals for very limited reasons. Ministers must have a Workers Permit.

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. Ministers must have a Workers Permit.

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

Travelling to Regional Victoria for work

Travel between Regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne is restricted. 

If you cannot work from home, you can only travel to regional Victoria from metropolitan Melbourne if you are an Authorised Worker or work for an Authorised Provider. You will still need an Authorised Worker Permit. Any existing permits issued by your employer continue to be valid.

Melbourne or Shepparton based Ministers doing guest preaching, conducting weddings, conducting funerals, or doing end of life pastoral visitation in regional Victoria should seek advice on a case by case basis before travelling as in some instances you take restrictions with you.  

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness 

Essential public support services such as food banks or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

Maximum of 10 people at any one time plus the minimum number of people required to provide the essential service.

Essential Support Groups

In person Essential Support Groups such as AA are not permitted. Online only.

Property Maintenance and Security see item 6 (2)

A person may attend the premises with a Work Permit: 

(a) for the purpose of essential (critical) maintenance; or 

(b) to ensure that the premises is closed safely for the duration of the restricted activity period; 

Picking up church mail

A person may attend the property to pick up mail. A Work Permit is required for this task and the person is not to stay at the property.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or

- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

Face masks are a requirement for everyone aged 12 years and older.

Face masks are now recommended for primary aged children also (see table of restrictions). 

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure all attendees check in when on site, including Broadcast Teams while in lockdown. A full step-by-step guide on how to use the free Victorian Government QR Code Check-in System is available here.

Signs, Posters, and Templates

A collection of resources 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.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate that is still running a permitted activity (such as Broadcasting) must have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan. 

Playgrounds

The recent opening up of playgrounds applies only to playgrounds in a public park accessible by members of the public.

This does NOT include Affiliates who may have playgrounds on their property. Playgrounds are NOT an allowable activity for Places of Worship under the current restrictions. 

Please ensure that any gates are locked, and that relevant signage is displayed saying that the playground on your property is closed.  

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: (YEP, WE DESERVE ONE EACH) 

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STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA UPDATE:

In a statement by the Premier this week, it was announced that due to the ongoing level of community transmission and the continued number of unlinked cases popping up across the state, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has declared that almost all of the current lockdown restrictions will remain in place until 70% of Victorians have had at least one dose of vaccine.  This is estimated to be around 23 September 2021. 

Until then there will still be only five reasons to leave home:
1. shopping for food and supplies
2. authorised work and study
3. care and caregiving
4. exercise
5. getting vaccinated

Other restrictions will mostly stay the same although from 11.59pm on Thursday 2 September 2021 there were some small changes. Public playgrounds re-opened with strict rules to keep everyone safe and in-home care was expanded to school aged children but only if both parents are authorised workers. Further information about the easing of restrictions when 70% of Victorians have had at least one vaccine dose is available at Slowing the spread and keeping our state safe.

While there hasn’t been any significant changes to how restrictions impact Affiliates since our last update, I have attached the most current Restricted Activity Directions - Victoria (No 27) issued by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer for those who like to read them.  The link takes you to the source document online, and in the attached version I have highlighted the most relevant parts for churches and agencies.

ANSWERS TO SOME COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

I have also collected some answers to commonly asked questions and clarified some contradictory information received from the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline (including yet another update regarding broadcast teams).  

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

1. CAN OUR CHURCH HAVE MORE THAN ONE BROADCAST TEAM?

What a week! First it was yes, then no, then no but with different conditions, and as of this morning it is yes again!

Advice received this morning from the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions was that places of worship CAN have separate broadcast teams (worker bubbles) as long as there is no overlap between teams. These teams must be separated by time and space, which means not being on site at the same time, and not sharing any people across teams.  If one member of a team is sick, then the whole team gets replaced by a new team.  This will allow for Affiliates to alternate complete teams or to have a separate team for broadcasting in a different language.

We are awaiting that verbal advice in writing and an update to the vic.gov.au website etc but given the timing of this morning’s advice it was felt that this advice should go out to Affiliates today in time for planning this weekend’s broadcast.

CCVT will continue to submit feedback on this issue to Business Victoria, seeking clarity on website and in the Directions, as well as arguing for multiple teams particularly to address volunteer availability, need for broadcasts in different languages, and practicality. At all times, the health and safety of team members is paramount, and we believe that this structure allows us to achieve a safe balance.   

If you have concerns about the application of this advice, Affiliates are encouraged to seek their own advice and clarity on this issue from the Hotline by calling 1800 675 398.  Please record the reference number of any advice you receive. 

2. IS OUR CHURCH AN ‘AUTHORISED PROVIDER’?

No, a Church as an organisation is not an “Authorised Provider”. This means that your church premises is closed except in a few circumstances.  

Unless the activity is one of these very restricted listed circumstances, you can assume that it is not permitted during the lockdown:

  • Wedding (limit of 5 people)
  • Funeral (limit of 10 people those necessary to conduct the funeral)
  • Broadcasting a religious ceremony (limit of 5 people)
  • Foodbank (limit of 10 people plus those necessary to conduct the foodbank)
  • Help for Homeless people e.g. meals (limit of 10 people plus those necessary to provide the help)

Any other activity, program, service, event, or purpose is not allowed to be conducted unless it can be done by people working from home.

3. IS A MINISTER OR CHURCH WORKER AN ‘AUTHORISED WORKER’?

A Minister or Church Worker (paid or volunteer) is only an Authorised Worker in certain circumstances. They are mostly the same as the permitted activities that churches can provide, but there are a couple of extras.  In all these circumstances, each person should be issued with a Worker Permit.  

  • officiating at a wedding
  • officiating at a funeral
  • broadcasting a religious ceremony
  • conducting a foodbank
  • providing help to the homeless e.g. serving or delivering a meal
  • ministers providing end-of-life pastoral care at a private home or at a hospital/care facility
  • attending the premises to collect material or equipment they require to work from home , including picking up mail
  • attending the premises to attend to essential maintenance 
  • attending the premises to ensure that the premises is closed safely
4. CAN WORKERS ATTEND THE WORKPLACE TO COLLECT MATERIAL OR EQUIPMENT THEY REQUIRE TO WORK FROM HOME?

Yes, workers can collect materials or equipment they require to work from home, but they must not remain at the workplace for any other reason if they are not listed on the Authorised Provider and Authorised Worker List.

Authorised workers are required to carry a valid Authorised Provider and Authorised Worker permit when working, and when travelling for work.

5. WHO SHOULD SIGN A WORKER PERMIT?

The Worker Permit must be signed by the workers themselves and someone else who is authorised to represent the employer who is going to be available to verify that the Permit is legitimate.  For example, the Minister signs the Employee section and the Chair of Board signs the Employer section, or it may be that a broadcasting volunteer signs the Employee section, and the Minister signs the Employer section.  The point is, if the permit needs to be verified, there is someone who is authorised to officially confirm that the employee (paid or volunteer) is conducting a permitted activity on behalf of the church. They must be accountable for the details they provide. The permit can be signed physically or electronically.

For more info: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/authorised-provider-and-authorised-worker-permit

6. HOW DO WE HANDLE IT IF SOMEONE REFUSES TO WEAR A MASK?

You should not turn away a person who may have a lawful reason for not wearing a face mask at venues that require mandatory face masks. 

Even when public health directions require masks to be worn, the Victorian Government’s COVID-Safe advice on face masks explains that businesses should not refuse service to patrons who may have a valid lawful reason for not wearing a mask.  

It is important to remember that the requirement to wear a mask applies to individuals – your organisation is not obliged under the public health directions to enforce any requirement on individuals to wear a mask.

It is important that anyone acting as the Check-in Marshal knows what the lawful exemptions are.  If a person says they are exempt, then it should ONLY be for the permitted reasons. No other reasons (i.e. “I don’t want to”) are valid. 

A person who is exempt does not need to provide proof. 

People who are exempt from wearing a mask do still have to adhere to other safety measures such as social distancing, regular hand hygiene, comply with the Directions currently in force, and get tested if unwell, etc.  

Remember that a church isn’t just a place of assembly it is also a workplace, and you have to balance your duty of care to all who cross that threshold. You can promote safety without being discriminatory in some simple ways:

  • Ensure your entry policy recognises and makes adjustments for people with a disability with a lawful reason to not wear a face mask.
  • Change the wording on any posters at the entry. Instead of ‘No mask, no entry’, consider ‘No mask, no entry – unless you have a lawful exemption’.
  • Provide training on your entry policy so that all staff/volunteers treat people with respect and know how to manage people who are not wearing a mask.

If someone refuses to wear a mask for reasons other than the allowed exemptions, or refuses to adhere to other safety protocols, then it is worth escalating the issue to the senior leaders of the church who have the ultimate responsibility for risk management. A respectful and pastoral conversation may be helpful.

For more info: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-work-current-restrictions#frequently-asked-questions and www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/face-masks-when-wear-face-mask and www.humanrights.vic.gov.au/resources/retailers-guide-face-masks-and-discrimination

7. HOW DO WE HANDLE IT IF SOMEONE REFUSES TO CHECK IN?

Every business must use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service to check-in customers, workers and visitors, with some limited exceptions. Every visitor must check-in, no matter how long they remain at the premises. 

If an attendee doesn't want to give their details, a church leader should explain the purpose of keeping records is to help with any future contact tracing that may be necessary in slowing the spread of COVID-19. 

People may be reassured that they are only to give their name and a contact phone number, and that the records will be destroyed after 28 days, once the potential need for contact tracing has passed.

A person can refuse to check in on the QR code, in which case it is recommended to check them in yourself via the kiosk system.

If a business (which includes churches) that is required to keep electronic records is found without the free Service Victoria QR Code app in place, or is not requiring customers to check in, they may be issued with a $1,817 on-the-spot fine for non-compliance, and may be issued with an improvement notice at the same time to ensure the non-compliance is rectified. A business may be prosecuted in court for non-compliance. 

For more info: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/service-victoria-qr-code-app-faqs

8. IS RELIGION A VALID EXEMPTION IN INDUSTRIES WHERE VACCINATION IS MANDATORY?

Yes. The Equal Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination in certain areas of life, including employment and provision of goods and services, based on protected attributes such as disability, pregnancy or religious belief or activity. 

Vaccination status is not a protected attribute under the Equal Opportunity Act. 

However, if an employer makes vaccinations a mandatory condition of employment, or a service provider requires proof of vaccination, this could be discrimination if you cannot be vaccinated due to a disability or other attribute protected under the Equal Opportunity Act and they do not make an exception for you. The circumstances in which you may or may not have grounds for a discrimination claim are outlined on the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights website.

For church members who work in industries that require mandatory vaccination, this is a matter between you and your employer. There is no specific certificate or policy for providing proof of religious affiliation or exemptions. 

For more info: www.humanrights.vic.gov.au/resources/explainer-mandatory-covid-19-vaccinations-and-your-rights

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN VICTORIA:

Please see below for how the relevant restrictions affect your church or agency. 

 

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS FOR VICTORIA

Religious Gatherings

No in-person religious gatherings permitted at Place of Worship or in private home (indoors or outdoors).

Broadcast Teams

Broadcast Teams may attend a Place of Worship to record or livestream a service.  Broadcast Teams should consist of only the minimum number required and are limited to a maximum of 5 people. A Broadcast Team must consist of the same people each time that team meets together.

It is allowable to have multiple teams, as long as those teams do not overlap or have any common members. Each team only meets with the same people each time. If a team member is unable to attend, they cannot be replaced with a new person. This means you either run with the reduced team or use the alternate team. This is in line with the workforce bubbles in other industries.

For example: 

1. A church hosts an English congregation and a Mandarin congregation. Each congregation may use its own team of 5 people to broadcast a service in its language. 

2. A church alternates between two separate Broadcast Teams. This way, each team gets a break every other week.

3. A church has a broadcast team of 5 people to pre-record segments for use in online services. The church has a completely separate Broadcast Team that livestreams on Sunday mornings. The two teams do not have any common members.

(Source: Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions 03/09/2021– please note this advice is subject to change as further advice becomes available online or in revised Directions. If in doubt, please seek advice directly).

All Broadcast Team members (paid or volunteer) should be issued with a Worker Permit as they are considered Authorised Workers for this purpose.

Check-in, masks, social distancing, and cleaning requirements must be adhered to by each Team – please update your COVIDSafe Plan.

For the person who is speaking on camera, masks can be removed temporarily under the following exemption: “Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or live broadcasting”.

Workers and 

Authorised Worker Permit

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

You can go to work to collect the materials or equipment you need to work from home, but you cannot remain at the premises.

The following are the most common examples of Authorised Workers in a church context. They are authorised only for doing the Permitted Work where it cannot be done from home.

  • Minister: as marriage celebrant, officiating at a funeral, broadcasting, permitted end of life pastoral care visitation
  • Broadcast Team member: attending church property for recording/livestreaming church services
  • Essential Services: staff or volunteers operating foodbanks or providing essential services to the homeless

A full list of who is considered an authorised provider or an authorised worker is available online.

All Authorised Workers must carry a permit that is certified by their employer whenever they are travelling to work and attending work. This is required from 11:59pm on Tuesday 17 August. (Applies to paid staff and volunteers).

If you are an authorised worker with a permit, you must carry your permit and photo ID with you at all times when travelling for authorised work. 

The 5km radius restriction and the curfew does not apply to those undertaking authorised work.  

An adult can transport an authorised worker to and from their place of work without a worker permit, if the worker is their dependant or a person they live with.

Download the Authorised Worker permit here or see the attached template in Word and PDF.

Weddings

Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Not permitted unless end of life or for deportation reasons. 

Limit of 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, 2 witnesses).

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 10 mourners plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. 

Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Pastoral visitation in private homes

Ministers can only visit someone in their home for end-of-life pastoral care. The Minister must have a Workers Permit.

If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Private gatherings in homes are not permitted. Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to meet outside the home for pastoral care, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. 

Pastoral visitation in hospital

Visitors are only allowed at hospitals for very limited reasons. Ministers must have a Workers Permit.

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. Ministers must have a Workers Permit.

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

Travel between RV and MM

Travel between Regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne is limited. You may only travel for authorised purposes and must have a Work Permit if doing so for work purposes. Guest preaching in person should be avoided due to the need for Broadcast Teams to be made up of the same 5 people each time.

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness 

Essential public support services such as food banks or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

Maximum of 10 people at any one time plus the minimum number of people required to provide the essential service.

Essential Support Groups

In person Essential Support Groups such as AA are not permitted. Online only.

Property Maintenance and Security – see item 6 (2)

A person may attend the premises with a Work Permit: 

(a) for the purpose of essential (critical) maintenance; or 

(b) to ensure that the premises is closed safely for the duration of the restricted activity period; 

Picking up church mail

A person may attend the property to pick up mail. A Work Permit is required for this task and the person is not to stay at the property.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or

- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

Face masks are a requirement for everyone aged 12 years and older.

Face masks are now recommended for primary aged children also (see table of restrictions). 

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure all attendees check in when on site, including Broadcast Teams while in lockdown. A full step-by-step guide on how to use the free Victorian Government QR Code Check-in System is available here.

Signs, Posters, and Templates

A collection of resources 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.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate that is still running a permitted activity (such as Broadcasting) must have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan

Playgrounds

The recent opening up of playgrounds applies only to playgrounds in a public park accessible by members of the public.

This does NOT include Affiliates who may have playgrounds on their property. Playgrounds are NOT an allowable activity for Places of Worship under the current restrictions. 

Please ensure that any gates are locked, and that relevant signage is displayed saying that the playground on your property is closed.  

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

LockdownsUntilChristmas-sm.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA UPDATE:

Lockdown restrictions in Victoria have now changed for Regional Victoria and Metro Melbourne.  The current restrictions will remain in place until at least 11:59pm on Thursday 2 September 2021.  

Please see below for how the relevant restrictions affect your church or agency. 

Sources for the following information is based on the Table of Restrictions, the Statement from the Premier, the Restricted Activity Directions - Victoria (No 24), and the advice received under previous lockdowns.

Please note that this advice remains subject to change.  If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings (please note that the web pages are slow to update so may not reflect the most recent changes yet).

QUICK SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT CHANGES:

  • Regional Victoria is now under the same lockdown restrictions as Metro Melbourne (except for the curfew).
  • There are only 5 reasons to leave home.
  • A 5km radius applies to leaving your home except for authorised work and caregiving purposes.
  • Authorised Workers must now carry a Worker Permit from their employer.
  • No in-person religious gatherings.
  • Broadcasting Teams are permitted but must consist of the same 5 people each time that team meets.
  • Curfew applies in Metropolitan Melbourne only: From 9pm to 5am, a person is not permitted to leave their home except for limited reasons.

5 REASONS TO LEAVE HOME: 

  1. Food and supplies (within 5km radius of your home (or nearest) and limited to one person per day, per household) 
  2. Authorised work (5km radius does not apply to work) but you will require a Worker Permit
  3. Care and caregiving
  4. Exercise (for up to 2 hours, with one other person, and within 5km radius of your home)
  5. To get vaccinated

9PM TO 5AM CURFEW (FOR METRO MELBOURNE ONLY):

A stay-at-home curfew is now in place. Between 9:00pm and 5:00am, you cannot leave your home (or the home of your intimate partner or bubble buddy) other than for limited reasons, including:

  • authorised work
  • health and medical purposes
  • care and support of a child or someone with special needs
  • in an emergency or to escape harm

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN VICTORIA:

Please see below for how the relevant restrictions affect your church or agency. 

 

CURRENT FOR METRO MELBOURNE:
11.59PM MON 16 AUG 2021 - 11.59PM THURS 2 SEPT 2021

CURRENT FOR REGIONAL VICTORIA:
1.00PM SAT 21 AUG 2021 - 11.59PM THURS 2 SEPT 2021

Religious Gatherings

No in-person religious gatherings permitted at Place of Worship or in private home (indoors or outdoors).

Broadcast Teams

Broadcast Teams may attend a Place of Worship to record or livestream a service.  Broadcast Teams should consist of only the minimum number required and are limited to a maximum of 5 people. A Broadcast Team must consist of the same people each time they meet together.

It is allowable to have multiple teams, as long as those teams do not overlap or have any common members. Each team only meets with the same people each time.

For example: 

1. A church hosts an English congregation and a Mandarin congregation. Each congregation may use its own team of 5 people to broadcast a service in its language. 

2. A church alternates between two separate Broadcast Teams. This way, each team gets a break every other week.

3. A church has a broadcast team of 5 people to pre-record segments for use in online services. The church has a completely separate Broadcast Team that livestreams on Sunday mornings. The two teams do not have any common members.

(Source: COVID Hotline advice obtained 17/8/21 – please note this advice is subject to change as further advice becomes available online or in revised Directions. If in doubt, please seek advice directly).

All Broadcast Team members (paid or volunteer) should be issued with a Worker Permit as they are considered Authorised Workers for this purpose.

Check-in, masks, social distancing, and cleaning requirements must be adhered to by each Team – please update your COVIDSafe Plan.

For the person who is speaking on camera, masks can be removed temporarily under the following exemption: “Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or live broadcasting”.

Workers and 

Authorised Worker Permit

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

You can go to work to collect the materials or equipment you need to work from home, but you cannot remain at the premises.

The following are the most common examples of Authorised Workers in a church context. They are authorised only for doing the Permitted Work where it cannot be done from home.

  • Minister: as marriage celebrant, officiating at a funeral, broadcasting, permitted end of life pastoral care visitation
  • Broadcast Team member: attending church property for recording/livestreaming church services
  • Essential Services: staff or volunteers operating foodbanks or providing essential services to the homeless

A full list of who is considered an authorised provider or an authorised worker is available online.

All Authorised Workers must carry a permit that is certified by their employer whenever they are travelling to work and attending work. This is required from 11:59pm on Tuesday 17 August. (Applies to paid staff and volunteers).

If you are an authorised worker with a permit, you must carry your permit and photo ID with you at all times when travelling for authorised work. 

The 5km radius restriction and the curfew does not apply to those undertaking authorised work.  

An adult can transport an authorised worker to and from their place of work without a worker permit, if the worker is their dependant or a person they live with.

Download the Authorised Worker permit here or see the attached template in Word and PDF.

Weddings

Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Not permitted unless end of life or for deportation reasons. 

Limit of 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, 2 witnesses).

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 10 mourners plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. 

Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Pastoral visitation in private homes

Ministers can only visit someone in their home for end-of-life pastoral care. The Minister must have a Workers Permit.

If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Private gatherings in homes are not permitted. Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to meet outside the home for pastoral care, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. 

Pastoral visitation in hospital

Visitors are only allowed at hospitals for very limited reasons. Ministers must have a Workers Permit.

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. Ministers must have a Workers Permit.

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

Travel between RV and MM

Travel between Regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne is limited. You may only travel for authorised purposes and must have a Work Permit if doing so for work purposes. Guest preaching in person should be avoided due to the need for Broadcast Teams to be made up of the same 5 people each time.

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness 

Essential public support services such as food banks or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

Maximum of 10 people at any one time plus the minimum number of people required to provide the essential service.

Essential Support Groups

In person Essential Support Groups such as AA are not permitted. Online only.

Property Maintenance and Security – see item 6 (2)

A person may attend the premises: 

(a) for the purpose of essential (critical) maintenance; or 

(b) to ensure that the premises is closed safely for the duration of the restricted activity period; 

Picking up church mail

A person may attend the property to pick up mail. A permit is not required for this task, but the person is not to stay at the property.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or

- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

Face masks are a requirement for everyone aged 12 years and older.

Face masks are now recommended for primary aged children also (see table of restrictions). 

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure all attendees check in when on site, including Broadcast Teams while in lockdown. A full step-by-step guide on how to use the free Victorian Government QR Code Check-in System is available here.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate that is still running a permitted activity (such as Broadcasting) must have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

skillsinCOVID.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE:

METRO MELBOURNE UPDATE:

Restrictions across Metropolitan Melbourne have now changed. 

The ones that most affect Affiliates are:

  • From 11:59pm Monday 16 August 2021 a 9pm-5am curfew was introduced, further restricting the reasons a person may leave their home. 
  • From Monday 16 August 2021 the broadcasting teams must consist of the same 5 people each time they meet.
  • From 11:59pm Tuesday 17 August 2021 Authorised Workers must now carry a Worker Permit from their employer. 

The current restrictions will remain in place until at least 11:59pm on Thursday 2 September 2021.  

5 REASONS TO LEAVE HOME: 

  1. Food and supplies (within 5km radius of your home (or nearest) and limited to one person per day, per household) 
  2. Authorised work (5km radius does not apply to work) but you will require a Worker Permit
  3. Care and caregiving
  4. Exercise (for up to 2 hours, with one other person, and within 5km radius of your home)
  5. To get vaccinated

9PM TO 5AM:

A stay-at-home curfew is now in place. Between 9:00pm and 5:00am, you cannot leave your home (or the home of your intimate partner or bubble buddy) other than for limited reasons, including:

  • authorised work
  • health and medical purposes
  • care and support of a child or someone with special needs
  • in an emergency or to escape harm

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN METRO MELBOURNE:

Please see below for how the relevant restrictions affect your church or agency. 

Sources for the following is based on the Table of Restrictionsthe Restricted Activity Directions (Metro Melb) (No 9)and the advice previously received under previous lockdowns.  

Please note that this advice remains subject to change.  If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

For more information go to https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings (please note that the web pages are slow to update so may not reflect the most recent changes yet).

 

CURRENT FOR METRO MELBOURNE – 11.59PM MONDAY 16 AUG 2021 UNTIL 11.59PM ON THURSDAY 2 SEPT 2021

Religious Gatherings

No in-person gatherings permitted.

Broadcast Teams

Broadcast Teams are limited to a maximum of 5 people. A team must consist of the same people each time they meet together.

It is allowable to have multiple teams, as long as those teams do not overlap or have any common members. Each team only meets with the same people each time.

For example: 

1. A church hosts an English congregation and a Mandarin congregation. Each congregation may use its own team of 5 people to broadcast a service in its language. 

2. A church alternates between two separate Broadcast Teams. This way, each team gets a break every other week.

3. A church has a broadcast team of 5 people to pre-record segments for use in online services. The church has a completely separate Broadcast Team that livestreams on Sunday mornings. The two teams do not have any common members.

(Source: COVID Hotline advice obtained 17/8/21 – please note this advice is subject to change as further advice becomes available online or in revised Directions. If in doubt, please seek advice directly).

All Broadcast Team members should be issued with a Worker Permit (even if volunteers) as they are considered Authorised Workers for this purpose.

Check-in, masks, social distancing, and cleaning requirements must be adhered to by each Team – please update your COVIDSafe Plan.

For the person who is speaking on camera, masks can be removed temporarily under the following exemption: “Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or live broadcasting”.

Workers and 

Authorised Worker Permit

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

You can go to work to collect the materials or equipment you need to work from home, but you cannot remain at the premises.

The following are the most common examples of Authorised Workers in a church context. They are authorised only for doing the Permitted Work where it cannot be done from home.

  • Minister: as marriage celebrant, officiating at a funeral, broadcasting, permitted end of life pastoral care visitation
  • Broadcast Team member: attending church property for recording/livestreaming church services
  • Essential Services: staff or volunteers operating foodbanks or providing essential services to the homeless

A full list of who is considered an authorised provider or an authorised worker is available online.

All Authorised Workers must carry a permit that is certified by their employer whenever they are travelling to work and attending work. This is required from 11:59pm on Tuesday 17 August. (Applies to paid staff and volunteers).

If you are an authorised worker with a permit, you must carry your permit and photo ID with you at all times when travelling for authorised work. 

The 5km radius restriction and the curfew does not apply to those undertaking authorised work.  

An adult can transport an authorised worker to and from their place of work without a worker permit, if the worker is their dependant or a person they live with.

Download the Authorised Worker permit here or see the attached template in Word and PDF.

Weddings

Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Not permitted unless end of life or for deportation reasons. 

Limit of 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, 2 witnesses).

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 10 mourners plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. 

Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Pastoral visitation in private homes

Ministers can only visit someone in their home for end-of-life pastoral care. The Minister must have a Workers Permit.

If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Private gatherings in homes are not permitted. Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to meet outside the home for pastoral care, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. 

Pastoral visitation in hospital

Visitors are only allowed at hospitals for very limited reasons. Ministers must have a Workers Permit.

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. Ministers must have a Workers Permit.

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

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness 

(see item 12.b)

Essential public support services such as food banks or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

Maximum of 10 people at any one time plus the minimum number of people required to provide the essential service.

Essential Support Groups

Not permitted

Property Maintenance and Security – see item 6 (2)

A person may attend the premises: 

(a) for the purpose of essential (critical) maintenance; or 

(b) to ensure that the premises is closed safely for the duration of the restricted activity period; 

Picking up church mail

A person may attend the property to pick up mail. A permit is not required for this task, but the person is not to stay at the property.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or

- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure attendees check in when on site even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately. 

If attendees can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter attendee names and contact phone numbers electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate that is still running a permitted activity (such as Broadcasting) must have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

Wilson-1.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA UPDATE:

Victoria now has separate restrictions for Regional Victoria and Metro Melbourne.  

Metropolitan Melbourne lockdown has been extended and restrictions will remain in place until at least 11:59pm on Thursday 19 August 2021.

Regional Victoria lockdown restrictions have eased as of 8pm on Monday 9 August 2021.

Please see below for how the relevant restrictions affect your church or agency. 

REGIONAL VICTORIA:

QUICK SUMMARY OF CHANGES:
  • No stay at home requirement
  • Travel permitted in regional Victoria with no limit on the distance you can travel
  • Public gatherings permitted up to a maximum of 10 people
  • Office work permitted up to 25% or a limit of 10 people, whichever is greater
  • Religious facilities: Indoor patron cap of 100 people and outdoor patron cap of 300 people per venue
  • Funerals permitted with a maximum of 50 mourners
  • Weddings permitted with a maximum of 50 people
  • All retail open
  • Food and drink facilities open
SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT REGIONAL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES

Sources for the following is based on the Table of Restrictionsthe Restricted Activity Directions (Regional Vic) (No 7), and the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

Please note that this advice remains subject to change. If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

For more information go to https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings (please note that the web pages are slow to update so may not reflect the most recent changes yet).

 

CURRENT FOR REGIONAL VICTORIA AS OF 8PM ON MONDAY 9 AUGUST 2021

Religious Gatherings

Religious Gatherings permitted with a cap of 300 people per venue (excluding those required to conduct religious ceremonies).

Density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm applies indoors and outdoors.

A venue smaller than 100sqm can have up to 25 people per venue before density quotient applies.

A COVID Check-In Marshal must be present.

You should always keep at least 1.5 metres distance between each other.

People must wear a face mask unless an exception applies. For the person who is speaking/preaching up front, masks can be removed temporarily under the following exemption: “Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or live broadcasting”.

Use of property for non-religious purposes

(scroll to bottom of FAQ page)

If a building is used as a place of worship and by community groups for non-religious purposes, is it a community facility or a place of worship for the purposes of capacity limits?

The relevant capacity limit on a building will generally depend on what it is being used for. When a building is being used for religious activities, it is a place of worship, and the capacity limit for places of worship applies. When a community group uses the same building as a community centre, community hall or youth centre, the building is a community facility. When used as a community facility, the venue may open in line with community facilities capacity limits. For a list of up-to-date restrictions and capacity limits on venues and facilities, please see the restriction table.

Weddings

Weddings permitted at church with up to 50 people, which includes the marrying couple and two witnesses. 

A celebrant, x1 photographer, and infants under 12 months are permitted in addition to this limit.

Funerals

Funerals permitted at church with up to 50 people from Regional Vic.

If anyone from metropolitan Melbourne attends a funeral in regional Victoria, no more than 10 people are allowed to attend.

Those necessary to conduct the funeral and infants under 12 months are permitted in addition to this limit In both cases)

Workers

If you can work from home, you should work from home.

Office work permitted up to 25% or a limit of 10 people, whichever is greater.

Pastoral visitation in private homes

Private gatherings in homes are not permitted. Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to meet outside the home for pastoral care, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. 

If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Pastoral visitation in hospital

Visitors are only allowed at hospitals for very limited reasons and a maximum of 2 visitors at a time (plus dependants).

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 and a maximum of 2 visitors at a time (plus dependants).

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

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness

Essential public support services are permitted. Essential public support services include food banks and help for the homeless.

Only members of the public receiving this service and those conducting it can be present.

Essential Support Groups

Permitted. Density quotient applies.

Property Maintenance and Security 

Permitted. 

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site. These can open but only to the extent that:

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or

- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence); or

- open for seated service only with a maximum patron cap of 100 per venue. Density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies. A venue smaller than 100sqm can have up to 25 people per venue before the density quotient applies.

- COVID Check-in Marshals must ensure attendees check-in.

Face Masks

Face masks must be carried at all times and must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home, or when visiting an intimate partner’s place of residence or if you have a lawful reason not to. 

The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older.

Singing

Singing is allowed at places of worship. Masks must be worn. If the singing is indoors, the indoor venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened. Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces. 

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.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure attendees check in when on site even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately. 

If attendees can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter attendee names and contact phone numbers electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate that is still running a permitted activity must have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan

METRO MELBOURNE:

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN METRO MELBOURNE:

For Metropolitan Melbourne, the lockdown has been extended and restrictions will now remain in place until at least 11:59pm on Thursday 19 August 2021.

Sources for the following is based on the Table of Restrictionsthe Restricted Activity Directions (Metro Melb) (No 7)and the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

Please note that this advice remains subject to change.  If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

For more information go to https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings (please note that the web pages are slow to update so may not reflect the most recent changes yet).

5 REASONS TO LEAVE HOME:

1. Food and supplies (within 5km radius of your home (or nearest) and limited to one person per day, per household) 

2. Authorised work (5km radius does not apply to work) 

3. Care and caregiving

4. Exercise (for up to 2 hours, with one other person, and within 5km radius of your home)

5. To get vaccinated

 

CURRENT FOR METRO MELBOURNE – 8PM THURSDAY 5 AUGUST 2021 TO 11.59PM THURSDAY 19 AUGUST 2021

Religious Gatherings

No in-person gatherings permitted (indoors and outdoors).

Broadcast permitted - maximum of 5 people (this is considered Authorised Work and the 5km radius limit does not apply)

Check-in requirements must be adhered to.

You should always keep at least 1.5 metres distance between each other.

People must wear a face mask unless an exception applies. For the person who is speaking on camera, masks can be removed temporarily under the following exemption: “Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or live broadcasting”.

Weddings

Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Not permitted unless end of life or for deportation reasons. 

Limit of 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, 2 witnesses).

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 10 mourners plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. 

Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Workers

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

The 5km radius restrictions does not apply to those undertaking authorised work.  

See the full Authorised Providers and Authorised Workers List from page 4 of the Table of Restrictions

Note: Church workers aren’t authorised workers except in the following capacity:

- marriage celebrant

- conducting funeral

- faith leaders broadcasting services and ceremonies at places of worship

- organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal, or premises (e.g. foodbanks) 

- care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, family violence, age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition or other essential support services, (e.g. agencies carrying out essential relief activities)

Pastoral visitation in private homes

Private gatherings in homes are not permitted. Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to meet outside the home for pastoral care, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. 

If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

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.

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness 

(see item 12.b)

Essential public support services such as food banks or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

Maximum of 10 people at any one time plus the minimum number of people required to provide the essential service.

Essential Support Groups

Not permitted

Property Maintenance and Security (see item 6)

A person may attend the premises: 

(a) for the purpose of essential (critical) maintenance; or 

(b) to ensure that the premises is closed safely for the duration of the restricted activity period; 

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or
- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure attendees check in when on site even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately. 

If attendees can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter attendee names and contact phone numbers electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate that is still running a permitted activity must have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

lighterSide-holidayPhotos.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE:

You can find all previous COVID19 emails and resources on the COVID-19 page of the CCVT website.

VICTORIA UPDATE:

Victoria is now in a 7 day lockdown from 8pm Thursday 5 August 2021 until 11:59pm on Thursday 12 August 2021.

5 REASONS TO LEAVE HOME:

1. Food and supplies (within 5km radius of your home (or nearest) and limited to one person per day, per household)

2. Authorised work (5km radius does not apply to work) 

3. Care and caregiving

4. Exercise (for up to 2 hours, with one other person, and within 5km radius of your home)

5. To get vaccinated

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN VICTORIA:  

Sources for the following is based on the attached Table of Restrictionsthe Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) (No 23)and the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

Please note that this advice remains subject to change.  If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au (please note that the web pages are slow to update so may not reflect the most recent changes yet).

 

CURRENT FOR VICTORIA AS OF 8PM ON THURSDAY 5 AUGUST 2021

Religious Gatherings

No in-person gatherings permitted (indoors and outdoors).

Broadcast permitted - maximum of 5 people (this is considered Authorised Work and the 5km radius limit does not apply)

Check-in requirements must be adhered to.

You should always keep at least 1.5 metres distance between each other.

People must wear a face mask unless an exception applies. For the person who is speaking on camera, masks can be removed temporarily under the following exemption: “Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or live broadcasting”.

Weddings

Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Not permitted unless end of life or for deportation reasons. 

Limit of 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, 2 witnesses).

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 10 mourners plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. 

Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Workers

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

The 5km radius restrictions does not apply to those undertaking authorised work.  

See the full Authorised Providers and Authorised Workers List from page 4 of the Table of Restrictions

Note: Church workers aren’t authorised workers except in the following capacity:

- marriage celebrant

- conducting funeral

- faith leaders broadcasting services and ceremonies at places of worship

- organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal, or premises (e.g. foodbanks) 

- care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, family violence, age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition or other essential support services, (e.g. agencies carrying out essential relief activities)

Pastoral visitation in private homes

End of life only: A faith leader may visit someone in their home, or at a hospital or aged care facility, to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to provide care and support to a person who is at the end of their life.  Up to two visitors may attend an end of life activity of unlimited duration at a private residence.

Other: Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to create a single bubble, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Pastoral visitation in hospital

Visitors are only allowed at hospitals for limited reasons.

No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child.

No more than two visitors per day. A group may exceed the “two visitors at a time” rule if dependents of a visitor are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.

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 limited reasons.

No visitors are permitted into aged care or other residential facility settings, except for end-of-life reasons.

No more than two visitors per day. A group may exceed the “two visitors at a time” rule if dependents of a visitor are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.

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

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness

Essential public support services include food banks, AA, or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

You must wear a face mask unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

Maximum of 10 people at any one time plus the minimum number of people required to provide the essential service.

Essential Support Groups

Not permitted

Property Maintenance and Security (see item 6)

A person may attend the premises: 

(a) for the purpose of essential (critical) maintenance; or 

(b) to ensure that the premises is closed safely for the duration of the restricted activity period; 

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or

- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure attendees check in when on site even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately. 

If attendees can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter attendee names and contact phone numbers electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate that is still running a permitted activity must have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

COVID-Simpsons.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE:

You can find all previous COVID-19 emails and resources on the COVID-19 page of the CCVT website.

VICTORIA:  

From 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 July 2021, restrictions in Victoria are changing. It is anticipated that these changes will be in place until 10 August 2021 (2 weeks’ time).

  • Masks will continue to be mandatory indoors and outdoors, unless an exemption applies
  • You are able to leave your home for any reason
  • Removal of 5km travel limit
  • The Authorised Worker List will no longer apply
  • Gatherings in the home are still not permitted (intimate partner visits/single bubble permitted)
  • Movement between regional Victoria and metro Melbourne is unrestricted
  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies – permitted for up to 100 people indoors and up to 300 people outdoors, density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies 
  • Public (outdoor) gatherings will be allowed with up to 10 people
  • Restaurants and Cafes will reopen for seated service, with density limits
  • All retail is open, density of 1 person per 4sqm applies
  • Weddings (indoor and outdoor) – a maximum of 50 people will be permitted at weddings (dancefloors not permitted)
  • Funerals (indoor and outdoor) – a maximum of 50 mourners, plus those conducting the funeral

For more information go to https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT ALL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES:  

Here is a simple summary of how the current restrictions affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Victoria. 

The following guidance is based on the attached Table of Restrictionsthe Vic Gov COVIDSafe Settings websiteand the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.  Guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT. 

Please note that web links to government sites may not yet have been fully updated to the current restrictions. Please check information and dates carefully.

 

VICTORIA - RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM TUESDAY 27 JULY 2021

Religious Gatherings

e.g. worship services, life groups, prayer groups, private prayer, youth group, Christian Playgroup, members meetings, social events on the church premises, etc

Religious gatherings and ceremonies permitted for up to 100 people indoors and up to 300 people outdoors.

Density limit 1 person per 4sqm applies.  

A venue smaller than 100sqm can have up to 25 people per venue before density quotient applies. 

The minimum number of people necessary to conduct a religious activity (e.g. preacher, worship leader, broadcast team, COVID Check-in marshal) and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap. 

COVID Check-in Marshals must ensure attendees check-in.

Consecutive gatherings must allow adequate time for cleaning between events as per your COVIDSafe Plan.  

If holding a gathering offsite (not on or proximate to your church property) then the relevant cap for that location applies e.g. private home or public gathering place.

Weddings

Permitted with no more than 50 people.

Density limit does not apply.

The 2 persons being married, and the 2 witnesses are counted towards this cap.  

The celebrant, 1 photographer, and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap. 

COVID Check-in Marshals must ensure attendees check-in. 

Dancefloors not permitted.

Funerals

Permitted with no more than 50 people.

Density limit does not apply.

Those necessary to conduct the funeral and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

COVID Check-in Marshals must ensure attendees check-in.

Workers

If you can work from home, you should work from home. 

Office work – 25 % return or up to 10 people if total workplace is 40 or less, density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm applies.

Every Affiliate MUST have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan in place. See more info at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-workplaces.

Public Gatherings

Permitted for up to 10 people. A public place is an area accessible by members of the public like a park or the beach. 

It does not include your backyard at home, or the church property.

Private Gatherings in the home

e.g. home groups, prayer groups, social

Not permitted. Intimate partner visits/single bubble permitted.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Not permitted. Intimate partner visits/single bubble permitted.

Pastoral visitation in hospital and care facilities

Patients at hospitals and residents at care facilities can have visitors. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility regarding the purpose of your visit.

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services. Essential public support services include food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities. Venue limit, group limit and density limits do not apply for these activities and must be run with only the minimum number of people required to conduct the activity.  

Essential Support Groups

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential support groups such as drug and alcohol, family violence, parenting support groups. 

Density limits apply as per Religious Gatherings.

Food and Beverage

Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering but there can be no food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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, designated servers make tea/coffee for everyone like at a cafe.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

If your church/agency has a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site:

  • Open for seated service only with a maximum patron cap of 100 per venue. 
  • Group limit of 10. 
  • Density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies. A venue smaller than 100sqm can have up to 25 people per venue before the density quotient applies. 
  • COVID Check-in Marshals must ensure attendees check-in.

Face Masks

Face coverings must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home or if an exception applies, such as (but not limited to):

  • If you are working alone, you do not need to wear a face mask unless someone else enters the room.
  • You can remove your face mask if you are communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing and the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing, or broadcasting. 

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure attendees check in when on site. This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately. 

If attendees can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter attendee names and contact phone numbers electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  

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

Singing

If singing, where possible do it outside. If indoors, the venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened.  Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces.  

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal it is recommended that you keep at least 2 metres from other people in the rehearsal.  Performers are also recommended to keep 5 metres away from the audience.  

Face masks cannot be removed while singing.

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. 

No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels, or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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

Baptisms

CCVT recommend 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.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan

Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events. 

Please make sure your plan is up to date with the current restrictions at all times.

Offering

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 (be conscious that some people are allergic to latex). Make sure counters maintain a distance of 1.5m from each other.

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to the relevant density limit and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  

Commercial hirers (e.g. sports group) must have a COVIDSafe Plan that is specific to their industry. 

Private hirers (e.g. weddings) must follow the Church/Agency’s COVIDSafe Plan (cleaning, contact tracing, COVIDSafe responsible person on site during the event etc). 

COVID Check-in Marshals

COVID Check-in Marshal is an employee or volunteer responsible for ensuring each person who enters a venue uses the Service Victoria QR code to check in on arrival (or an alternative record keeping method, where relevant). 

A Check-in Marshal can only request that people entering show them confirmation of a successful check-in and cannot compel anyone to do so.  If a person refuses to show evidence of a successful check in, the Check-in Marshal can ask that person not to enter the venue. 

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

Employers should ensure workers are adequately supported to carry out their Check-in Marshal duties with training and resources. Their duties include: 

  • ensuring QR codes are prominently displayed at every entrance 
  • providing devices that have Kiosk check-in set up to assist people who cannot check-in 
  • providing alternative record keeping methods (such as pen and paper) when it is not possible to use the QR code service (for example, there is an internet outage and kiosk check-in can’t be used).

Employers may need to appoint more than one Check-in Marshal if there are multiple entrances to the venue.  

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

maskAtAldi.jpg

 

VICTORIA UPDATE:

Victoria has extended the current lockdown until 11:59pm on Tuesday 27 July 2021.

5 REASONS TO LEAVE HOME:

1. Food and supplies (within 5km radius of your home (or nearest) and limited to one person per day, per household) 

2. Authorised work (5km radius does not apply to work) 

3. Care and caregiving (5km radius does not apply)

4. Exercise (for up to 2 hours, with one other person, and within 5km radius of your home)

5. To get vaccinated (5km radius does not apply)

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN VICTORIA:  

Sources for the following is based on the attached Table of Restrictionsthe Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) (No 18)and the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

Please note that this advice remains subject to change. If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

For more information: 

Table of Restrictions
Media Statement
www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au (please note that the websites are slow to update so may not reflect the most recent changes yet).

 

CURRENT FOR VICTORIA FROM 11:59PM THURSDAY 15 JULY 2021 UNTIL 11:59PM ON TUESDAY 27 JULY 2021

Religious Gatherings

No in-person gatherings permitted (indoors and outdoors).

Broadcast permitted - maximum of 5 people (this is considered authorised work and the 5km radius limit does not apply)

Masks, social distancing and check in requirements must be adhered to.

Masks can be removed temporarily under the following exemption: “Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or live broadcasting”.

Weddings

Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Not permitted unless end of life or for deportation reasons. 

Limit of 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, 2 witnesses).

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 10 mourners plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. 

Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Workers

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

Only authorised businesses can open under circuit breaker restrictions. If their employees are unable to work from home, they can leave home to attend work. 

The 5km radius does not apply to work (based on previous lockdown restrictions).  

See the full Authorised Providers and Authorised Workers List from page 4 of the Table of Restrictions

Note: Churches/church workers aren’t authorised workers except in the following capacity:

- marriage celebrant
- conducting funeral
- faith leaders broadcasting services and ceremonies at places of worship
- organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal, or premises (e.g. foodbanks) 
- care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, family violence, age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition or other essential support services, (e.g. agencies carrying out essential relief activities)

Pastoral visitation in private homes

End of life only: A faith leader may visit someone in their home, or at a hospital or aged care facility, to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to provide care and support to a person who is at the end of their life.  Up to two visitors may attend an end of life activity of unlimited duration at a private residence.

Other: Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to create a single bubble, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Pastoral visitation in hospital

No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child.

No more than two visitors per day. A group may exceed the “two visitors at a time” rule if dependents of a visitor are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

No visitors are permitted into aged care or other residential facility settings, except for end-of-life reasons.

No more than two visitors per day. A group may exceed the “two visitors at a time” rule if dependents of a visitor are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness

Essential public support services include food banks, AA, or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

You must wear a face mask unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

Maximum of 10 people at any one time plus the minimum number of people required to provide the essential service.

Property Maintenance and Security (see item 6.2)

 

A person may attend the premises: 

(a) for the purpose of essential (critical) maintenance; or
(b) to ensure that the premises is closed safely for the duration of the restricted activity period; 

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or
- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure attendees check in when on site even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately. 

If attendees can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter attendee names and contact phone numbers electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate that is still running a permitted activity must have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

COVIDgarlic.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA UPDATE:

Victoria has moved to 5 day lockdown from 11:59pm Thursday 15 July 2021.  

These settings will remain in place until 11:59pm on Tuesday 20 July 2021.

5 REASONS TO LEAVE HOME:

1. Food and supplies (within 5km radius of your home (or nearest) and limited to one person per day, per household) 

2. Authorised work (5km radius does not apply to work) 

3. Care and caregiving

4. Exercise (for up to 2 hours, with one other person, and within 5km radius of your home)

5. To get vaccinated

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN VICTORIA:  

Sources for the following is based on the attached Table of Restrictionsthe Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) (No 18)and the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

Please note that this advice remains subject to change.  If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

For more information: 

Table of Restrictions

Statement From The Acting Premier

www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au (please note that the websites are slow to update so may not reflect the most recent changes yet).

 

CURRENT FOR VICTORIA AS OF 6PM ON THURSDAY 15 MAY 2021

Religious Gatherings

No in-person gatherings permitted (indoors and outdoors).

Broadcast permitted - maximum of 5 people (this is considered authorised work and the 5km radius limit does not apply)

Masks, social distancing and check in requirements must be adhered to.

Masks can be removed temporarily under the following exemption: “Persons for whom the nature of their work or education means that clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth is essential. This includes teaching, lecturing or live broadcasting”.

Weddings

Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Not permitted unless end of life or for deportation reasons. 

Limit of 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, 2 witnesses).

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 10 mourners plus those necessary to conduct the funeral. 

Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Workers

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

Only authorised businesses can open under circuit breaker restrictions. If their employees are unable to work from home, they can leave home to attend work. 

The 5km radius does not apply to work (based on previous lockdown restrictions).  

See the full Authorised Providers and Authorised Workers List from page 4 of the Table of Restrictions

Note: Churches/church workers aren’t authorised workers except in the following capacity:

- marriage celebrant

- conducting funeral

- faith leaders broadcasting services and ceremonies at places of worship

- organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal, or premises (e.g. foodbanks) 

- care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, family violence, age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition or other essential support services, (e.g. agencies carrying out essential relief activities)

Pastoral visitation in private homes

End of life only: A faith leader may visit someone in their home, or at a hospital or aged care facility, to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to provide care and support to a person who is at the end of their life.  Up to two visitors may attend an end of life activity of unlimited duration at a private residence.

Other: Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to create a single bubble, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Pastoral visitation in hospital

No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child.

No more than two visitors per day. A group may exceed the “two visitors at a time” rule if dependents of a visitor are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

No visitors are permitted into aged care or other residential facility settings, except for end-of-life reasons.

No more than two visitors per day. A group may exceed the “two visitors at a time” rule if dependents of a visitor are in the group and care for the dependents cannot be arranged.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness

Essential public support services include food banks, AA, or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

You must wear a face mask unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

Maximum of 10 people at any one time plus the minimum number of people required to provide the essential service.

Essential Support Groups

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential support groups such as drug and alcohol, family violence, parenting support groups. 

Density limits do apply.

Property Maintenance and Security (see item 6.2)

 

A person may attend the premises: 

(a) for the purpose of essential (critical) maintenance; or 

(b) to ensure that the premises is closed safely for the duration of the restricted activity period; 

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or

- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure attendees check in when on site even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately. 

If attendees can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter attendee names and contact phone numbers electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate that is still running a permitted activity must have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 
COVID-loyaltycard.jpgSTAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA:  

From 11:59pm on Thursday 8 July 2021, restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne were brought into line with regional Victoria, which means all COVIDSafe settings now apply state-wide.

  • You can have 15 visitors to your home per day including dependants (infants under 12 months not included in the cap)
  • Public gatherings permitted for up to 50 people (infants under 12 months not included in the cap)
  • Face masks must be carried at all times and are mandatory indoors unless exempt but it is recommended you wear a mask outdoors if you are unable to maintain 1.5m social distance
  • There is no longer any Work from Home requirement
  • Offices can have 75% capacity or 30 people, whichever is greater, with a density limit of 1 person per 2 sqm.
  • If you have any symptoms, no matter how mild you must get tested for COVID-19

For more information go to https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT ALL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES:  

Here is a simple summary of how the current restrictions affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Victoria. 

The following guidance is based on the attached Table of Restrictionsthe Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria), the Vic Gov COVIDSafe Settings websiteand the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.  Guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT. 

Please note that web links to government sites may not yet have been fully updated to the current restrictions. Please check information and dates carefully.

 

VICTORIA - RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 8 JULY 2021

Religious Gatherings

e.g. worship services, life groups, prayer groups, private prayer, youth group, Christian Playgroup, members meetings, social events on the church premises, etc

Religious gatherings and ceremonies permitted with density limits but no overall venue cap.

Density limit of 1 person per 2sqm applies when using a COVID Check-in Marshal, otherwise density limit of 1 person per 4sqm applies.  See below for more information on what a Check-in Marshal does.

The minimum number of people necessary to conduct a religious activity (e.g. preacher, worship leader, broadcast team, COVID Check-in marshal) and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap. 

Consecutive gatherings must allow adequate time for cleaning between events as per your COVIDSafe Plan.  

If holding a gathering offsite (not on or proximate to your church property) then the relevant cap for that location applies e.g. private home or public gathering place.

Weddings

Permitted for up to 300 people per venue, or the venue density limit, whichever is smaller. 

Density limit of 1 person per 2sqm applies when using a COVID Check-in Marshal, otherwise density limit of 1 person per 4sqm applies.  

The 2 persons being married, and the 2 witnesses are counted towards this cap.  

The celebrant, 1 photographer, and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap. 

Dancefloors are allowed with up to 50 people if a COVID Check-in Marshal is present at all entrances to the facility open to members of the public.

Funerals

Permitted for up to 300 people per venue, or the venue density limit, whichever is smaller. 

Density limit of 1 person per 2sqm applies when using a COVID Check-in Marshal, otherwise density limit of 1 person per 4sqm applies.  

Those necessary to conduct the funeral and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Workers

There is no longer any Work from Home requirement.

Offices can have 75% capacity or up to 30 people whichever is greater, subject to a density limit of 1 person per 2sqm.

Every Affiliate MUST have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan in place. See more info at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-workplaces.

Public Gatherings

Permitted for up to 50 people. A public place is an area accessible by members of the public like a park or the beach. 

It does not include your backyard at home, or the church property.

Private Gatherings in the home

e.g. home groups, prayer groups, social

Limit of 15 visitors per day together or separately. 

Dependants are counted towards this cap, except for infants under 12 months old who are not counted towards this cap.

Pastoral visitation in private home

As per private gathering restrictions.

Pastoral visitation in hospital and care facilities

Patients at hospitals and residents at care facilities can have two visitors at a time and up to five visitors per day. A person may visit for any reason.

End of life patients can have two visitors at a time and there is no total limit per day. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility. 

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services. Essential public support services include food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities. Venue limit, group limit and density limits do not apply for these activities and must be run with only the minimum number of people required to conduct the activity.  

Essential Support Groups

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential support groups such as drug and alcohol, family violence, parenting support groups. 

Density limits do apply.

Food and Beverage

Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering but there can be no food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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, designated servers make tea/coffee for everyone like at a cafe.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

If your church/agency has a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site:

  • Open for seated service only
  • Density limit of 1 person per 2 sqm applies when using a COVID Check-in Marshal, otherwise density limit of 1 person per 4sqm applies
  • Smaller venues can have up to 25 patrons before the density limit applies.

You must check in on the free Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing purposes, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Face Masks

Face coverings must be carried at all times, must be worn indoors except if at home or if an exception applies, and must be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Exceptions now include if you are a worker at work (e.g. in an office), if a member of the public isn’t present, and you are in an area that members of the public can’t normally access.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure attendees check in when on site even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately. 

If attendees can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter attendee names and contact phone numbers electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

Singing

If singing, where possible do it outside. If indoors, the venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened.  Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces.  

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal it is recommended that you keep at least 2 metres from other people in the rehearsal.  Performers are also recommended to keep 5 metres away from the audience.  

Face masks cannot be removed while singing.

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels, or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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

Baptisms

CCVT recommend 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.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events. Please make sure your plan is up to date with the current restrictions at all times.

Offering

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 (be conscious that some people are allergic to latex). Make sure counters maintain a distance of 1.5m from each other

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to the relevant density limit and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  

Commercial hirers (e.g. sports group) must have a COVIDSafe Plan that is specific to their industry. 

Private hirers (e.g. weddings) must follow the Church’s COVIDSafe Plan (cleaning, contact tracing, COVIDSafe responsible person on site during the event etc). 

COVID Check-in Marshals

The term COVID Check-in Marshal means an employee, or employees of a facility who monitors compliance with the records requirement at all entrances to the facility open to members of the public by checking whether patrons have provided their details prior to entry.

For example, having a staff member or volunteer at the entry doors making sure that church service attendees have checked in on the venue QR code, either on their own devices or at a kiosk.

Assigning a Check-in Marshal at each entry also gives you access to a higher density limit of 1 person per 2 sqm, allowing more people inside the venue at any one time.

If you chose not to have Check-in Marshals, then you must follow a density limit of  1 person per 4sqm.

(Please note: this is a different role to the much bigger role of a COVID Marshal that is required for some industries like warehousing or hospitals. COVID Marshals are responsible for monitoring a site’s compliance with its COVIDSafe Plan and additional industry-specific obligations. They play a vital role in supporting workers to follow COVIDSafe principles and look for ways to continually improve a business’s COVIDSafe Plan, including entry screening, physical distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), workplace bubbles, hygiene, cleaning, and record-keeping requirements. It is not required or recommended for churches, or the types of programs run by our agencies. Stick to just having Check-in marshals.)

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

WhosBehindCOVID.jpg

VICTORIA UPDATE:

Effective 11.59pm on Thursday 24 June 2021 the restrictions to Metro Melbourne and Regional Victoria further ease. 

The following guidance is based on the attached Table of Restrictionsthe latest Statement from the Acting Premierprevious Restricted Activity Directions for Metro Melbourne and Regional Victoria, the Vic Gov COVIDSafe Settings websiteand the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

Please note: Web links to government sites may not yet have been updated to the current restrictions. Please check information carefully. If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.  

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE: (from 11.59pm Thursday 24 June 2021)

  • You can have 15 visitors to your home per day including dependants (infants under 12 months not included in the cap)
  • Public gatherings permitted for up to 50 people
  • Face masks must be carried at all times and are mandatory indoors unless exempt.  It is recommended you wear a mask outdoors if you are unable to maintain 1.5m social distance
  • Work from home requirement removed.
  • Office work: 75% return or up to 30 people if total workplace is 40 or less, subject to density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm
  • If you have any symptoms, no matter how mild you must get tested for COVID-19  
  • Check-in everywhere you visit using the Service Victoria QR code app, no matter how long you spend at that location.

For more information for metro Melbourne go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-live and www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT MELBOURNE AFFILIATES:  

Here is a simple summary of how the current restrictions affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Metropolitan Melbourne. 

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 24 JUNE 2021

Religious Gatherings at Church

e.g. worship services, life groups, prayer groups, private prayer, youth group, Christian Playgroup, members meetings

Religious gatherings and ceremonies at a place of worship are permitted for up to 300 people per venue, or a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm, whichever limit is smaller. 

Minimum number of people necessary to conduct a religious activity (e.g. preacher, worship leader, broadcast team, COVID marshal) and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap. 

Consecutive gatherings must allow adequate time for cleaning between events as per your COVIDSafe Plan.  

If holding a gathering offsite (not on or proximate to your church property) then the relevant cap for that location applies e.g. private home or public gathering place.

Weddings

Permitted for up to 300 people per venue, or a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm, whichever limit is smaller. 

The 2 persons being married, and the 2 witnesses are counted towards this cap.  

The celebrant, 1 photographer, and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap. 

Dancefloors not permitted. 

Funerals

Permitted for up to 300 people per venue, or a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm, whichever limit is smaller. 

Those necessary to conduct the funeral and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Workers

Work from home requirement removed. 

Office work: 75% return or up to 30 people if total workplace is 40 or less, subject to density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm.

Every Affiliate MUST have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan in place. See more info at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-workplaces.

Public Gatherings

Permitted for up to 50 people. A public place is an area accessible by members of the public like a park or the beach. 

It does not include your backyard at home, or the church property.

Private gatherings in the home

e.g. home groups, prayer groups, social

Limit of 15 visitors per day together or separately. 

Dependants are counted towards this cap, except for infants under 12 months old who are not counted towards this cap.

Pastoral visitation in a private home

As per private gathering restrictions. 

Pastoral visitation in care facilities and hospital

Patients at hospitals and residents at care facilities can have two visitors at a time and up to five visitors per day. End of life patients can have two visitors at a time and there is no total limit per day. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Public Support Service

e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services. Essential public support services include food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities. Venue limit, group limit and density quotients do not apply for these activities and must be run with only the minimum number of people required to conduct the activity.  

Essential Support Groups

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential support groups such as drug and alcohol, family violence, parenting support groups. 

Group limits of 10 (indoors) and 20 (outdoors) have previously applied to support groups.  If this impedes your operations, please confirm current limits.

Food and Beverage

Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering but there can be no food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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, designated servers make tea/coffee for everyone like at a cafe.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

If your church/agency has a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site:

  • Open for seated service only
  • Smaller venues can have up to 25 patrons before the density quotient applies
  • Venues less than 600sqm can operate with lesser of density quotient of 1 per 2sqm or venue cap of 150 patrons provided they have a COVID Check-in Marshal
  • Maximum patron cap of 300 per venue. No group limit. Density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies

You must check in on the free Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing purposes, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Face Masks

Face coverings must be carried at all times, must be worn indoors except if at home or if an exception applies, and must be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure attendees check in when on site even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately. 

If attendees can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter attendee names and contact phone numbers electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

Singing

If singing, where possible do it outside. If indoors, the venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened.  Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces.  

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal it is recommended that you keep at least 2 metres from other people in the rehearsal.  Performers are also recommended to keep 5 metres away from the audience.  

Face masks cannot be removed while singing.

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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

Baptisms

CCVT recommend 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.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events. Please make sure your plan is up to date with the current restrictions at all times.

Offering

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 (be conscious that some people are allergic to latex). 

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to density quotient and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  

Commercial hirers (e.g. sports group) must have a COVIDSafe Plan that is specific to their industry. 

Private hirers (e.g. weddings) must follow the Church’s COVIDSafe Plan (cleaning, contact tracing, COVIDSafe responsible person on site during the event etc). 

REGIONAL VICTORIA: (from 11.59pm Thursday 24 June 2021) 

  • You can have 15 visitors to your home per day including dependants (infants under 12 months not included in the cap)
  • Public gatherings permitted for up to 50 people
  • Face masks must be carried at all times and are mandatory indoors unless exempt.  It is recommended you wear a mask outdoors if you are unable to maintain 1.5m social distance
  • Work from home requirement removed. 
  • Office work: 75% return or up to 30 people if total workplace is 40 or less, subject to density quotient of 1 person per 2sqm
  • If you have any symptoms, no matter how mild you must get tested for COVID-19

For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-live-information-regional-victoria and www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony-regional-victoria.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT REGIONAL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES

Here is a simple summary of how the restrictions affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Regional Victoria. 

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

REGIONAL VICTORIA - RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 24 JUNE 2021

Religious Gatherings

e.g. worship services, life groups, prayer groups, private prayer, youth group, Christian Playgroup, members meetings

Religious gatherings and ceremonies permitted. 

Density quotient of 1 person per 2sqm applies when using a COVID Check-in Marshal, otherwise density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies.

Minimum number of people necessary to conduct a religious activity (e.g. preacher, worship leader, broadcast team, COVID marshal) and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap. 

Consecutive gatherings must allow adequate time for cleaning between events as per your COVIDSafe Plan.  

If holding a gathering offsite (not on or proximate to your church property) then the relevant cap for that location applies e.g. private home or public gathering place.

Weddings

Permitted for up to 300 people per venue, or a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm, whichever limit is smaller. 

The 2 persons being married, and the 2 witnesses are counted towards this cap.  

The celebrant, 1 photographer, and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap. 

Dancefloors not permitted. 

Funerals

Permitted for up to 300 people per venue, or a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm, whichever limit is smaller. 

Those necessary to conduct the funeral and infants under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Workers

Work from home requirement removed. 

Office work: 75% return or up to 30 people if total workplace is 40 or less, subject to density quotient of 1 person per 2sqm.

Every Affiliate MUST have an up to date COVIDSafe Plan in place. See more info at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-workplaces.

Public Gatherings

Permitted for up to 50 people. A public place is an area accessible by members of the public like a park or the beach. 

It does not include your backyard at home, or the church property.

Private Gatherings in the home

e.g. home groups, prayer groups, social

Limit of 15 visitors per day together or separately. 

Dependants are counted towards this cap, except for infants under 12 months old who are not counted towards this cap.

Pastoral visitation in private home

As per private gathering restrictions.

Pastoral visitation in hospitaland care facilities

Patients at hospitals and residents at care facilities can have two visitors at a time and up to five visitors per day. End of life patients can have two visitors at a time and there is no total limit per day. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Public Support Service e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services. Essential public support services include food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities. Venue limit, group limit and density quotients do not apply for these activities and must be run with only the minimum number of people required to conduct the activity.  

Essential Support Groups

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential support groups such as drug and alcohol, family violence, parenting support groups. 

Group limits of 50 people have previously applied to support groups.  If this impedes your operations, please confirm current limits. 

Food and Beverage

Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering but there can be no food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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, designated servers make tea/coffee for everyone like at a cafe.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

If your church/agency has a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site:

  • Open for seated service only
  • Density quotient of 1 person per 2 sqm applies when using a COVID Check-in Marshal, otherwise density quotient of 1 person per 4sqmapplies
  • Smaller venues can have up to 25 patrons before the density quotient applies.

You must check in on the free Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing purposes, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Face Masks

Face coverings must be carried at all times, must be worn indoors except if at home or if an exception applies, and must be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must be registered for the Victorian Government QR Code Service and ensure attendees check in when on site even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately. 

If attendees can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter attendee names and contact phone numbers electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

Singing

If singing, where possible do it outside. If indoors, the venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened.  Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces.  

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal it is recommended that you keep at least 2 metres from other people in the rehearsal.  Performers are also recommended to keep 5 metres away from the audience.  

Face masks cannot be removed while singing.

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels, or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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

Baptisms

CCVT recommend 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.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events. Please make sure your plan is up to date with the current restrictions at all times.

Offering

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 (be conscious that some people are allergic to latex). Make sure counters maintain a distance of 1.5m from each other

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to density quotient and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  

Commercial hirers (e.g. sports group) must have a COVIDSafe Plan that is specific to their industry. 

Private hirers (e.g. weddings) must follow the Church’s COVIDSafe Plan (cleaning, contact tracing, COVIDSafe responsible person on site during the event etc). 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

ChuckNorris.jpg

VICTORIA UPDATE:

Effective 11.59pm on Thursday 17 June 2021 the restrictions to Metro Melbourne and Regional Victoria further eased. 

The following guidance is based on the attached Table of Restrictionsthe latest Statement from the Acting Premierprevious Restricted Activity Directions for Metro Melbourne and Regional Victoria, the Vic Gov COVIDSafe Settings websiteand the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

Please note: Web links to government sites may not yet have been updated to the current restrictions. Please check information carefully. If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.  

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE: (from 11.59pm Thursday 17 June 2021)

  • Movement between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria is now unrestricted (25km radius no longer applies)
  • You can have 2 visitors to your home per day (plus dependants)
  • Public gatherings permitted for up to 20 people
  • Face masks are mandatory indoors.  It is recommended you wear a mask outdoors if you are unable to socially distance
  • If you can work from home, you should continue to work from home
  • Office workers: 50% return or up to 20 people if total workplace is 40 or less
  • If you have any symptoms, no matter how mild you must get tested for COVID-19

For more information for metro Melbourne go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-live and www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT MELBOURNE AFFILIATES:  

Here is a simple summary of how the current restrictions affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Metropolitan Melbourne. 

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 17 JUNE 2021

Religious Gatherings at Church

e.g. worship services, life groups, prayer groups, private prayer, youth group, Christian Playgroup, members meetings

Density quotient of 1 person per 4 square metres, a maximum cap of 150 people per venue with an indoor cap of 75 people plus the minimum number of people necessary to conduct a religious activity still applies.

You must check in upon entry using the Service Vic app, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe, i.e. you must not share food, drink or other items. If you cannot create and maintain a COVIDSafe environment for a particular religious gathering, please consider postponing or adjusting the way you run the gathering.

Consecutive gatherings can only be held if adequate time has been allowed for cleaning between events as per your COVIDSafe Plan.  There should be no overlap of gatherings.

Weddings

Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 20 people (including the two persons being married, celebrant, two witnesses). Dancefloors not permitted.

Funerals

Funerals (indoors and outdoors): Permitted with 75 people (and those necessary to conduct the funeral). Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap

Workers

If you can work or study from home, you should continue to do so. If you can’t work from home, you can go to work.

Workplaces like offices can increase to 50% capacity or 20 people if total workplace is 40 or less.

Every Affiliate MUST have a COVIDSafe Plan in place. See more info at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-workplaces.

Public Gatherings

Permitted for up to 20 people. A public place is an area accessible by members of the public like a park or the beach. It does not include your backyard at home.

Private gatherings in the homee.g. home groups, prayer groups, social

Limited to two adults per day together or separately (dependants of visiting adults excluded from cap)

Pastoral visitation in a private residence

As per private gathering restrictions. 

Pastoral visitation in hospitaland care facilities

No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child. 

No visitors are permitted into aged care or other residential facility settings, except for end-of-life reasons or as prospective resident.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Public Support Service

e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services. Essential public support services include food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities. Venue limit, group limit and density quotients do not apply for these activities and must be run with only the minimum number of people required to conduct the activity.  

Essential Support Groups

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential support groups such as drug and alcohol support groups. Group limits may apply.

Food and Beverage

Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering but there can be no food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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, designated servers make tea/coffee for everyone like at a cafe.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

If your church/agency has a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site:

Open for seated service only with a maximum patron cap of 150 per venue, no more than 75 indoors. Group sizes to a maximum of 10. Density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies. Venues can have up to 25 patrons before the density quotient applies

You must check in on the free Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing purposes, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Face Masks

Face coverings must be carried at all times, must be worn indoors except if at home or if an exception applies, and must be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must ensure all visitors check in using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately.

If your phone doesn’t start the check-in process automatically by using the camera over the QR code, you must download the Service Victoria app.

If you can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter your name and contact phone number electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

Singing

If singing, where possible do it outside. If indoors, the venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened.  Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces.  

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal it is recommended that you keep at least 2 metres from other people in the rehearsal.  Performers are also recommended to keep 5 metres away from the audience.  

Face masks cannot be removed while singing.

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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

Baptisms

CCVT recommend 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.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events. Please make sure your plan is up to date with the current restrictions at all times.

Offering

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 (be conscious that some people are allergic to latex). 

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to density quotient and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  

Commercial hirers (e.g. sports group) must have a COVIDSafe Plan that is specific to their industry. 

Private hirers (e.g. weddings) must follow the Church’s COVIDSafe Plan (cleaning, contact tracing, COVIDSafe responsible person on site during the event etc). 

REGIONAL VICTORIA: (from 11.59pm Thursday 17 June 2021) 

  • Movement between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria is now unrestricted 
  • You can have 5 adult visitors to your home per day, together or separately (plus dependants)
  • Public gatherings permitted for up to 50 people
  • Face masks are mandatory indoors.  It is recommended you wear a mask outdoors if you are unable to socially distance
  • If you can work from home, you should continue to work from home
  • Office workers: 75% return or up to 30 people if total workplace is 40 or less
  • If you have any symptoms, no matter how mild you must get tested for COVID-19

For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-live-information-regional-victoria and www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony-regional-victoria.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT REGIONAL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES

Here is a simple summary of how the restrictions affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Regional Victoria. 

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

REGIONAL VICTORIA - RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 17 JUNE 2021

Religious Gatherings

e.g. worship services, life groups, prayer groups, private prayer, youth group, Christian Playgroup, members meetings

Permitted for up to 300 people per venue, density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm applies

You must check in upon entry using the Service Vic app, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe, i.e. you must not share food, drink or other items. If you cannot create and maintain a COVIDSafe environment for a particular religious gathering, please consider postponing or adjusting the way you run the gathering.

Consecutive gatherings can only be held if adequate time has been allowed for cleaning between events as per your COVIDSafe Plan.  There should be no overlap of gatherings.

Weddings

Weddings (indoor and outdoor) are permitted with no more than 50 people (including the two persons being married, celebrant, two witnesses). This limit doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age, or the celebrant and a photographer. Dancefloors are not permitted. 

Funerals

Funerals are allowed with up to 100 people. This limit doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age, or the people required to conduct the funeral.

Workers

If you can work or study from home, you should continue to do so. If you can’t work from home, you can go to work.

Workplaces like offices can increase to 75% capacity or up to 30 people if total workplace is 40 or less.

Every Affiliate MUST have a COVIDSafe Plan in place. See more info at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-workplaces.

Public Gatherings

Permitted for up to 50 people. A public place is an area accessible by members of the public like a park or the beach. It does not include your backyard at home.

Private Gatherings in the home

Limited to 5 adults per day together or separately (dependants of visiting adults excluded from cap)

Pastoral visitation in private home

Visitors to private home are limited to 5 adults per day together or separately (dependants of visiting adults excluded from cap)

Pastoral visitation in hospitaland care facilities

No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child. 

No visitors are permitted into aged care or other residential facility settings, except for end-of-life reasons or as prospective resident.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Support Groups and Support Services

There has been no specified update to this. Please continue on the basis that essential services can be held at religious facilities, with a density requirement of 1 person per 4 sqm or up to 150 people overall, including 75 people indoors, whichever limit is smaller.  If this restricts your operations, please seek updated advice.

Food and Beverage

Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering but there can be no food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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, designated servers make tea/coffee for everyone like at a cafe.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

If your church/agency has a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site:

Open for seated service only with a maximum patron cap of 300 per venue. Group sizes to a maximum of 50. Density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies. 

Venues less than 600sqm can operate with lesser of DQ 2 or venue cap of 150 patrons provided they have a COVID Marshal at the entrance to confirm ‘green tick’ check in before entry. 

Venues can have up to 25 patrons before the density quotient applies.

You must check in on the free Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing purposes, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Face Masks

Face coverings must be carried at all times, must be worn indoors except if at home or if an exception applies, and must be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must ensure all visitors check in using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately.

If your phone doesn’t start the check-in process automatically by using the camera over the QR code, you must download the Service Victoria app.

If you can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter your name and contact phone number electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

Singing

If singing, where possible do it outside. If indoors, the venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened.  Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces.  

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal it is recommended that you keep at least 2 metres from other people in the rehearsal.  Performers are also recommended to keep 5 metres away from the audience.  

Face masks cannot be removed while singing.

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels, or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 

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

Baptisms

CCVT recommend 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.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events. Please make sure your plan is up to date with the current restrictions at all times.

Offering

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 (be conscious that some people are allergic to latex). Make sure counters maintain a distance of 1.5m from each other

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to density quotient and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  

Commercial hirers (e.g. sports group) must have a COVIDSafe Plan that is specific to their industry. 

Private hirers (e.g. weddings) must follow the Church’s COVIDSafe Plan (cleaning, contact tracing, COVIDSafe responsible person on site during the event etc). 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

WheresWaldo.jpg

VICTORIA UPDATE:

Effective 11.59pm on Thursday 10 June the restrictions to Metro Melbourne and Regional Victoria further eased. 

Thank you for your patience this week as we sourced accurate advice for the various questions we have received!  

The following guidance is based on the attached Table of Restrictions, Statement from the Acting PremierRestricted Activity Directions for Metro MelbourneRestricted Activity Directions for Regional Victoria, the Vic Govt COVIDSafe Settings websiteand the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

Please note that this advice remains subject to change. If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.  

In all matters, if you are unsure, please err on the side of caution.  There may be grey areas, but the safety and wellbeing of people is paramount even in the face of inconvenience. 

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE: (from 11.59pm Thursday 10 June 2021)

From 11:59pm on Thursday 10 June 2021, if you live in metropolitan Melbourne:

  • There are no restrictions on the reasons to leave your home but staying COVIDSafe remains important.
  • You cannot have visitors to your home.
  • You cannot travel more than 25km from your home except for work, care, study or to travel your nearest vaccination centre. Travel into regional Victoria is not permitted, except for a number of limited reasons – work, education, care and caregiving, and to get vaccinated (if this is your nearest vaccination location).
  • Face masks are mandatory indoors and outdoors.
  • Restrictions follow you, for example if attending a funeral in regional Victoria that funeral must apply metropolitan Melbourne rules.
  • If you have any symptoms, no matter how mild you must get tested for COVID-19.

For more information for metro Melbourne go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-live and www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony or see the current Restricted Activity Directions for Metro Melbourne.

25KM RADIUS:

The previous 10km radius has now been expanded to 25km. 

Please note that the radius limit does not apply to work, care, study or to travel your nearest vaccination centre. 

Here are some free mapping tools to help you know what is within your 25km radius:  https://2kmfromhome.com/25km or www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-far-25km-your-home

SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT MELBOURNE AFFILIATES:  

Here is a simple summary of how the current restrictions affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Metropolitan Melbourne. 

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 10 JUNE 2021

Religious Gatherings at Church

e.g. worship services, life groups, prayer groups, private prayer, youth group, Christian Playgroup

Religious gatherings and ceremonies are allowed with a density requirement of 1 person per 4 square metres and a cap of 50 people per venue, plus the minimum number of people necessary to conduct a religious activity. 

You must not travel more than 25km from your home to attend a place of worship (except for work, wedding, or funeral).

You must check in upon entry using the Service Vic app, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Please remember that just because you can, does not mean you should. While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe, i.e. you must not share food, drink or other items. If you cannot create and maintain a COVIDSafe environment for a particular religious gathering, please consider postponing or adjusting the way you run the gathering.

Consecutive gatherings can only be held if adequate time has been allowed for cleaning as per your COVIDSafe Plan.  There should be no overlap of these gatherings.

Weddings

In metropolitan Melbourne, weddings at a venue are limited to up to 10 people. This limit includes the couple and 2 witnesses. The cap does not include babies under 12 months. A celebrant and a photographer are in addition the cap of 10 people. Click here for info on wearing masks at a wedding. Weddings are not permitted in a private residence except for compassionate reasons. The 25km travel limit does not apply to attending a wedding.

Funerals

Funerals at a venue have a cap of 50 mourners plus those required to conduct the funeral. The cap does not include babies under 12 months. 

A funeral held in a private residence are limited to the members of the household, their intimate partners, plus the people required to conduct the ceremony.  

You must wear a fitted face mask indoors and outdoors (except at your home or the home of an intimate partner or single bubble buddy), unless exempt. 

The 25km travel limit does not apply to attending a funeral. People who live in metropolitan Melbourne can travel to regional Victoria to attend a funeral but Melbourne restrictions follow you to regional Victoria. This means the funeral can only occur with a maximum of 50 people, plus those required to conduct the funeral applies. 

Workers

There is no longer an authorised worker or authorised provider list.

If you can work or study from home, you should continue to do so. If you can’t work from home, you can go to work.

Workplaces like offices can increase to 25% capacity or 10 people, whichever is greater.

You can attend work in regional Victoria if you cannot work from home.

Every Affiliate MUST have a COVIDSafe Plan in place. See more info at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-workplaces.

Public Gatherings

You can see friends and family outdoors in a public place in a group of up to 10 people. A public place is an area accessible by members of the public like a park or the beach. It does not include your backyard at home.

You can only travel up to 25km from your home to meet friends and family if you are meeting them outdoors.

You cannot have visitors to your home, unless they are your intimate partner or single social bubble buddy.

Private gatherings in the homee.g. home groups, prayer groups, social

Metropolitan Melbourne cannot yet have visitors to the home. Therefore home groups or other church activities cannot be held there.

Pastoral visitation in a private residence

Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to create a single bubble, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

A faith leader may visit someone in their home to provide care and support to a person who is at the end of their life. Up to two visitors may attend an end-of-life activity for unlimited duration at a private residence. For other pastoral care needs, consider online or phone contact. 

Pastoral visitation in hospitaland care facilities

Restrictions on visitors to care facilities still apply. No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child. No visitors are permitted into aged care or other residential facility settings, except for end-of-life reasons.

Non-essential contractors are restricted from entry.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Public Support Service

e.g. food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services. Essential public support services include food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities. Venue limit, group limit and density quotients do not apply for these activities and must be run with only the minimum number of people required to conduct the activity.  

Essential Support Groups

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential support groups such as drug and alcohol support groups.

Group limits of 10 applies to any essential support group.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

If your church/agency runs a commercial café, you can open for dine-in service with a density requirement of 1 person per 4 sqm and a maximum of 100 people per venue, including 50 indoors. Only seated service is permitted when dining in. There is a maximum group limit of 10 people.

You must check in on the free Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing purposes, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Singing

If singing, where possible do it outside. If indoors, the venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened.  Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces.  

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal it is recommended that you keep at least 2 metres from other people in the rehearsal.  Performers are also recommended to keep 5 metres away from the audience.  

Face masks cannot be removed while singing.

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 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

Baptisms

CCVT recommend 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.

Food and Beverage

Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering but there can be no food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 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, designated servers make tea/coffee for everyone like at a cafe.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events. Please make sure your plan is up to date with the current restrictions at all times.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must ensure all visitors check in using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately.

If your phone doesn’t start the check-in process automatically by using the camera over the QR code, you must download the Service Victoria app.

If you can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter your name and contact phone number electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

Face Masks

Face masks must be carried at all times and must be worn indoors and outdoors. You do not need to wear a mask in your own home, the home of your intimate partner or single bubble buddy or if another lawful exception applies.

Member’s Meetings

Member’s meeting are back in the grey area. Previous advice from the hotline was to not run them in person. If you can delay, it might be best. If not, please seek current advice from the hotline.

Offering

Encourage online giving or direct bank transfer 

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

Provide offering volunteers (counting and recording) with hand sanitizer and gloves (be conscious that some people are allergic to latex). Make sure counters maintain a distance of 1.5m from each other

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to density quotient and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  

Commercial hirers (e.g. sports group) must have a COVIDSafe Plan that is specific to their industry. 

Private hirers (e.g. weddings) must follow the Church’s COVIDSafe Plan (cleaning, contact tracing, COVIDSafe responsible person on site during the event etc). 

REGIONAL VICTORIA: (from 11.59pm Thursday 10 June 2021) 

Regional Victoria now operates under different restrictions to metro Melbourne: 

  • There are no restrictions on the reasons to leave home but staying COVID Safe is important
  • If you can work or study from home, you should continue to do so
  • Workplaces like offices can increase to 50 per cent or 20 people, whichever is greater
  • You can attend work in metropolitan Melbourne only if you are an authorised worker or work for an authorised provider
  • Face coverings must be carried at all times, must be worn indoors except if at home or if an exception applies, and must be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Private gatherings in your home are not permitted (intimate partner visits / single bubble permitted)
  • You can see friends and family outdoors in a public place in a group of up to 10 people (public gatherings)
  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies are allowed with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm and a maximum of 50 people per venue, plus a religious leader
  • Check in upon entry using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service even if your visit is less than 15 minutes

For more information go to www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/how-we-live-information-regional-victoria and www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony-regional-victoria or see the current Restricted Activity Directions for Regional Victoria.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT REGIONAL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES

Here is a simple summary of how the restrictions affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Regional Victoria. 

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

REGIONAL VICTORIA - RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 10 JUNE 2021

Religious Gatherings

Places of religion and worship can open for activities including religious gatherings, private worship, prayer groups, ceremonies, or to provide essential services.

Religious gatherings can be held with a density requirement of 1 person per 4 sqm or up to 150 people overall, including 75 people indoors, whichever limit is smaller.

Check in upon entry using the Service Victoria app, regardless of the duration of the visit.

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors if physical distancing of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained, unless you have a lawful reason not to do so.

While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink or other items.

Consecutive gatherings can only be held if adequate time has been allowed for cleaning as per your COVIDSafe Plan.  There should be no overlap of these gatherings.

Weddings

You can have a wedding at a venue with up to 20 people (unless a person from Metropolitan Melbourne attends, in which case the cap reduces to 10 people). 

This limit includes the couple and witnesses. The celebrant and a photographer are in addition to the cap. The cap does not include babies under 12 months.

Weddings in private residences are not permitted unless compassionate grounds apply.

Funerals

Funerals are allowed with up to 75 people (unless a person from Metropolitan Melbourne attends, in which case the cap reduces to 50 people). This limit doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age, or the people required to conduct the funeral. If a funeral is held at a private residence, private gathering restrictions apply.

Workers

If you can work from home, you should continue to work from home. 

Office work: 50% return or up to 20 people if total workplace is 40 or less.

Travel to Melbourne

You cannot travel to metropolitan Melbourne, except for:

  • work or education
  • necessary goods and services at the nearest provider to home
  • care and compassionate reasons
  • to receive COVID-19 vaccination at the nearest vaccination centre to home

Public Gatherings

You can see friends and family outdoors in a public place in a group of up to 20 people. A public place is an area accessible by members of the public like a park or the beach. It does not include your backyard at home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Visitors to private home are limited to 2 adults per day together or separately (dependants of visiting adults excluded from cap)

Pastoral visitation in hospital/care facilities

No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child.

No visitors are permitted into aged care or other residential facility settings, except for end-of-life reasons.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Support Groups and Support Services

Essential services can be held at religious facilities, with a density requirement of 1 person per 4 sqm or up to 150 people overall, including 75 people indoors, whichever limit is smaller.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

Some churches and agencies also have a commercial café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

The following restrictions apply:

  • Open for seated service and takeaway.
  • Density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies with a maximum patron cap of no more than 75 indoors and another 75 outdoors.
  • There is a maximum on group bookings of 10 people.
  • Check in upon entry using the using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.
  • The onus is on the business to check the residence of the patron wo ensure they are not from Metro Melbourne. 
  • Face masks must be worn indoors when you are not eating or drinking.
  • To keep their staff and customers safe, cleaning, signage and record keeping requirements apply.

Face Masks

Face coverings must be carried at all times, must be worn indoors except if at home or if an exception applies, and must be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Contact Tracing

All Affiliates must ensure all visitors check in using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service even if you are recording attendance in other formats such as rolls or your own check in system.  This is so that contact tracing can be done efficiently and accurately.

If your phone doesn’t start the check-in process automatically by using the camera over the QR code, you must download the Service Victoria app.

If you can’t use or don’t have a smartphone, the venue must provide an alternative way to check-in such as Kiosk check-in or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

Kiosk check-in can be set up on a device owned and managed by the venue – this lets staff enter your name and contact phone number electronically.

If visitors attend your premises who don’t want to check in, please remind them that it is a requirement on both the person and the organisation. Businesses are required to ensure you check-in and can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to do so.  Fines apply.

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

Singing

If singing, where possible do it outside. If indoors, the venue should be well ventilated. This can be achieved by making sure that windows are opened.  Fans (ceiling or free-standing) are not recommended in enclosed indoor spaces.  

If you are participating in a music or singing rehearsal it is recommended that you keep at least 2 metres from other people in the rehearsal.  Performers are also recommended to keep 5 metres away from the audience.  

Face masks cannot be removed while singing.

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 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

Baptisms

CCVT recommend 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 unless it is chlorinated. Masks are useless and dangerous when wet – do not baptise someone while their face is covered – remove before going under water and replace with new mask when out.

Food and Beverage

Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering but there can be no food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 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, designated servers make tea/coffee for everyone like at a cafe.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events. Please make sure your plan is up to date with the current restrictions at all times.

Member’s Meetings

Member’s meeting are permitted.

Offering

Encourage online giving or direct bank transfer 

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

Provide offering volunteers (counting and recording) with hand sanitizer and gloves (be conscious that some people are allergic to latex). Make sure counters maintain a distance of 1.5m from each other

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to density quotient and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  

Commercial hirers (e.g. sports group) must have a COVIDSafe Plan that is specific to their industry. 

Private hirers (e.g. weddings) must follow the Church’s COVIDSafe Plan (cleaning, contact tracing, COVIDSafe responsible person on site during the event etc). 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

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(…so many memes, so little time…)

VICTORIA UPDATE:

It was announced yesterday that Victoria’s lockdown has been extended by one week until 11:59pm on Thursday 10 June 2021.

Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria have now been given different restrictions (effective 11.59pm on Thursday 3 June), which is great news for our regional Affiliates.

The government websites are taking their time updating, so sources for the following is based on the attached Table of Restrictions, Statements from the Acting Premier, the pages that have been updated on their website, and the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

Please note that this advice remains subject to change. If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398.

In all matters, if you are unsure, please err on the side of caution.  There may be grey areas, but the safety and wellbeing of people is paramount even in the face of inconvenience. 

For more information:  

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE: (from 11.59pm Thursday 3 June 2021)

5 REASONS TO LEAVE HOME:

1. Food and supplies (within 10km radius of your home (or nearest) and limited to one person per day, per household) 

2. Authorised work

3. Care and caregiving

4. Exercise (for up to 2 hours, with one other person, and within 10km radius of your home)

5. To get vaccinated

10KM RADIUS:

The 5km radius has now been expanded to 10km. 

Please note that the radius limit does not apply to doing authorised work, care and caregiving, or getting vaccinated. 

Here is a free mapping tool to help you know what is within your 10km radius.  

SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT MELBOURNE AFFILIATES:  

Here is a simple summary of how the restrictions affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Metropolitan Melbourne. 

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 3 JUNE 2021

Religious Gatherings

No in-person gatherings permitted (indoors and outdoors).

Broadcast permitted - maximum of 5 people (this is considered authorised work and the 10km radius limit does not apply)

Weddings

Not permitted unless end of life or for deportation reasons. Involves only 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, 2 witnesses)

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor) are permitted.

No more than 10 people (and those necessary to conduct the funeral). Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Workers

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

Only authorised businesses can open under current restrictions. If their employees are unable to work from home they can leave home to attend work. See the full Authorised Providers and Authorised Workers List online or from page 5 of the Table of Restrictions pdf.

The 10km radius does not apply to work (based on previous lockdown restrictions).  

Church workers (paid and unpaid) are not authorised workers except in the following capacity:

- marriage celebrant

- conducting funeral

- Maximum of 5 faith leaders broadcasting services and ceremonies at places of worship

- Minimum required to provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal, or premises (e.g. foodbanks) 

- Minimum required to provide care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, family violence, age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition or other essential support services, (e.g. agencies carrying out essential relief activities)

Public Gatherings

Not permitted

Private gatherings in the homee.g. home groups, prayer groups, social

Not permitted.

Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to create a single bubble, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Pastoral visitation in a private residence

A faith leader may visit someone in their home to provide care and support to a person who is at the end of their life.

Up to two visitors may attend an end-of-life activity for unlimited duration at a private residence.

For other pastoral care needs, consider online or phone contact. 

Pastoral visitation in hospitaland care facilities

No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child.

No visitors are permitted into aged care or other residential facility settings, except for end-of-life reasons.

Non-essential contractors are restricted from entry.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Public Support Service

e.g. food banks, AA, or help for people experiencing homelessness

A place of worship may host an essential public support service.

  • Only the minimum number of persons required to conduct and/or facilitate the essential public support service may attend
  • A maximum of 10 persons may also attend the place of worship to receive the essential public support services at any one time (the persons required to conduct and/or facilitate the service are not included in the maximum of 10 persons)
  • You must wear a face mask unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

Food and drink facilities

e.g. café

Some churches and agencies also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- it is open for takeaway and delivery only; or

- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

You must use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing purposes

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older.

REGIONAL VICTORIA: (from 11.59pm Thursday 3 June 2021) 

Regional Victoria now operates under different restrictions to metro Melbourne: 

  • There are no restrictions on the reasons to leave home but staying COVID Safe is important
  • If you can work or study from home, you should continue to do so
  • Workplaces like offices can increase to 50 per cent or 20 people, whichever is greater
  • You can attend work in metropolitan Melbourne only if you are an authorised worker or work for an authorised provider
  • Face coverings must be carried at all times, must be worn indoors except if at home or if an exception applies, and must be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Private gatherings in your home are not permitted (intimate partner visits / single bubble permitted)
  • You can see friends and family outdoors in a public place in a group of up to 10 people (public gatherings)
  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies are allowed with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm and a maximum of 50 people per venue, plus a religious leader
  • Check in upon entry using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service even if your visit is less than 15 minutesFor more information:  
  • Table of Restrictions
  • Statement From The Acting Premier
  • www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au and www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covidsafe-settings (please note that the gov website is slow to update so not all pages reflect the most recent changes yet and significant scrolling may be required)

SUMMARY OF HOW THE RESTRICTIONS AFFECT REGIONAL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES

Here is a simple summary of how the restrictions affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Regional Victoria. 

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

REGIONAL VICTORIA - RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM THURSDAY 3 JUNE 2021

Religious Gatherings

Religious gatherings and ceremonies are allowed with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm and a maximum of 50 people per venue, plus a religious leader.

Weddings

You can have a wedding with up to 10 people. This limit includes the couple and two witnesses. A celebrant and a photographer are in addition the cap of 10 people.

Funerals

Funerals are allowed with up to 50 people. This limit doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age, or the people required to conduct the funeral.  

A funeral held at a private residence is limited to members of that household, intimate partner and minimum number of people required to conduct the funeral.

Workers

If you can work from home, you should continue to work from home. 

Capacity limits in workplaces such as offices capped at 50% or 20 people, whichever is greater.

You can attend work in metropolitan Melbourne only if you are an authorised worker or work for an authorised provider

Church workers (paid and unpaid) are not authorised workers except in the following capacity:

- marriage celebrant

- conducting funeral

- Maximum of 5 faith leaders broadcasting services and ceremonies at places of worship

- Minimum required to provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal, or premises (e.g. foodbanks) 

- Minimum required to provide care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, family violence, age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition or other essential support services, (e.g. agencies carrying out essential relief activities)

Pastoral visitation in private home

Not permitted.

Focus on providing pastoral care as part of the permitted group of up to 10 people gathering outdoors in a public place.

Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to create a single bubble, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Pastoral visitation in hospital/care facilities

No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child.

No visitors are permitted into aged care or other residential facility settings, except for end-of-life reasons.

Non-essential contractors are restricted from entry.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Support Groups and Support Services

Essential public support services include food banks, AA, or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. café

Some churches and agencies also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open with the following restrictions:

  • Open for dine-in service with a density quotient of 1 person per 4 sqm and a maximum of 50 people per venue (the limit on customers for seated, dine-in service is in place to ensure everyone can keep 1.5 metres distance.
  • There is a maximum on group bookings of 10 people
  • Regional businesses are required to check identification of their customers to ensure they live in regional Victoria. A permitted visitor from metropolitan Melbourne is not allowed to dine in unless they are a permitted worker.
  • Check in upon entry using the using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Face Masks

Face coverings must be carried at all times, must be worn indoors except if at home or if an exception applies, and must be worn outdoors where 1.5 metres physical distancing cannot be maintained.

Record Keeping

Check in upon entry using the using the free Victorian Government QR Code Service, even if your visit is less than 15 minutes.

Venues are responsible for ensuring workers and visitors always check-in and that electronic records are up to date.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

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VICTORIA UPDATE:

Please note that this email supersedes emails sent earlier this week.

Victoria will move to circuit breaker restrictions from 11:59pm tonight. 

These settings will remain in place until 11:59pm on Thursday 3 June 2021.

5 REASONS TO LEAVE HOME:

1. Food and supplies (within 5km radius of your home (or nearest) and limited to one person per day, per household) 

2. Authorised work

3. Care and caregiving

4. Exercise (for up to 2 hours, with one other person, and within 5km radius of your home)

5. To get vaccinated

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN VICTORIA:  

As usual the government websites are taking their time updating, so sources for the following is based on the attached 7 Day Circuit Breaker Restrictions pdf and Statements from the Acting Premier and the advice previously received under other lockdowns.  

Please note that this advice remains subject to change.  If in doubt, please seek advice on your specific circumstances from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

For more information: 

www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au (please note that the websites are slow to update so may not reflect the most recent changes yet).

The 7 day Circuit Breaker restrictions

Statement From The Acting Premier

 

CURRENT FOR VICTORIA AS OF 6PM ON THURSDAY 27 MAY 2021

Religious Gatherings

No in-person gatherings permitted (indoors and outdoors).

Broadcast permitted - maximum of 5 people (this is considered authorised work and the 5km radius limit does not apply)

Weddings 

Weddings (indoor and outdoor): Not permitted unless end of life or for deportation reasons. 

Limit of 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, 2 witnesses).

Funerals 

Funerals (indoor and outdoor): Permitted with no more than 10 people (and those necessary to conduct the funeral). 

Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Workers

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

Only authorised businesses can open under circuit breaker restrictions. If their employees are unable to work from home they can leave home to attend work. 

The 5km radius does not apply to work (based on previous lockdown restrictions).  There has also been no mention of requiring work permits.

See the full Authorised Providers and Authorised Workers List from page 3 of the 7 Day Circuit Breaker Restrictions PDF.

Note: Churches/church workers aren’t authorised workers except in the following capacity:

- marriage celebrant

- conducting funeral

- faith leaders broadcasting services and ceremonies at places of worship

- organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal, or premises (e.g. foodbanks) 

- care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, family violence, age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition or other essential support services, (e.g. agencies carrying out essential relief activities)

Pastoral visitation in private home

Not permitted (based on previous lockdown restrictions).

Please consider how we care for isolated people and encourage them to create a single bubble, access online and phone care and support, and consider if they can receive visitation under the permitted act of “caregiving”. If you are unsure, please seek advice from the hotline on 1800 675 398.

Pastoral visitation in hospital/care facilities

No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child.

No visitors are permitted into aged care or other residential facility settings, except for end-of-life reasons.

Non-essential contractors are restricted from entry.

Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Essential Support Groups and Support Services

Essential public support services include food banks, AA, or help for people experiencing homelessness are permitted.

  • You must wear a face mask unless you have a lawful reason not to. 
  • Density quotient rules do not apply. 

Food and drink facilities

e.g. café

Some churches and agencies also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.

These can open but only to the extent that:

- it provides takeaway meals or drinks or a meal delivery service; or

- it provides food, drink, accommodation, or other essential services to those seeking shelter (for example, for reasons of homelessness or family violence)

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors except if at home unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older.

 

A WORD FROM ROB NYHUIS, CCVT EXECUTIVE OFFICER:

The fairly sudden move back to lockdown has understandably been difficult for many. The cost for us personally, and also for our churches, may well include some sapping of the momentum we have all been trying to build. 

Nevertheless, it has been great to see how many people are still with us and on mission this year, despite extended lockdowns. 

It has undoubtedly been possible because, as “dealers of hope,” we leaders have continued to build vision and to inspire and encourage people to move forward in their journey with God. 

This remains an important focus that needs us to keep lifting people’s faith and to stir up praise out of the overflow of our own relationship with God. The joy of the Lord is still our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) and God is still our very present help and strength in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). 

Let’s have a great weekend building people up in the confidence that God is still in control and that our prayers can still make a powerful difference in our communities.  

Rob Nyhuis

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

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STAY UP TO DATE:

GREATER MELBOURNE (VIC) UPDATE:

In response to the COVID cluster in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, the following new restrictions apply from 6pm today (Tuesday 25 May 2021) only for the 31 local government areas of Greater Melbourne. The stricter rules will stay in place until at least 4 June 2021.

In summary:

  • Socialising at home: From 6pm today (Tuesday 25 May), private gatherings in homes will be limited to 5 visitors per day
  • Socialising in public: Public gatherings will be limited to 30 people
  • Masks: Face masks must be worn indoors or when unable to socially distance outdoors, including at all workplaces in Greater Melbourne.  The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older unless exempt.
  • Schools and workplaces: Schools and workplaces will remain open with current restrictions.  There will be no changes to existing density rules.  Children in primary schools do not have to wear masks but teachers will need to wear a mask.  Secondary school students need to wear masks.
  • Density Quotient: The government has paused a move to lift the density quotient in outdoor spaces and venues to a maximum of 200 people in spaces smaller than 400 sqm. Timing for this easing will be reassessed when public health advice indicates it is appropriate to do so.
  • Dining out: You can still dine in a restaurant or café.  There is no change to density requirements.
  • Weddings and funerals: If a wedding or funeral is in a private residence then restrictions apply, meaning only 5 guests are allowed plus the celebrant and one photographer.  If a wedding or funeral is in a venue, there would be no change to the existing density quota other than the requirement to wear a face mask when not eating or drinking.
  • Checking in: Use of the free Services Victoria QR code is now mandatory for places of worship and where religious ceremonies are being undertaken. 
  • Travel: Greater Melbourne residents can still travel to regional Victoria but their ‘restrictions travel with them’.  A statement from the government says: “If you visit someone outside of metropolitan Melbourne, they must not have more than 5 visitors in their home on that day.  If you attend a public gathering outside of Greater Melbourne, it must not be bigger than 30 people”.  Victorians visiting regional Victoria from Greater Melbourne will also need to wear a face mask when indoors even when out of metropolitan Melbourne, unless an exemption applies.
  • Leaving home & exercise: There are no restrictions on leaving your home and no restrictions on exercise.
  • Shops: No change to shops but masks must be worn indoors.

The above restrictions do not apply to regional Victoria (at this stage) but for Victorians who live in Greater Melbourne and who travel to regional Victoria, the restrictions travel with them. 

For more information:  www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au or click here for Premier’s statement but please note that the websites are slow to update so may not reflect the most recent changes yet.

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN GREATER MELBOURNE:  

 

CURRENT FOR GREATER MELBOURNE AS OF 6PM ON TUESDAY 25 MAY 2021

Religious Gatherings

All activities allowed – no restrictions on the type or purpose of the activity. 

  • All places of worship of all denominations are able to open. 
  • Religious gatherings can be held indoors or outdoors. Venues must apply the two square metre rule.
  • From 28 May 2021 all places of worship and ceremonies and religious gatherings must use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing.
  • While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink or other items. 
  • A venue can have indoor or outdoor religious gatherings at the same time. Ceremonial participants other than faith leaders are included in the two square metre rule.
  • You must wear a face mask when indoors, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 
  • It is recommended to wear a face mask outdoors when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people. 
  • Places of worship can open to conduct weddings and funerals.
  • Places of worship are open for private worship, for example individual prayer.
  • Outdoor religious gatherings must be held in an outdoor space that is near to the place of worship hosting the service. This means:  
    - a service could be held on the grounds of a place of worship or in the car park.
    - a public outdoor space, like a park, close to the place of worship. You may need a permit from your local municipal council

Weddings 

(including receptions)

  • You must wear a face mask when indoors, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 
  • The limit on the number of people who can attend a wedding is now determined by the size of the venue. The venue must apply the two square metre rule. The square metre rule includes the couple, the celebrant, but not the photographer or other workers such as catering staff.
  • A wedding held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to 5 visitors
  • From 28 May 2021 all places of worship and ceremonies and religious gatherings must use the Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing.
  • Dancing is allowed at a wedding, with no dance floor caps but the two square metre rule applies depending on the venue type. 
  • You can have speeches, singing and chanting at a wedding.

Funerals 

(including wakes)

  • You must wear a face mask when indoors, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 
  • The limit on the number of people who can attend a funeral is now determined by the size of the venue. 
  • The venue you hold a funeral in must apply the two square metre rule. The square metre rule doesn’t include the people required to conduct the funeral.
  • A funeral held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to 5 visitors
  • From 28 May 2021 all places of worship and ceremonies and religious gatherings must use the Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing.
  • You can have speeches, singing and chanting at a funeral.

Workers

  • You must wear a face mask when indoors, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 
  • Workers in the private and public sectors can return to work at 100% capacity.
  • A density limit of one person per 2sqm only applies in spaces that are accessible to the general public, including lobbies and reception areas. It does not apply in any office area that is not accessible by members of the public, including private offices, open plan offices, internal meeting rooms and shared spaces such as kitchens, lunchrooms and bathrooms.
  • From 28 May 2021 all places of worship and ceremonies and religious gatherings must use the Victorian Government QR Code Service for contact tracing.
  • All workplaces with on-site workers require a COVIDSafe Plan

Pastoral visitation and church events in private home

Pastoral Visitation at a private residence and Religious gatherings and prayer groups held at a private residence are subject to the private gathering limit. This means the household itself plus up to 5 visitors per day (excluding any babies under 12 months old, and intimate partners of the household members).

You must wear a face mask when indoors, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

Pastoral visitation in hospital/care facilities

Hospitals and Care Facilities: The number of visits, the length of the visit and the purpose of the visit are limited by the visiting rules set by the facility itself. Rules may vary between locations to reflect different risks. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Outdoor Social Gatherings 

Outdoor social gatherings: Groups of up to 30 people can meet in a public outdoor space from any number of households. Children  under 12 months of age are not included in this limit. Remember to keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and anyone you don’t live with.  It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask where you can’t maintain 1.5 metres distance from others. You must carry a face mask with you when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.

Essential Support Groups and Support Services

Essential public support services include food banks, AA, or help for people experiencing homelessness.

  • You must wear a face mask when indoors, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 
  • Density quotient rules do not apply. 
  • Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Singing

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)
  • you must wear a mask when singing indoors
  • singing softly

These measures are recommended to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Fans, free standing or ceiling, are not recommended for use in enclosed indoor spaces for singing. Performers should be 5 metres from the audience where practical.

Record Keeping and

Electronic record-keeping requirements

Record keeping and contact tracing is an important part of our response to COVId-19. Faith organisations must keep a record of all attendees and visitors who attend the workplace or place of worship for longer than 15 minutes, including name, contact number, date and time of visit and areas of the workplace or place of worship visited. These records must be kept for at least 28 days.

All places of worship venues must use the Victorian Government QR Code Service from 28 May 2021.

Venues currently using an Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital record keeping system must now switch over to the Victorian Government QR Service. For instructions on how to switch, please register to use the Victorian Government QR code service.

An organisation must make reasonable efforts to ensure that people can use the QR code, even in cases where a person cannot access the system on their own device, for example they have no mobile phone, there is a poor signal, or they have a low battery. Support these people by making a terminal available for them to sign in, or have staff assisting the person to sign in, or using pen and paper if electronic record-keeping is temporarily unavailable.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events.  You can access COVIDSafe Plan information in other languages here.

Baptisms

There are no longer any restrictions on the type/purpose of events a Church can run.  See Religious Gatherings section above for venue limits. CCVT recommend baptism be conducted by a member of the same household where possible, 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, if possible. 

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

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to density quotient and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  Make sure the hirer and the landlord have up to date COVID Safe Plans that are consistent with each other and up to date with current restrictions.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. church café

Some churches and agencies also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.  In relation to these spaces:

  • Where the total area of all indoor spaces and outdoor spaces accessible to members of the public (but excluding all communal or shared space) at the facility is less than 50 square metres, the number of members of the public permitted in the facility at any one time is limited to (with any infant under one year of age not counting in this limit) 25.
  • Where the total area of all indoor spaces and outdoor spaces accessible to members of the public (but excluding all communal or shared space) at the facility is 50 square metres or more, the number of members of the public permitted in each indoor space or outdoor space at any one time is limited to (with any infant under one year of age not counting in this limit), the number calculated by dividing the total area of the indoor space or outdoor space accessible to members of the public (but excluding all communal or shared space) (measured in square metres) by 2.

Food & Beverage

Food and drink can be served during or after a religious gathering – you just cannot share the food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment. 

It is recommended that single use items are used to serve food or drink, and that one person serves or distributes food or drinks e.g. one person makes the tea and coffees rather than everyone sharing the milk jug and urn.  

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants (but everyone can have their own). 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. 

Physical distancing

Physical distancing: 

Faith organisations should implement physical distancing measures to create a COVIDSafe workplace or place of worship . This means keeping a minimum distance of at least 1.5 metres between attendees and visitors. Faith leaders should frequently remind participants to avoid physical contact.

Density quotients:

Density quotients apply to the number of people who can be in a venue or facility at the same time. Where a faith organisation has publicly accessible space(s), the faith organisation must display a sign at each public entrance to each space that specifies the maximum number of members of the public that may be present in the space at a single time.  The upcoming changes to density quotients that would have allowed up to 200 people have been put on hold.

Implement virtual forms of worship:

Where possible, services, prayers and other forms of worship may be held virtually or in outdoor areas that allow for appropriate physical distancing between participants. Ceremonies and services can still be recorded or broadcast live from the place of worship for viewing online.

Minimise contact:

Remove excess chairs from communal areas to encourage all people participating in religious gatherings, ceremonies and activities to stay a minimum 1.5 metres from one another. Participants should avoid sharing items such as prayer mats and service books. 

Greetings and goodbyes:

Replace handshakes and hugs with friendly words, a bow or other sign language to minimise contact and maintain at least 1.5 metres physical distance.

Avoid carpooling:

Faith leaders and participants should avoid carpooling where possible.

Minimise gathering proximity:

Use physical barriers or floor markings to provide minimum physical distancing guides and direct one-way flow where possible. Minimise the congregation of people in outdoor spaces where people are participating in religious gatherings, ceremonies and activities. Where possible, stagger arrival times to minimise queues or crowds and ensure physical distancing at hand sanitiser stations. For carparks, consider directing people to park in every other spot. It is recommended that attendees avoid gathering before or after services.

(Source link)

Face Masks

Face masks must be worn indoors unless you have a lawful reason not to. The face mask requirement applies everyone aged 12 years and older.

You must always carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave the home.

It is recommended that you wear a face mask when at a private gathering or when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people (such as at outdoor markets, outdoor concerts, street markets, at a busy bus stop or train station platform).

Please ensure your Church/Agency COVIDSafe plan has been updated to reflect changes to the requirements for wearing of masks. 

COVID Marshals

It is not mandatory for churches or agencies to have COVID Marshals, but in practice it can be very helpful for both your organisation and those attending to have people guiding safe practice and overseeing compliance.  You can find out more information about marshals here.

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

lighterside-dogs.png

STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIAN UPDATE:

From 11.59pm on Friday 9 April 2021, Victoria has further relaxed its COVIDSafe settings.

There are no longer restrictions on the type or purpose of events a Church/Agency can run; the restrictions apply to how the event is run.

For more information on what restrictions apply to churches, cafes, and other types of business or operation relevant to Affiliates, go to the Religion and Ceremony pages of the www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au website.

You can also see the abridged Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) (no 12) attached. The Restricted Activities Directions are Directions from the Victorian Acting Chief Health Officer in accordance with emergency powers arising from declared state of emergency. It spells out what restrictions or requirements apply to each of these types of activities. In the abridged version, we have deleted the page or struck out in red the text that doesn’t generally apply. If you would like to read the original document, you can see full version online here

If in doubt about how you are affected by the restrictions, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

USE OF VIC GOV QR CODE  OR API NOW MANDATED FROM 23 APRIL 2021

Changes have been made to the permitted methods of record keeping for the purposes of contact tracing. 

Places of Worship and many other organisations, venues, and facilities must use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital record keeping system from March 26 (a 28-day compliance amnesty will be in place to 23 April 2021).

The QR code is the one many are already using, but for those Affiliates who are digitally recording attendance though another platform, the API will allow your system to talk to the State register directly. (It’s a fancy internet thing).

If you have folks who are unable to use a QR code because they don’t know how or don’t have a mobile phone, then other people (staff or friends) can register for them on their own phones, just like you do at a restaurant.

SUMMARY OF HOW CURENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT VICTORIAN AFFILIATES:  

 

CURRENT AS OF 11:59PM ON FRIDAY 9 APRIL 2021

Religious Gatherings

All activities allowed – no restrictions on the type or purpose of the activity. 

All places of worship of all denominations are able to open. 

  • Religious gatherings can be held indoors or outdoors. Venues must apply the two square metre rule.
  • All venues must use electronic record keeping through the free Victorian Government QR Service or Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital record keeping system from March 26 (a 28-day compliance amnesty will be in place to 23 April 2021):
  • While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink or other items. 
  • A venue can have indoor or outdoor religious gatherings at the same time. Ceremonial participants other than faith leaders are included in the two square metre rule.
  • 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 recommended to wear a face mask when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people. 
  • Places of worship can open to conduct weddings and funerals.
  • Places of worship are open for private worship, for example individual prayer.

Outdoor religious gatherings must be held in an outdoor space that is near to the place of worship hosting the service. This means:  

  • a service could be held on the grounds of a place of worship or in the car park.  
  • a public outdoor space, like a park, close to the place of worship. You may need a permit from your local municipal council

Note: While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink, crockery, or other utensils.  See the Food and Beverage section below for more information. 

Weddings 

(including receptions)

The limit on the number of people who can attend a wedding is now determined by the size of the venue. 

The venue you hold a funeral in must apply the two square metre rule. The square metre rule includes the couple, the celebrant, but not the photographer or other workers such as catering staff.

A wedding held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to 100 visitors. The people required to conduct the ceremony are not included in this limit, as they are attending for the purposes of work. For weddings this is just the celebrant and the photographer.

All venues must use electronic record keeping through the Service Victoria app or a government API-linked digital system (venues will have a 28-day compliance amnesty, until 23 April 2021).

Dancing is allowed at a wedding, with no dance floor caps but the two square metre rule applies depending on the venue type. 

You can have speeches, singing and chanting at a wedding.

Funerals 

(including wakes)

The limit on the number of people who can attend a funeral is now determined by the size of the venue. 

The venue you hold a funeral in must apply the two square metre rule. The square metre rule doesn’t include the people required to conduct the funeral.

A funeral held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to 100 visitors. The people required to conduct the ceremony are not included in this limit as they are attending for the purposes of work.

You can have speeches, singing and chanting at a funeral.

You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

You should not attend a funeral if you are feeling unwell.

All venues must use electronic record keeping through the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital system (venues will have a 28-day compliance amnesty in place to April 23).

Workers

On-site office work is no longer capped. Workers in the private and public sectors can return to work at 100% capacity.

A density limit of one person per 2sqm only applies in spaces that are accessible to the general public, including lobbies and reception areas. It does not apply in any office area that is not accessible by members of the public, including private offices, open plan offices, internal meeting rooms and shared spaces such as kitchens, lunchrooms and bathrooms.

All workplaces with on-site workers require a COVIDSafe Plan

Pastoral visitation and church events in private home

Pastoral Visitation at a private residence and Religious gatherings and prayer groups held at a private residence are subject to the private gathering limit. This means the household itself plus up to 100 visitors per day (excluding any babies under 12 months old, and intimate partners of the household members).

Pastoral visitation in hospital/care facilities

Hospitals and Care Facilities: There are no longer specific limits under the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s directions for visitors to hospitals and Care Facilities. This means that the number of visits, the length of the visit and the purpose of the visit are limited by the visiting rules set by the facility itself. Rules may vary between locations to reflect different risks. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Outdoor Social Gatherings 

Outdoor social gatherings: Groups of up to 200 people can meet in a public outdoor space from any number of households. Children  under 12 months of age are not included in this limit. Remember to keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and anyone you don’t live with.  It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask where you can’t maintain 1.5 metres distance from others. You must carry a face mask with you when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.

Essential Support Groups and Support Services

Essential public support services include food banks, AA, or help for people experiencing homelessness.

Density quotient rules do not apply. 

Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Singing

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 COVID-19. Fans, free standing or ceiling, are not recommended for use in enclosed indoor spaces for singing. Performers should be 5 metres from the audience where practical.

Record Keeping and

Electronic record-keeping requirements

Record keeping and contact tracing is an important part of our response to COVId-19. Faith organisations must keep a record of all attendees and visitors who attend the workplace or place of worship for longer than 15 minutes, including first name, contact number, date and time of visit and areas of the workplace or place of worship visited. These records must be kept for at least 28 days.

All venues must use electronic record keeping through the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital system (venues will have a 28-day compliance amnesty in place to 23 April 2021).

This may replace you current or previous manual record keeping system.

An organisation must make reasonable efforts to ensure that people can use a compliant record keeping system even in cases where a person cannot access the system on their own device, for example, if they do not have a mobile phone. Support these people by making a terminal available for them to sign in, or staff assisting the person to sign in.  

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events.  You can access COVIDSafe Plan information in other languages here.

Baptisms

There are no longer any restrictions on the type/purpose of events a Church can run.  See Religious Gatherings section above for venue limits. CCVT recommend baptism 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, if possible. Masks are useless and dangerous when wet – do not baptise while face is covered – remove beforehand and replace with new mask immediately after.

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to density quotient and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  Make sure the hirer and the landlord have up to date COVID Safe Plans that are consistent with each other.

Food and drink facilities

e.g. church café

Some churches and agencies do also have a café or other food and beverage facilities on-site.  In relation to these spaces:

  • Where the total area of all indoor spaces and outdoor spaces accessible to members of the public (but excluding all communal or shared space) at the facility is less than 50 square metres, the number of members of the public permitted in the facility at any one time is limited to (with any infant under one year of age not counting in this limit) 25.
  • Where the total area of all indoor spaces and outdoor spaces accessible to members of the public (but excluding all communal or shared space) at the facility is 50 square metres or more, the number of members of the public permitted in each indoor space or outdoor space at any one time is limited to (with any infant under one year of age not counting in this limit), the number calculated by dividing the total area of the indoor space or outdoor space accessible to members of the public (but excluding all communal or shared space) (measured in square metres) by 2.

Food & Beverage

Food and drink can be served during or after a religious gathering – you just cannot share the food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment. 

It is recommended that single use items are used to serve food or drink, and that one person serves or distributes food or drinks e.g. one person makes the tea and coffees rather than everyone sharing the milk jug and urn.  

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be sharedby participants (but everyone can have their own). 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. 

Physical distancing

Physical distancing: 

Faith organisations should implement physical distancing measures to create a COVIDSafe workplace or place of worship . This means keeping a minimum distance of at least 1.5 metres between attendees and visitors. Faith leaders should frequently remind participants to avoid physical contact.

Density quotients:

Density quotients apply to the number of people who can be in a venue or facility at the same time. Where a faith organisation has publicly accessible space(s), the faith organisation must display a sign at each public entrance to each space that specifies the maximum number of members of the public that may be present in the space at a single time.

Implement virtual forms of worship:

Where possible, services, prayers and other forms of worship may be held virtually or in outdoor areas that allow for appropriate physical distancing between participants. Ceremonies and services can still be recorded or broadcast live from the place of worship for viewing online.

Minimise contact:

Remove excess chairs from communal areas to encourage all people participating in religious gatherings, ceremonies and activities to stay a minimum 1.5 metres from one another. Participants should avoid sharing items such as prayer mats and service books. 

Greetings and goodbyes:

Replace handshakes and hugs with friendly words, a bow or other sign language to minimise contact and maintain at least 1.5 metres physical distance.

Avoid carpooling:

Faith leaders and participants should avoid carpooling where possible.

Minimise gathering proximity:

Use physical barriers or floor markings to provide minimum physical distancing guides and direct one-way flow where possible. Minimise the congregation of people in outdoor spaces where people are participating in religious gatherings, ceremonies and activities. Where possible, stagger arrival times to minimise queues or crowds and ensure physical distancing at hand sanitiser stations. For carparks, consider directing people to park in every other spot. It is recommended that attendees avoid gathering before or after services.

(Source link)

https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-religion-and-ceremonies-guidance

Face Masks

You must always carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave the home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.

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 recommended that you wear a face mask when at a private gathering or when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people (such as at outdoor markets, outdoor concerts, street markets, at a busy bus stop or train station platform).

Please ensure your Church/Agency COVIDSafe plan has been updated to reflect this change from mandatory to recommended wearing of masks. 

Members Meetings

There are no longer any restrictions on the type/purpose of events a Church can run.  Those Affiliates who have not yet held their 2020 members meetings (AGM etc) should now do so as per their constitution/rules. For more information on changes to ACNC compliance due to COVID-19 please see the ACNC website.

TASMANIAN UPDATE:

CHANGES TO GATHERING NUMBERS AT CHURCHES, PLACES OF WORSHIP AND FUNERAL HOMES

Public Health advises churches, places of worship and funeral homes will be able to have more people in attendance under changes to Public Health Directions. Gatherings at these venues may now routinely accommodate up to 250 people or 75% of their seating capacity in an indoor space, whichever is fewer. Staff, members of the clergy, church attendants, members of the choir and anyone assisting in the provision of a church service, or in the case of a funeral, performing the funeral service, are not included in the 250-person limit.

These venues may also apply under the Events Framework to increase patron numbers above 250 people. Event organisers can apply by registering with Business Tasmania.

In indoor venues with seating where the number of people will exceed 250 people and people will be seated most of the time, the maximum number of attendees may be up to 75% of seating capacity.

If having these larger numbers of people at a venue will mean the density limit will be exceeded (more than one person per two square metres of available space), venues will either need to lower the seating capacity or have attendees wear a face mask, unless exempt.

People performing the service are not required to wear face masks in such circumstances.

Venues still require a COVID-19 Safety Plan and contact tracing is required. From 1 May the Check In TAS app must be used for contact tracing purposes. If an attendee cannot use this app, they may be checked in by another attendee who can, or by the gathering organiser, or on a paper-based record managed by the organisers.

These changes bring churches, places of worship and funeral homes into line with other venues, such as cinemas, theatres, and other entertainment premises.

See Gatherings, density and physical distancing for more information.

USE OF CHECK IN TAS APP NOW MANDATED FROM 1 MAY 2021

From 1 May 2021 organisations will be required to use the free Check in TAS app to collect contact information about everyone who spends time at their premises or event.

Organisations who haven’t already registered for Check in TAS need to register their premises ahead of the 1 May 2021 deadline for compliance. From this date patrons will be required to use the Check in TAS app when they visit these locations.

If patrons do not have a smartphone or are unable to use one, others in their group can check them in or staff at the premises will be able to check them in manually.

Mandating the use of Check in TAS helps strengthen Tasmania’s contact tracing capability for rapid response in the event of a COVID 19 case or outbreak. For more information see Check in TAS.

Also, see the attached “Knowing What To Do” pdf for more info.

RESTRICTIONS ON VISITS TO RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE FACILITIES LIFTED

There are no longer public health restrictions on the number of people that can visit residents in aged facilities to provide support and care; or on how long each visitor can stay, although some services may have their own visitation policies. The need for influenza vaccination has also been lifted.

Operators of residential aged care facilities must record the name, phone number and date/time for everyone (not just one person per group) who remains on site for 15 minutes or more. The easiest way to record this information, for everyone, is through the Check-in Tas app.

Visitors and workers still need to complete the aged care screening process when they arrive, and must not visit if they have any cold or flu-like symptoms, or loss of taste or smell.

While getting the yearly influenza vaccination is important, it is no longer essential for staff and visitors to residential aged care services because:

  • it is not currently available
  • when this year’s influenza vaccine does become available, it will be important to time vaccination carefully to ensure its effectiveness doesn’t wane before the height of the influenza season in August to September, and around COVID-19 vaccinations.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: 

lighterside-masks.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIAN UPDATE:

For more information, see the Circuit breaker action page.

For more info see the attached “Table of Restrictions” and Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) (no 7) attached or see online here

If in doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

CIRCUIT BREAKER ACTION – 5 DAY LOCKDOWN IN VICTORIA

New changes have been introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people leaving their homes and moving around Victoria.

From 11:59pm on Friday 12 February until 11:59pm on Wednesday 17 February, new state-wide restrictions are in effect across the whole of Victoria.

This means that you cannot leave your home unless you are doing it for one of the following 4 reasons:

  • Shopping once per day for necessary goods and services when required
  • Caregiving and compassionate reasons
  • Essential work or permitted education
  • Exercise for two hours a day with household members or intimate partner, or one other person not from the household.

You must stay within 5km of your home. This limit does not apply to work or when giving or receiving care. 

You can leave your home in an emergency or if there is family violence.

Face masks will need to be worn indoors and outdoors whenever you leave your home.

5KM RADIUS:

Wondering how far you can go from your home? Check out this handy map tool. Enter your full address - including the street number - to see how far you are allowed to travel from your home under current restrictions in Victoria. 

Please note that the radius is NOT the same as checking the distance in google maps which measures the length of road travelled. You may get further than you think. 😊

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS VICTORIAN AFFILIATES:  

 

CURRENT AS OF 11:59PM ON FRIDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2021

Religious Gatherings

Places of worship are closed. In-person religious gatherings are not permitted but may be broadcast.

Broadcasting

Faith leaders broadcasting services and ceremonies at places of worship are permitted to attend the church property. The 5km limit does not apply.

Weddings

Weddings are not permitted unless for end-of-life or other exceptional reasons.

Ceremonies must involve only 5 persons (including the 2 persons being married, celebrant, and 2 witnesses).

Funerals

Funerals (indoor and outdoor) must involve no more than 10 people (plus those necessary to conduct the funeral).

Public Gatherings

Public gatherings are not permitted.

Prayer Groups &

Bible Study Groups

Places of worship are closed. In-person religious gatherings are not permitted but may be broadcast. Private gatherings are not permitted.

Workers

If you can work from home, you must work from home.

Some people who work for our Affiliates are able to go to their place of work e.g.:

  • faith leaders broadcasting services and ceremonies at places of worship
  • administrative services provided by an employer to enable its employees to work from home e.g. payroll and IT services
  • organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal, or premises e.g. foodbanks 

Please check the full Essential Workers and Essential Providers List to confirm if your organisation or workers meet the definition of “essential”.

The 5km limit does not apply to work if you meet the criteria for essential.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Try to conduct pastoral visitation over the phone or go for a stroll with one other person not from your household. 5km limit applies.

If you think your pastoral care may meet essential worker criteria please consult the COVID19 Hotline for confirmation prior.

Pastoral visitation in hospital/care facilities

There will be no capacity to visit private residential aged care or public or private hospitals.

No visitors are permitted into health care settings, except for end-of-life reasons, as a support partner for birth, or a parent to accompany a child.

Essential Support Groups & Support Services

(e.g. AA, food banks etc)

Essential public support services are permitted.

Face Masks

Face masks must now be worn everywhere (unless an exemption applies), except in private homes.

Members Meetings

Cannot be conducted in person.

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020-2021.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIAN UPDATE:

For more info see the abridged version of the “Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) (no 6)” attached or see full version online here.  Also check out the Religion and Ceremony page of www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au noting that it may still be in the process of being updated to reflect the most recent announcements. If in doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

Update on face masks:

From 11:59pm on 3 February 2021 new state-wide restrictions are in effect:

  • Face masks are mandatory in public indoor spaces. If you have visitors in your home, it is strongly recommended that face masks are worn during the visit.  
  • Face masks must be worn in indoor public spaces apart from when eating or drinking. If you are planning to leave your home – take a face mask.  
  • In addition to indoor public spaces, face masks continue to be mandatory in the following locations:
    • on public transport
    • when riding in a ride share or taxi
    • on domestic flights to and from Victoria
    • at airports
    • in hospitals
    • when working in or visiting hospitals and care facilities.
  • You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.
  • It is strongly recommended you wear one whenever you cannot keep 1.5 metres distance from others.
  • There are a number of lawful reasons to not wear a face mask.

Summary of HOW the roadmap affects Victorian affiliates:  
current as of 11:59pm on 3 February 2021


Religious Gatherings
All activities allowed – no restrictions on the type or purpose of the event/activity

Places of Worship can hold religious gatherings both indoors and outdoors, and at the same time.  Note: restrictions for religious gatherings can differ to restrictions for general social gatherings by the public e.g. there are no group limits outdoors, but you must be near the place of worship.

Indoors: The limit on the number of people who can attend a religious gathering, service, or ceremony is now determined by the size of the venue.  The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping to record attendees or the 4sqm rule if a manual record keeping procedure is used. The square metre rule doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age.

Outdoors: Places of worship may hold religious ceremonies outdoors. The 2sqm rule must be applied to ensure everyone has enough room to maintain 1.5 metres distance from each other. The square metre rule doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age.

Outdoor religious gatherings must be held in an outdoor space that is near to the place of worship hosting the service. This means: 

 - a service could be held on the grounds of a place of worship or in the car park. 

 - a public outdoor space, like a park, close to the place of worship. You may need a permit from your local municipal council.

Note: While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink, crockery, or other utensils.  See the Food and Beverage section below for more information.


Weddings
(including receptions)

Weddings can be held indoors and/or outdoors. The limit on the number of people who can attend a wedding is now determined by the size of the venue. The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used.

The square metre rule includes the couple, the celebrant, but not the photographer or other workers such as catering staff.

A wedding held in a private home will be limited to the members of the household and up to 15 visitors, the people required to conduct the ceremony are not included in this limit, as they are attending for the purposes of work.


Funerals
(including wakes)

Funerals can be held indoors and/or outdoors. The limit on the number of people who can attend a funeral is now determined by the size of the venue. The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used.

A funeral held in a private home will be limited to the members of the household and up to 15 visitors, the people required to conduct the ceremony are not included in this limit, as they are attending for the purposes of work.


Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

At church (indoor and/or outdoors): The limit on the number of people who can attend a prayer group or bible study group is now determined by the size of the venue. The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used.

At a private residence: Religious gatherings and prayer groups held at a private home are subject to the private gathering limit. From 4 Feb 2021 the limit on the number of people gathering in a household is reduced from 30 to 15, meaning the household members plus 15 visitors (excluding children under 12 months of age). There is no limit on the number of households those people come from. Front and backyards are considered part of the home.


Workers

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 3 February 2021 new restrictions apply in Victoria:

 - Face masks are mandatory in public indoor spaces. If you leave home, take a face mask and wear it any time you are inside, apart from when you’re eating or drinking.

 - The 75 per cent ‘return to work’ cap in both public and private sectors scheduled for Monday 8 February are paused and the current cap of 50 per cent will remain in place.

Every Affiliate MUST have a COVIDSafe Plan in place. See more info at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-workplaces.


Pastoral visitation in private home

Visitors to private homes: From 4 Feb 2021 the limit on the number of people gathering in a household is reduced from 30 to 15, meaning the household members plus 15 visitors (excluding children under 12 months of age). It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask when someone visits you at your home.


Pastoral visitation in hospital/care facilities

Hospitals and Care Facilities: There are no longer specific limits under the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s directions for visitors to hospitals and Care Facilities. This means that the number of visits, the length of the visit and the purpose of the visit are limited by the visiting rules set by the facility itself. Rules may vary between locations to reflect different risks. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.


Public Gatherings

Outdoor public gatherings: Up to 100 people can gather outdoors from any number of households, excludes infants under 12 months. Remember to keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and anyone you don’t live with.  It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask where you can’t maintain 1.5 metres distance from others. You must carry a face mask with you when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.

Visitors to private homes: From 4 Feb 2021 the limit on the number of people gathering in a household is reduced from 30 to 15, meaning the household members plus 15 visitors (excluding children under 12 months of age). It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask when someone visits you at your home.


Essential Support Groups and Support Services
(e.g. AA, food banks etc)

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services and support groups. Essential public support services include food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness or other essential activities. Density quotient rules do not apply. Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.


Singing

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 COVID-19. Fans, free standing or ceiling, are not recommended for use in enclosed indoor spaces for singing. Performers should be 5 metres from the audience where practical.


Record Keeping

Electronic record keeping: Affiliates are strongly encouraged to use QR codes to record the details of anyone who spends more than 15 minutes onsite. QR codes are a barcode that a person scans using their smart phone camera or an app. The QR code takes them to a website where they enter their details. For those who do not have smart phones, staff/volunteers can enter their details using the QR code or contact details can be manually recorded. The Vic Govt QR Code Service is free for all Victorian businesses, organisations, clubs and events. You don’t have the use the Government version – you can use any QR Code system you like. Using an electronic system means you can then have 1 person per 2 square metres as your density quotient instead of 1 per 4sqm.

Manual record keeping: A template Visitor and Patron Contacts Log and accompanying posters/signs are available for organisations using manual processes such as pen and paper. Pens used to record details should be wiped with an alcohol wipe between users. Records must be kept for 28 days before being securely destroyed. If you want to use a pen and paper system for registering attendees, you must use 1 person every 4 square meters as your density quotient.


COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events.


Baptisms

There are no longer any restrictions on the type/purpose of events a Church can run.  See Religious Gatherings section above for venue limits. CCVT recommend baptism 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.


Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to density quotient and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.  Make sure the hirer and the landlord have up to date COVID Safe Plans that are consistent with each other.


Food & Beverage

Food and drink can be served during or after a religious gathering – you just cannot share the food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment.

It is recommended that single use items are used to serve food or drink, and that one person serves or distributes food or drinks e.g. one person makes the tea and coffees rather than everyone sharing the milk jug and urn.  


Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 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.


Face Masks

From 11:59pm on 3 February 2021 new state-wide restrictions for face masks are in effect:

 - Face masks are mandatory in public indoor spaces. If you have visitors in your home, it is strongly recommended that face masks are worn during the visit.  

 - Face masks must be worn in indoor public spaces apart from when eating or drinking. If you are planning to leave your home – take a face mask.  

 - In addition to indoor public spaces, face masks continue to be mandatory in the following locations:

    -- on public transport

    -- when riding in a ride share or taxi

    -- on domestic flights to and from Victoria

    -- at airports

    -- in hospitals

    -- when working in or visiting hospitals and care facilities.

 - You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.

 - It is strongly recommended you wear one whenever you cannot keep 1.5 metres distance from others.

 - There are a number of lawful reasons to not wear a face mask.

Please ensure your COVIDSafe plan has been updated to reflect this change from mandatory to recommended wearing of masks.


Members Meetings

There are no longer any restrictions on the type/purpose of events a Church can run.  Those Affiliates who have not yet held their 2020 members meetings (AGM etc) should now do so as per their constitution/rules. For more information on changes to ACNC compliance due to COVID-19 please see the ACNC website.


On the lighter side:

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STAY UP TO DATE:

ELECTRONIC RECORD KEEPING (QR CODES):

Both Tassie and Victorian State Governments have a free QR Code Service to assist venues with registering attendees. QR codes are a barcode that a patron scans using their smart phone camera or a specific app. The QR code takes the patron to a website where they enter their details. These records help contact tracers in the event a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) is identified. 

VICTORIA

The Victorian Government QR Code Service is free for all Victorian businesses, organisations, clubs and events. You don’t have the use the Government version – you can use any QR Code system you like. Using an electronic system means you can then have 1 person per 2 square metres as your density quotient. If you want to use a pen and paper system for registering attendees, you must use 1 person every 4 square meters as your density quotient. 

TASMANIA

The Check In TAS app is a new Tasmanian Government system that is now available to help venues and patrons/visitors record and store contact details.

The app enables patrons/visitors to check-in to venues and have their data stored securely with the Tasmanian Department of Health in the event contact tracing is needed due to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community.  The app also supports venues operators and event organisers meet the current Public Health requirement to record contact details of individuals or one member of a group of patrons/visitors who spend more than 15 minutes on the premises.

The free app is now available for individuals to download via both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Businesses can register for the Check in TAS app via the online form at www.health.tas.gov.au/covid19/check_in_tas.

Although a range of methods are available for venues and patrons to record details of their visits to hospitality venues, the Check In TAS app will enable the Department of Health to store the contact details for 28 days before they are automatically destroyed.

Please note: For security purposes the QR code functionality was built within an app. QR codes on Check in TAS posters will only work when using the app, they will not work by opening your camera to scan.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE: (REMEMBER WHEN WE USED TO SHAKE HANDS?)

lighterSide.jpg

VICTORIAN UPDATE:

For more info see the abridged version of the “Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) (no 5)” attached or see full version online here.  Also check out the Religion and Ceremony page of www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au noting that it may still be in the process of being updated.

If in doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

UPDATE ON FACE MASKS

From 11.59pm on Sunday 17 January 2021, face masks are now only mandatory in the following locations:

  • on public transport
  • when riding in a ride share or taxi
  • inside shopping centres, including the retail stores inside shopping centres, such as clothing stores
  • inside indoor markets
  • in large retail stores (over 2000 sqm), such as department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores, hardware stores or supermarkets
  • on domestic flights to and from Victoria
  • at airports
  • in hospitals.

You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.

It is strongly recommended you wear one whenever you cannot keep 1.5 metres distance from others.

VICTORIAN PERMIT SYSTEM

All residents and travellers wishing to enter Victoria must now apply for a permit and the ‘traffic light’ permit system applies to travellers from anywhere across Australia.

Areas across Australia are to be designated as green, orange or red, according to their risk, and will be updated based on the latest health advice.  Permit applications can be made through the Service Victoria portal.

NSW border community residents are not required to obtain a green zone travel permit as long as they provide a valid form of ID with their address (like a driver licence) and they have not been in an orange or red zone in the past 14 days.  If your church or agency is located in NSW’s border bubble, please check the latest information for cross-border communities here.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS VICTORIAN AFFILIATES:  

 

CURRENT AS OF 11.59PM ON 17 JANUARY 2021

Religious Gatherings

 

All activities allowed – no restrictions on the type or purpose of the event/activity

Indoors: The limit on the number of people who can attend a religious gathering, service, or ceremony is now determined by the size of the venue.  The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used. The square metre rule doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age.

Outdoors: Places of worship may hold religious ceremonies outdoors. The 2sqm rule must be applied to ensure everyone has enough room to maintain 1.5 metres distance from each other. The square metre rule doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age.

Outdoor religious gatherings must be held in an outdoor space that is near to the place of worship hosting the service. This means: 

- a service could be held on the grounds of a place of worship or in the car park. 

- a public outdoor space, like a park, close to the place of worship. You may need a permit from your local municipal council.

Note: While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink or other items.

Weddings (including receptions)

Weddings can be held indoors and/or outdoors. The limit on the number of people who can attend a wedding is now determined by the size of the venue. The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used.

The square metre rule includes the couple, the celebrant, but not the photographer or other workers such as catering staff.

A wedding held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to 15 visitors, the people required to conduct the ceremony are not included in this limit, as they are attending for the purposes of work.

Funerals (including wakes)

Funerals can be held indoors and/or outdoors. The limit on the number of people who can attend a funeral is now determined by the size of the venue. The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used.

A funeral held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to 30 visitors, the people required to conduct the ceremony are not included in this limit as they are attending for the purposes of work.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

At church (indoor and/or outdoors): The limit on the number of people who can attend a prayer group or bible study group is now determined by the size of the venue. The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used.

At a private residence: Religious gatherings and prayer groups held at a private residence are subject to the private gathering limit. Currently, you can have up to 15 visitors to your home per day (excluding babies under 12 months old). There is no limit on the number of households those people come from. Front and backyards are considered part of the home. Faith leaders can visit homes to provide religious guidance, to perform rituals or for care and compassionate reasons.

Workers

From 18 January 2021 more office workers will be able to make a partial return to the office. In line with previous announcements, up to 50% of office workers who are not in the public service will be able to return to on-site work as well as up to 25% of public service workers. Offices with fewer than 40 staff can have 20 staff on-site subject to density quotients. Additionally, from Monday 18 January 2021 face masks will no longer be required to be worn in offices.

You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to.  It is strongly recommended you wear one whenever you cannot keep 1.5 metres distance from others.

Every Affiliate MUST have a COVIDSafe Plan in place. See more info at: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-workplaces.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Visitors to private homes: You can travel to see friends and family who live anywhere in Victoria. You can have up to 15 people visit you at home per day. There is no limit on the number of households those people come from. Infants under the age of 12 months are not included in the cap.

It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask when someone visits you at your home.

Pastoral visitation in hospital/care facilities

Hospitals and Care Facilities: There are no longer specific limits under the Victorian Chief Health Officer’s directions for visitors to hospitals and Care Facilities. This means that the number of visits, the length of the visit and the purpose of the visit are limited by the visiting rules set by the facility itself. Rules may vary between locations to reflect different risks. Please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Public Gatherings

Outdoor public gatherings: Up to 100 people can gather outdoors from any number of households, excludes infants under 12 months. Remember to keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and anyone you don’t live with. 

It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask where you can’t maintain 1.5 metres distance from others. You must carry a face mask with you when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.

Visitors to private homes: You can travel to see friends and family who live anywhere in Victoria. You can have up to 15 people visit you at home per day. Infants under the age of 12 months are not included in the cap. It is recommended that you wear a face mask when someone visits you at your home.

Essential Support Groups and Support Services

(e.g. AA, food banks etc)

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services and support groups. Essential public support services include food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness or other essential activities. Density quotient rules do not apply. Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Singing

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 COVID-19. Fans, free standing or ceiling, are not recommended for use in enclosed indoor spaces for singing. Performers should be 5 metres from the audience where practical.

Record Keeping

Electronic record keeping: Affiliates are strongly encouraged to use QR codes to record the details of anyone who spends more than 15 minutes onsite. QR codes are a barcode that a patron scans using their smart phone camera. The QR code takes the patron to a website where they enter their details. For those who do not have smart phones, staff/volunteers can enter their details using the QR code or contact details can be manually recorded. The Vic Govt QR Code Service is free for all Victorian businesses, organisations, clubs and events. You don’t have the use the Government version – you can use any QR Code system you like. Using an electronic system means you can then have 1 person per 2 square metres as your density quotient instead of 1 per 4sqm.

Manual record keeping: A template Visitor and Patron Contacts Log and accompanying posters/signs are available for organisations using manual processes such as pen and paper. Pens used to record details should be wiped with an alcohol wipe between users. Records must be kept for 28 days before being securely destroyed. If you want to use a pen and paper system for registering attendees, you must use 1 person every 4 square meters as your density quotient.

COVIDSafe Plans

Every Affiliate must have a current COVIDSafe Plan. Affiliates that hire space in another organisation’s facility must adhere to the COVIDSafe Plan for both the host facility and their own events.

Baptisms

There are no longer any restrictions on the type/purpose of events a Church can run.  See Religious Gatherings section above for venue limits. CCVT recommend baptism 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.

Hall Hire

Every hirer must adhere to density quotient and COVIDSafe Plan requirements.

Food & Beverage

Food and 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. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants.

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. 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.

Face Masks

Wearing a face mask is only mandatory on public transport, while in taxis or ride share vehicles, or when going to large retail venues, including shopping centres, supermarkets and department stores. It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask at a religious gathering when you can’t maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people. Please ensure your COVIDSafe plan has been updated to reflect this change from mandatory to recommended wearing of masks.

Members Meetings

There are no longer any restrictions on the type/purpose of events a Church can run.  Those Affiliates who have not yet held their 2020 members meetings (AGM etc) should now do so as per their constitution/rules. For more information on changes to ACNC compliance due to COVID-19 please see the ACNC website.

STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions:

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on the COVID-19 page of the CCVT website.

GENERAL UPDATES

COVID NEWS FROM YORK STREET CHURCH OF CHRIST

It goes without saying that this year has been a new experience for those seasoned in ministry and those new to the call. I have had the privilege of leading a relatively new team at York Street over the past 18 months and during this time I have seen the effect of Covid on our church, our leaders, and the staff. So, when the team came back with “let’s do whatever we can” when the restrictions from the 2nd lockdown were starting to ease it was like a red flag to a bull! Let’s face it, what leader wouldn’t want that from their team? 

In the spirit of allowing people to worship their Lord and saviour (and with much prayer) we added what was unthinkable - 4 outdoor services!

Up until last Sunday (first Sunday with 150 allowed in the building) we were running 3 online services: a traditional service, a family service with kids’ online program, and a 6pm service (as well as a Friday night online youth program). The team then added 2 mid-week outdoor contemporary worship services for up to 50 people, and our Sunday afternoon was blessed with 2 traditional communion services (also outside).

To think that a regional church was running 7 services a week is beyond anything we could have imagined. I know some people will think “yeah but York Street is a big church” which is true. However, at one of our communion services only 3 people booked in. Did we run it? Of course we did, because God is worthy of praise and when it comes to family (brothers and sisters in Christ) why wouldn’t we get together and focus on the cross?! It’s not about the numbers, it’s about Him, and creating spaces for people to gather either online or face to face to worship Christ.

Having said that I don’t need to say how relieved we are to go back to 3 services with people in the church building while still live streaming.

This year God has opened doors we never expected. It’s been a hard year, but God has led us to new initiatives, and to see the tears in eyes of God’s children as they are lost in worship is a reminder of the depth of relationship we are all called to have with Christ, and a reminder of the power of corporate worship. 

We are now planning on a season to recover and looking to loving people back to health while also creating space for us as a leadership team to build back in our margins and invest into our families over the holiday season. 

Thanks Churches of Christ for faithfully serving in and through an unprecedented year. I believe that across our country, as God examines our hearts, he would say well done good and faithful servants!

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Tim Walter, Snr Pastor
York Street Church of Christ

COVID NEWS FROM DONCASTER CHURCH OF CHRIST

When COVID-19 Lockdown in Melbourne caused the necessary cancellation of all onsite local Council Carols events and it was uncertain whether or not the Myer Music Bowl Carols would proceed, we decided to “jump into that space” with the view of claiming back Carols for the public witness of the Church.  

To that end, we partnered with a number of other Churches to deliver a free Virtual Twilight Carols and have been given an ongoing commitment from most of the artists to continue to be involved in this as an annual event (even when we can return to an onsite location).

Although the event premiered on 4th Dec already, it will also screen again on Sunday 13th December 2020, primarily for targeting nursing homes and retirement villages, but also available for all.

To date, we have over 2,100 households registered from Australia, South Africa, England, Canada and the USA!

You can register here for free.

Our prayer is that the witness of this event will result in seeds sown for the glory of God and the spread of the Gospel, which is such Good News indeed in the midst of these dark and uncertain days… “to you a Child is born…" (with apologies to Isaiah)!

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Jim Catford, Snr Pastor
Doncaster Church of Christ

ELECTRONIC RECORD KEEPING (QR CODE APPS):

Both Tassie and Victorian State Governments have a free QR Code Service to assist venues with registering attendees. These records help contact tracers in the event a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) is identified.

Please note that using an electronic system may allow for more people to occupy your venue than if you are using a pen and paper system, but you are not obliged to use this format.

Vic: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/victorian-government-qr-code-service
Tas: https://www.health.tas.gov.au/covid19/check_in_tas

VICTORIAN UPDATE

Victoria moved to COVIDSafe Summer restrictions from 11:59pm on Sunday 6 December 2020. These restrictions are expected to be in place for summer and will be reviewed regularly to ensure they reflect current public health advice.

For more info:

If in doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS VICTORIAN AFFILIATES:  

 

COVIDSAFE SUMMER:

CURRENT AS OF 11.59PM ON 6 DECEMBER 2020

Religious Gatherings

 

e.g. worship service, communion service, or  ceremonies other than weddings and funerals

Religious gatherings can now be held indoors and/or outdoors at the same time.

Indoors: The limit on the number of people who can attend a religious gathering, service, or ceremony is now determined by the size of the venue.  The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used.

Outdoors: Places of worship may hold religious ceremonies outdoors. The 2sqm rule must be applied to ensure everyone has enough room to maintain 1.5 metres distance from each other.

Outdoor religious gatherings must be held in an outdoor space that is near to the place of worship hosting the service. This means: 

- a service could be held on the grounds of a place of worship or in the car park. 

- a public outdoor space, like a park, close to the place of worship. You may need a permit from your local council. You can find your local council using Know Your Council.

Note: While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink or other items. 

The square metre rule doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age.

Broadcast Team

No specific restrictions – the broadcast team are now included in the overall cap.

Weddings (including receptions)

Weddings can be held indoors and/or outdoors.

The limit on the number of people who can attend a wedding is now determined by the size of the venue. The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used.

The square metre rule includes the couple, the celebrant, and photographer, but not other workers such as catering staff.

A wedding held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to 30 visitors, the people required to conduct the ceremony are not included in this limit, as they are attending for the purposes of work.

Funerals (including wakes)

Funerals can be held indoors and/or outdoors.

The limit on the number of people who can attend a funeral is now determined by the size of the venue. The venue must apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used.

The square metre rule doesn’t include the people required to conduct the funeral if it is taking place in a private residence, otherwise they are included in the density limit.

A funeral held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to 30 visitors, the people required to conduct the ceremony are not included in this limit as they are attending for the purposes of work.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

At church (indoor and/or outdoors):

The limit on the number of people who can attend a prayer group or bible study group is now determined by the size of the venue. The venue must apply the 2sqm ruleif using electronic record keeping, or the 4sqm rule if manual record keeping is used.

At a private residence:

Faith leaders can visit homes to provide religious guidance, to perform rituals or for care and compassionate reasons. Religious gatherings and prayer groups held at a private residence are subject to the private gathering limit. This means the household itself plus up to 30 visitors per day (excluding any babies under 12 months old).

Workers

Offices and professional services can open with COVIDSafe requirements: up to 25 per cent of workforce. Offices will be able to increase to 50 per cent from 11 January 2021 or – for workplaces with fewer than 40 staff, up to 20 staff onsite – subject to public health advice.

Every Affiliate MUST have a COVIDSafe Plan in place.

People leading religious gatherings, activities or ceremonies and volunteers should not work across multiple places of worship, where possible. A system to manage this must be implemented (e.g. a roster).

See more info at: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/covidsafe-workplaces.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Visitors to private homes: You can travel to see friends and family who live anywhere in Victoria. You can have up to 30 people visit you at home per day. Infants under the age of 12 months are not included in the cap. It is recommended that you wear a face mask when someone visits you at your home.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Hospitals and Care Facilities: No restrictions on purpose, number or time limits of visits. Symptomatic individuals (e.g. sore throat), close contacts and returned international travellers excluded from visiting. Please note that visitors may be limited by rules of the facility so please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Public Gatherings

Outdoor public gatherings: Up to 100 people can gather outdoors from any number of households, excludes infants under 12 months. Remember to keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and anyone you don’t live with. 

It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask where you can’t maintain 1.5 metres distance from others. Face masks are no longer mandatory except on public transport, when using taxis or ride shares, and when indoors in shopping centres and in some retail settings. You must carry a face mask with you when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to.

Visitors to private homes: You can travel to see friends and family who live anywhere in Victoria. You can have up to 30 people visit you at home per day. Infants under the age of 12 months are not included in the cap. It is recommended that you wear a face mask when someone visits you at your home.

Indoor Essential Support Groups and Support Services

(e.g. AA, food banks etc)

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services and support groups. Essential public support services include food banks, help for people experiencing homelessness or other essential activities. Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Playgroups

Religious playgroup at church: As per Religious Gatherings section above.

Op Shops

Retail is open. Density limits and COVIDSafe Plan apply.

Childcare

Childcare and kinder are open. Must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Property Maintenance

General repairs and maintenance can be undertaken by commercial service providers and by volunteers. Must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Singing

Singing is permitted. 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 COVID-19.

Fans, free standing or ceiling, are not recommended for use in enclosed indoor spaces for singing.

Performers should be 5 meters from the audience where practical.

Record Keeping

Electronic record keeping:

You may apply the 2sqm rule if using electronic record keeping to record the details of anyone who spends more than 15 minutes onsite.

Businesses are strongly encouraged to use QR codes to support contact tracing. For more information on this free service see Victorian Government QR Code Service.

Manual record keeping:

The 4sqm rule applies for manual means of record keeping.

Visitor and patron contacts log - Coronavirus (COVID-19) contact tracing register is available for businesses using manual processes such as pen and paper.

Pens used to record details should be wiped with an alcohol wipe between users.

Records must be kept for 28 days before being securely destroyed.

COVIDSafe Plan

Every Affiliate that is open must have a COVIDSafe Plan. Please update to account for the larger groups that are now permitted.

Baptisms

See Religious Gatherings section above for venue limits.

Recommend baptism by a member of the same household as keeping 1.5m distance is not required for members of the same household.

Do not baptise multiple people in same enclosed water e.g. bath, spa, or pool.

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

Hall Hire

Only allowed if hiring out for permitted activities. Err on the side of one group or activity onsite at the facility at a time.

Every hirer must have a COVIDSafe Plan. Every hirer must adhere to density quotient or industry restrictions, whichever is lower.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline)

Morning Tea / Catering / Sausage Sizzles

Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering. 

No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants therefore, it is recommended that single use items are used to serve food or drink.

Consider asking attendees to BYO or provide contactless serving if food is required.

It is recommended that one person serves or distributes food or drinks e.g. one person uses the urn for hot water for tea.

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering.

No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants, 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.

Face Masks

You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to. This is in case you require your face mask, for example, if you aren’t able to keep 1.5 metres distance from other people.

Wearing a face mask is only mandatory on public transport, while in taxis or ride share vehicles, or when going to large retail venues, including shopping centres, supermarkets and department stores.

It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask at a religious gathering when you can’t maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people.

Please ensure your COVIDSafe plan has been updated to reflect this change from mandatory to recommended wearing of masks.

Christmas Carols in public spaces (e.g. local parks)

Christmas Carol services run as a public event in public parks or spaces may be subject to the new Public Event Framework.  Please check if you need to register your event

AGM/SGM

A business meeting such as an AGM or SGM is still not an allowed reason for an in-person gathering for a Place of Worship. 

It is recommended that these meetings be held online if possible.  It is okay to defer.

If your constitution requires you to meet in-person (e.g. for voting), you may consider setting a tentative date for a future meeting (even if it has to be further postponed) or circulating financials, reports, and other communications to at least keep the members up to date with governance matters as an interim measure.

For more information please see Consumer Affairs Victoria and ACNC websites.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE…

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STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions:

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on the COVID-19 page of the CCVT website.

GENERAL UPDATE

(TLDR: Mostly Victorian update – no changes for Tassie Affiliates)

 

CORRECTION TO NOTICE RE PRAISE CENTRE

Last week we told you about the good work being done at Praise Centre.  I mistakenly called it Melbourne Praise Centre which is a different (but also awesome) church. Sorry team!

Praise Centre has been committed, persistent and consistent in their care for international tertiary students in Melbourne, particularly in the Caulfield area. During lockdown, the church used social media to make contact with many students in need of assistance with food, practical help, companionship and encouragement. This message from Federal Member Jason Wood underscores the tenacity these graduates have shown. With the encouragement of Praise Centre, it is a fitting congratulation from Canberra. Well done Praise Centre

COVID SAFE PLANS AND THE SIX PRINCIPLES OF COVIDSAFE WORKPLACES (VIC)

Every Victorian business (which includes all CCVT churches and agencies!) that is open must follow the six principles to ensure a COVIDSafe workplace.

  • Ensure physical distancing 
  • Wear a face mask
  • Practice good hygiene
  • Keep records and act quickly
  • Avoid interactions in enclosed spaces
  • Create workforce bubbles

It is mandatory for every Victorian business to have a COVIDSafe Plan which shows how you will put the principles into practice in your context.  A COVIDSafe Plan supports you in protecting your staff, attendees, and visitors. It also prepares you for a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace. Don’t be daunted, it’s actually a lot easier than it sounds and is mostly common sense things that are simple to implement and follow. Many of the things listed are things you are already doing.

Please note that you do not require a High Risk COVID Safe Plan – just use the normal one.

SIGNS, POSTERS & TEMPLATES 

Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are a stack of downloadable resources you can use around your property to guide and remind people about social distancing and hygiene.

FREE INFECTION CONTROL TRAINING

Free, short, accredited training is available to help staff identify and manage the ongoing risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the workplace. Free infection control training will help businesses prepare to safely reopen and ensure their customers and workforce are protected.

https://www.skills.vic.gov.au/victorianskillsgateway/Explore/Pages/infection-control-training.aspx

 

VICTORIAN UPDATE

RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM ON SUNDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2020:

(This is the one of the most enjoyable update I have written so far - I hope you also enjoy reading it. Well done everyone!)

Important notes: 

  • There is no longer a time limit on the duration of religious gatherings and ceremonies;
  • There is no longer a smaller separated group limit (i.e. 10 people or 20 people) within the overall facility cap;
  • The density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm does still apply – if the density quotient for the indoor or outdoor space is lower than the overall cap you must apply the lower limit;
  • No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants;
  • Outdoor religious gatherings or ceremonies must still only be held proximate (e.g. adjacent) to the place of worship;
  • Outdoor spaces used for religious gatherings or ceremonies must be suitable to ensure members of the public are reasonably capable of maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres from each other;
  • You cannot run an indoor gathering/ceremony and an outdoor gathering/ceremony at the same time – it’s one at a time.

For more info: 

See the “Summary of Last Step Restrictions 22 Nov 2020” or see online here

See the abridged version of the Restricted Activity Directions (Victoria) or see full version online here.

See the Religion and Ceremony page of www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au noting that it may still be in the process of being updated.

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS MELBOURNE AFFILIATES:  

 

LAST STEP:

CURRENT AS OF 11.59PM ON 

22 NOVEMBER 2020 UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED

COVID NORMAL:

DATE TO BE ADVISED

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

Religious Gatherings

 

e.g. worship service, communion service, or  ceremonies other than weddings and funerals

IndoorsCap of 150 with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm.

Outdoors: Cap of 300 with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm.

Note: Only one onsite gathering or ceremony can be conducted at a particular time either indoors or outdoors.

Note: Small separated group limits within the overall cap no longer apply)

(Source: Restricted Activity Directions and vic.gov.au)

No restrictions but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

No specific restrictions – the broadcast team are now included in the overall cap.

No restrictions.

Weddings (including receptions)

At church (indoors or outdoors)Cap of 150 people with density quotient of 1 per 4sqm indoors or outdoors. Persons necessary to conduct the wedding (such as celebrant or wait staff) excluded from this limit.

At a private residence: As per private gathering limits. Persons necessary to conduct the wedding (such as celebrant or wait staff) excluded from this limit.

No restrictions but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals (including wakes)

At churchCap of 150 mourners with density quotient of 1 per 4sqm indoors or outdoors. Persons necessary to conduct the funeral (such as a faith leader) excluded from this limit.

At a private residence: As per private gathering limits. Persons necessary to conduct the funeral (such as a faith leader) excluded from this limit.

(Source: Restricted Activity Directions and vic.gov.au)

No restrictions but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Indoors at churchCap of 150 with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm.

Outdoors at church: Cap of 300 with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm.

At a private residenceReligious gatherings and prayer groups held at a private residence are subject to the private gathering limit. This means the household itself plus up to 15 visitors per day (excluding any infants under 12 months old).

- face masks recommended when physical distancing cannot be maintained. 

- keeping a record of visitors is advised.

(Source: Restricted Activity Directions and vic.gov.au)

No restrictions but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

From 30 November, up to 25% of workers will be able to attend onsite.  Please update your COVID Safe Plan to account for who and how you will phase workers back in.

Standard workplace requirements including density limits continue to apply

Businesses with fewer than 40 staff can have 10 staff on-site subject to density quotients.

People leading religious gatherings, activities or ceremonies and volunteers should not work across multiple places of worship, where possible. A system to manage this must be implemented (e.g. a roster).

(Source: Restricted Activity DirectionsIndustry Restart Guidelinesand vic.gov.au)

Phased return to onsite work for those who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Up to 15 visitors, including dependants, per day can visit a household, either together or separately. Infants under 12 months are excluded from the visitor caps. 

- face masks recommended when physical distancing cannot be maintained. 

- keeping a record of visitors is advised.

(Source: Restricted Activity Directions and vic.gov.au)

No restrictions but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Hospitals and Care Facilities: There are now no restrictions on purpose, number or time limits for visitors, but please note that visitors may be limited by rules of the facility so please seek case by case advice directly from the facility.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Public Gatherings

Outdoor public gatherings: Up to 50 people can gather outdoors from any number of households, excludes infants under 12 months. 

Visitors to private homes: You can travel to see friends and family who live anywhere in Victoria. You can have up to 15 people visit you at home per day. Infants under the age of 12 months are not included in the cap. It is recommended that you wear a face mask when someone visits you at your home.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Indoor Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm. Face masks must be worn when indoors, unless you have a lawful exemption. Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others. Face masks must be worn when outdoors when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from others (unless they are people you live with).

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Indoor Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm. Face masks must be worn when indoors, unless you have a lawful exemption. Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others. Face masks must be worn when outdoors when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from others (unless they are people you live with).

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

Religious playgroup indoors at church: As per Religious Gatherings section above.

Secular playgroup: In-person playgroups in Victoria can operate. They can be held indoors or outdoors. Up to 20 participants can attend indoors and 50 participants can attend outdoors. Children and their parent or carer are each considered one person towards the 20 person cap. Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the cap.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Retail is open. Density limits and COVIDSafe Plan apply. 

No restrictions.

Childcare

Childcare and kinder are open. Must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

No restrictions.

Property Maintenance

General repairs and maintenance can be undertaken by commercial service providers and by volunteers. Must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

No restrictions.

Singing

Singing is permitted, but it is important to do it safely as singing has been shown to spread the virus in religious settings. 

Indoors: 

Small choirs or singers should only perform in well ventilated indoor settings, such as with windows open. 

Fans are not recommended for enclosed indoor spaces for singing. 

If there is singing indoors or the use of woodwind or brass instruments, there can only be a maximum of five people, at least 5 meters from audience and spaced 2 meters from each other.

Congregation members can also sing but must wear face masks unless exempt.

Outdoors:

Singing may occur in outside gatherings – this is the recommended option as it is much safer because it is outdoors. 

(Source: Industry Restart Guidelines and vic.gov.au)

To be advised.

Record Keeping

You must keep records of attendees at weddings, funerals, and ceremonies.

Keep records of faith leaders, volunteers and people attending a gathering or ceremony for contact tracing, where a person attends a place of religion or worship for longer than 15 minutes. 

This needs to be done in a way that preserves individual confidentiality (such as electronically). 

Records can be kept electronically or in hard copy. 

Pens used to record details should be wiped with an alcohol wipe between users.

Records must be kept for 28 days before being securely destroyed. 

Signs, poster, and templates

(Source: Industry Restart Guidelines and vic.gov.au)

Required.

COVIDSafe Plan

Every Affiliate that is open must have a COVIDSafe Plan. Please update to account for the larger groups that are now permitted.

Required.

Baptisms

See Religious Gatherings section above but note that a Baptism is not specified under the definition so err on the side of not baptising indoors. Adhere to restrictions relative to the location.

Recommend baptism by a member of the same household as 1.5m distance does not apply.

Do not baptise multiple people in same enclosed water e.g. bath, spa, or pool. 

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

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

No restrictions but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Hall Hire

Only allowed if hiring out for permitted activities. Err on the side of one group or activity onsite at the facility at a time. Every hirer must have a COVIDSafe Plan. Every hirer must adhere to density quotient or industry restrictions, whichever is lower.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline)

No restrictions but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Morning Tea / Catering

No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants.

Ask attendees to BYO or provide contactless serving if food is required.

(Source: Restricted Activity Directions and CCVT advice)

To be advised

Communion

No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants.

Consider asking people to BYO communion elements, use pre-filled cups, or use double cupping

Minimise contact by having people pick up communion as they arrive or putting it at chairs beforehand, so it doesn’t have to be handed out.  Provide bins for collection of used cups. 

(Source: Restricted Activity Directions and CCVT advice)

To be advised

Face Masks

You must carry a mask with you when you leave home.

Face masks are no longer required when you are outdoors and where it is possible to stay more than 1.5 metres away from people.

Face masks remain mandatory when indoors – for example, in shopping centres, at a hospital, at an indoor church services etc) or when you cannot social distance outside.  

People attending religious gatherings or ceremonies must wear a face mask unless they have a lawful exemption

People who are leading services or events in a place of worship, and those who assist them (for instance by reading, or leading prayer) do not need to wear a face mask, when doing that particular activity, but must wear face mask at all other times.

Only one person may have their mask off at any time (the person leading that part of the service.) Faith leaders must wear masks when in proximity to participants, such as for distribution of consumables.

Participants may take their mask off briefly for consumables, when at least 1.5 metres from another person.

(Source: Industry Restart Guidelines and vic.gov.au)

To be advised

Sausage Sizzles

Not currently allowed for Places of Worship. Change to restrictions anticipated 6th Dec subject to trigger points.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

To be advised

Christmas Carols in public spaces 

(e.g. local parks)

Christmas Carol services to be held in public parks are subject to the new Public Event Framework.  You will need to register your event.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

To be advised

AGM/SGM

A business meeting such as an AGM or SGM is still not an allowed reason for an in-person gathering for a Place of Worship. 

It is recommended that these meetings be held online if possible.  It is okay to defer.

If your constitution requires you to meet in-person (e.g. for voting), you may consider setting a tentative date for a future meeting (even if it has to be further postponed) or circulating financials, reports, and other communications to at least keep the members up to date with governance matters as an interim measure. 

For more information please see Consumer Affairs Victoria and ACNC websites.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

To be advised

TASMANIAN UPDATE

NO CHANGES

No changes for Tassie Affiliates but we would love to know what you’re getting up to!  Send in a photo and a brief update about how your ministries are going to safeplaces@churchesofchrist.org.au so we can celebrate with you and pray for you!

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE…(2 FOR THE PRICE OF 1!)

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STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions: 

Please note, this email pertains only to Victorian Affiliates. No changes for Tasmania, so our southern brethren can feel free to delete this email unless they want some prayer points.  

To save you scrolling to the best bit, here’s a funny meme at the top to brighten your COVIDSafe day:

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE…

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METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - KEY UPDATES

Thank you for your patience in receiving this update. Once again we have had a wait for the DHHS website to catch up with announcements.  

Hopefully, this email will provide some clarity but as always, things do change, and a source link isn’t always available so if in doubt please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 and seek advice regarding your specific circumstances.

RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM ON TUESDAY 27 OCTOBER 2020:

From 11:59pm on 27 October 2020, metropolitan Melbourne moved to Third Step restrictions. Under the Third Step, Melbourne moved from "stay home" to "stay safe", with no more restrictions on the reasons to leave home. The 25km limit still applies.

From 8 November, and if we can continue driving case numbers down, the 25km limit will come off and Melbourne will be able to meet regional Victoria at the same level. That means the same eased restrictions that apply to regional Victoria will also apply to Melbourne. Fingers crossed. 

More details about these changes will be announced closer to the date.  

For more info see the attached documents “Victoria’s roadmap for reopening – How we live in Metropolitan Melbourne” and “Victoria’s roadmap for reopening – How we work in Metropolitan Melbourne” or view the full Roadmap to Recovery for Metro Melbourne and the Religion and Ceremony page

Also attached is an abridged version of the Restricted Activity Directions (Melbourne) from which certain information is sourced. You can see the full version here.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS MELBOURNE AFFILIATES:  

Here is a simple summary of how the Roadmap steps will affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Metropolitan Melbourne. 

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

THIRD STEP:

CURRENT AS OF 28 OCTOBER

LAST STEP:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

COVID NORMAL:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

Religious Gatherings

 

e.g. worship service, communion service, or  ceremonies other than weddings and funerals

Outdoors: Up to 20 people plus 1 faith leader. Must meet in an open space near place of worship. 

Indoors: Up to 10 members of the public. Each group can have 1 faith leader in addition to the 10 person cap. Groups must maintain a distance of 10 metres apart or be in separate rooms, and fit in under density quotient of 1 per 4sqm

Religious Gatherings:

No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment are permitted to be shared by participants. 

You cannot conduct an outdoor and indoor gathering at the same time. 

Must comply with signage, cleaning, and record keeping requirements.

Limited to 90 minutes duration.

(Source: Restricted Activity Directions Melbourne)

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

Open with a COVIDSafe Plan. 

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

25km limit does not apply. 

It has not yet been clarified if the 5 are included in the 10 or in addition to the 10 allowed at indoor gatherings, so err on the side of a combined max of 10 until further notice.  

Permitted.

Permitted.

Weddings

Weddings can be held indoors or outdoors with up to ten people (including two witnesses) plus the couple, the celebrant and a photographer. 

You cannot travel to or from regional Victoria to attend a wedding as a guest unless there is an exemption on compassionate grounds.

Allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals

Funerals can be held indoors or outdoors with up to 20 people. 

This limit doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age, or the people required to conduct the funeral.  

Allowed with 50 people (not

including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Permitted:

Indoors at church: Prayer Groups can be held with up to 10 people (including a faith leader) per facility.

Outdoors at church:

Religious gatherings can be held near a place of worship with up to 20 people plusa faith leader.

Outdoors public place:

Up to 10 people as per outdoor social gatherings.

At private homes:

Subject to the private gathering limit. At the current time this is the household itself plus up to two visitors, but both visitors must be from the one household.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors. 

Visitors to the home increase to 20 at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

Work from home if you can.

Workers only require permits if they are travelling between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria for work.

This means church offices can now open, if staff and volunteers are unable to work from home.

Work from home if you can.

Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Permitted. You can have up to two people from the same household visit you at your home. You can only have one visit a day – this means once a day you can visit someone’s home or have them visit you at your home. Children and dependants are not included in this cap. The two people must be from the same household and visit together. You can only visit people within 25km of your home. In some situations the 25km limit may not apply, such as for care of an elderly person. Please ensure your pastoral care meets the definition.

Allowed. Visitors to the home increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Strict limits. Speak with family and facility before you visit to avoid a situation where the visitor limit is exceeded.

End of Life care may be provided to a resident of a care facility or hospital

For those in end of life or  palliative care, visitors should discuss visitation with the facility, as special considerations may apply.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Public Gatherings

Public gatherings of friends and family can meet outdoors in a public place in a group of up to 10 people within 25km of home. 

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors.

No time limit or radius limits.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of

attendees.

Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Cap is limited to the lesser of 1 person per 4sqm, or 10 people.

(Source: Restricted Activity Directions Melbourne)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. No cap on numbers is specified so apply density requirement of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, or number reasonably required to operate, whichever is less.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

As a religious gathering:

Indoors at church: Religious gatherings can be held with up to 10 people (includingfaith leader) per facility

Outdoors at church:

Religious gatherings can be held near a place of worship with up to 20 people plusa faith leader.

As a secular activity:

Up to 10 people as per outdoor social gatherings within 25km of home.

In homes, up to 20 people.

At church, subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Open. Density limits, record keeping and COVIDSafe Plan also apply.

Open

Open

Childcare

Childcare and kinder now open with COVIDSafe Plan.

Open

Open

Property

Maintenance

General repairs and maintenance can be undertaken by commercial cleaners, gardening services, commercial contractors, and by volunteers.

Internal and external construction permitted

Must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Open

Open

Singing

DHHS in Victorian have not made a restriction on singing but recommend notdoing it as it does have increased risk.

Eliminate/minimise singing where possible. Wear facemasks unless exempt.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

 

 

Record Keeping

You must request the first name and contact phone number of the people who have attended (except for essential support groups where confidentiality is required). Records must be kept for 28 days for the purposes of contact tracing. 

Required

Required

COVIDSafe Plan

Every Affiliate that is open must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Required

Required

Baptisms

See Religious Gatherings above but note that Baptism is not specified so err on the side of not baptising indoors. 

Must adhere to restrictions relative to the location. 

Recommend baptism by a member of the same household (1.5m does not apply).

Do not baptise multiple people in same enclosed water e.g. bath, spa, or pool. 

Masks are useless and dangerous when wet – do not baptise while face is covered – replace mask immediately.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

 

 

Hall Hire

Only allowed if hiring out for permitted activities. Err on the side of one group or activity onsite at the facility at a time. Must have a COVIDSafe Plan. Must adhere to density quotient or industry restrictions, whichever is lower.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline) 

 

 

Morning Tea

Eliminate if possible for now. Consider BYO, or contactless if food is absolutely required. No shared food, utensils, etc. 

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

 

 

Communion

Consider BYO, pre-filleddouble cupping, or contactless dispensing if holding communion. No shared food, utensils, etc. 

(Source: CCVT advice)

 

 

REGIONAL VICTORIA - KEY UPDATES

Thank you for your patience in receiving this update. Once again we have had a wait for the DHHS website to catch up with announcements.  

For more info see the attached documents “Victoria’s roadmap for reopening – How we live in Regional Victoria” and “Victoria’s roadmap for reopening – How we work in Regional Victoria” or view the full Roadmap to Recovery for Regional Victoria and the Religion and Ceremony page.

Also attached is an abridged version of the Restricted Activity Directions (Non-Melbourne) that covers Regional Victoria. You can see the full version here.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS REGIONAL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES

Here is a simple summary of how the Roadmap steps will affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Regional Victoria. 

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

THIRD STEP:

CURRENT AS OF 28 OCTOBER

LAST STEP:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

COVID NORMAL:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

Religious Gatherings

 

e.g. worship service, communion service, or  ceremonies other than weddings and funerals

Outdoors: Religious gatherings for up to 50 people plus a faith leader in an open space near place of worship. 

Indoors: Up to 20 members of the public in multiple groups of up to 10. 

Each group can have 1 faith leader in addition to the cap. 

Groups must maintain a distance of 10 metres apart or be in separate rooms, and fit under density quotient of 1 per 4sqm

Note re all Gatherings

No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment are permitted to be shared by participants. 

You cannot conduct an outdoor and indoor gathering at the same time. 

Must comply with signage, cleaning, and record keeping requirements.

Limited to 90 minutes duration.

(Source: Stay Safe Directions Non-Melbourne #6)

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

Permitted. Limit of 5 people. 

It has not yet been clarified if the 5 are included in the 10 or in addition to the 10 allowed at indoor gatherings, so err on the side of a combined max of 10 until further notice.  

Permitted.

Permitted.

Weddings

Weddings are limited to 10 people including the 2 witnesses. 

The couple, celebrant, and photographer are not included in the cap. 

You cannot travel to or from metro Melbourne to attend a wedding as a guest. 

Allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals

Funerals are limited to 20 people indoors, and 50 people outdoors, plus those required to conduct the funeral. 

Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the limit.

Allowed with up to 50 people (infants under 1yo or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit). Max of 20 in

a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Outdoors at church: up to 50 people plus a faith leader. 

Indoors at church: up to 10 people per group to a max of 20 people per facility (plus 1 faith leader per group). See Religious Gatherings above.

At home: Subject to the private gathering limit. At the current time this is the household itself plus up to 2 visitors.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

 

Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

Work from home if you can.

Workers only require permits if they are travelling between metro Melbourne and regional Victoria for work. Church offices can be open if staff/volunteers cannot work from home.

Work from home if you can. However, if you cannot do your work from home, you can go to work. Must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

At home: Up to 2 people can visit you separately at your home each day. You can only have 1 visitor at a time.  This replaces household bubbles.

Outdoors: Up to 10 people outdoors in a public place. Pastoral care should be conducted outdoors if possible.

Allowed. Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Strict limits. Speak with family and facility before you visit to avoid a situation where the visitor limit is exceeded.

End of Life care may be provided to a resident of a care facility or hospital

For those in end of life or  palliative care, visitors should discuss visitation with the facility, as special considerations may apply.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Public Gatherings

Gatherings of friends and family outdoorsin a public space of up to 10 people from different households (babies under 12 months old are not included in this cap).

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors.

 

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of

attendees.

Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Cap is limited to the lesser of 1 person per 4sqm, or 20 people.

(Source: Stay Safe Directions Non-Melbourne #6)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. No cap on numbers is specified so limit to whichever is the lesser of the density requirement of 1 person per 4sqm, maximum of 10 people, or number reasonably required to operate. 

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

As a religious gathering

See Religious Gatherings above.

As a secular activity:

Gatherings of friends and family outdoors in a public space of up to 10 people from different households (babies under 12 months old are not included in this cap).

In homes, up to 20 people.

At church, subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations. Must have COVIDSafe Plan.

Open

Open

Childcare

Childcare and kinder now open with COVIDSafe Plan.

Open

Open

Property

Maintenance

General repairs and maintenance can be undertaken by commercial cleaners, gardening services, commercial contractors, and by volunteers.

Internal and external construction permitted

Must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Open

Open

Singing

DHHS in Victorian have not made a restriction on singing but recommend not doing it as it does have increased risk.

Eliminate/minimise singing where possible. 

Wear facemasks unless exempt.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

 

 

Record Keeping

You must request the first name and contact phone number of the people who have attended (except for essential support groups where confidentiality is required). Records must be kept for 28 days for the purposes of contact tracing. 

Required

Required

COVIDSafe Plan

Every Affiliate that is open must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Required

Required

Baptisms

See Religious Gatherings above but note that Baptism is not specified so err on the side of not baptising indoors. 

Must adhere to restrictions relative to the location. 

Recommend baptism by a member of the same household (1.5 m does not apply).

Do not baptise multiple people in same enclosed water e.g. bath, spa, or pool. 

Masks are useless and dangerous when wet – do not baptise while face is covered – replace mask immediately.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

 

 

Hall hire

Only allowed if hiring out for permitted activities. Err on the side of one group or activity onsite at the facility at a time unless otherwise allowed. Must have a COVIDSafe Plan. Must adhere to density quotient or industry restrictions, whichever is lower.

(Source: Business Victoria hotline)

 

 

Morning tea

Eliminate if possible for now. Consider BYO, or contactless if food is absolutely required. No shared food, utensils, etc. 

(Source: Business Victoria hotline and CCVT advice)

 

 

Communion

Consider BYO, pre-filleddouble cupping, or contactless dispensing if holding communion. No shared food, utensils, etc. 

(Source: CCVT advice)

 

 

ANOTHER LIGHTER SIDE…(YOUR REWARD FOR SCROLLING)

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STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions: 

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on our website: www.churchesofchrist.org.au/home/coronavirus/coronavirus-updates

GENERAL UPDATE TO ALL CCVT AFFILIATES

UPDATE ON SAFE CHURCH AWARENESS WORKSHOPS & TRAINING OPTIONS DURING LOCKDOWN

For a 3 years now, CCVT Affiliates have been participating in the Safe Church Program of the National Council of Churches in Australia with great success. 

Just as our training workshops were getting off the ground for 2020, we were rudely interrupted by the global pandemic.  As a matter of stewardship of people’s time and energy, the decision was made to put in-person training of leaders and volunteers on hold temporarily during the first lockdown until we could meet together again.  Given the personal, family, and organisational pressure facing our churches and agencies, it was thought that this would be the better option, rather than investing in a long online version of the training that many did not have capacity to undertake.  As it turns out, the hiatus hasn’t been as temporary as we first thought, as Victoria and Tasmania experienced border closures and a second wave of lockdowns.

CCVT and other Safe Church Program training providers are looking at a variety of options for running training face to face and online moving forward. Details to come.

Throughout this time ministry has also continued in a new way - moving online, adapting to changing restrictions, and in many places it has created a sense of stronger connection within faith communities.  The need for basic safe places training still exists (and in fact is a requirement in most instances) but we have seen an upturn in the need for additional alternative training such eSafety training, infection control training, and governance training as well.

CCVT itself does not provide this training directly, but rather, we recommend a number of external training providers who are subject matter experts.  We encourage all leaders and volunteers at all Affiliates to consider what training is applicable to their current needs given the shape of ministry in this era.

Many of these online training options for safe places and COVID-19 related topics can be found on our website, but they change and new ones come online frequently so it’s also good to google and see what is out there that may be of use to your situation.

NCCA SAFE CHURCH PROGRAM - CHILD SAFETY FRAMEWORK RESOURCE HUB

The new NCCA Safe Church Program's Child Safety Framework Resource Hub contains not only a selection of the CCVT resources, but also a range from other denominations and movements that are helpful for safe ministry.  

They are arranged to assist in understanding the practices that sit under the 10 National Principles of Child Safe Organisations recommended by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.  The National Principles have a broader scope that goes beyond child sexual abuse to cover other forms of potential harm to children and young people.  

For Victorian Affiliates who are also currently operating under the 7 Victorian Child Safe Standards, there is a lot of overlap between the 10 National Principles and the 7 Victorian Standards. The National Principles are not currently mandated under legislation, and the Commission for Children & Young People does not enforce compliance with them.  The Victorian Government is currently reviewing the Victorian Standards, including considering whether any adjustments should be made to better align with the National Principles. In the meantime, the Victorian Standards are still in operation and remain mandatory for organisations in accordance with the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005. The CCYP continues to enforce compliance with the Victorian Standards.  This means that organisations must continue to comply with the Victorian Standards, unless and until the Victorian Government changes the law.  Click here for more information.

CHILD WISE: 7 ORGANISATIONAL STRATEGIES TO WORK REMOTELY THROUGH A CHILD SAFE LENS

Check out this simple article from Child Wise on 7 Organisational Strategies to Work Remotely Through a Child Safe Lens. Many Affiliates will have already conducted some of the steps, but its good to check back in!  

Child Wise have a number of great resources on their website including some on training options that may be great options for ‘next level training’ for key leaders who have attended a Safe Church Awareness Workshop

CHILDREN’S WEEK: SATURDAY 24 OCTOBER TO SUNDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2020

Children’s Week is an annual event celebrated in Australia. A diverse range of events and activities are organised at National, State and Local levels. Children’s Week celebrates the right of children to enjoy childhood.

During Children's Week, local councils, not-for-profit organisations, schools and early childhood services organise open days, displays, special events, virtual spaces and online-based activities. These focus the attention of the wider community on children, their rights and achievements. 

For more information about how your faith community can participate in Children’s Week visit the Children’s Week Council of Australia.

INFECTION PREVENTION CONTROL RESOURCES

Vic: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/infection-prevention-control-resources-covid-19
Tashttps://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/resources

ADVICE ON TAKING YOUR AGM ONLINE

Many CCVT Affiliates are yet to hold their 2020 AGM.  For those looking to proceed with one online, the following article from Our Community and The Institute of Community Directors Australia (ICDA) is a helpful resource covering the twin themes of good governance and good technology. 

Their free help sheet and web resources cover:

  • AGM essentials and how to prepare for a successful meeting
  • Choosing a tech platform
  • Setting up your virtual AGM
  • Notifying members
  • Conducting a trial run and hosting the meeting
  • Sharing documents and screens
  • Voting
  • Meeting security
  • A case study from a first-time "Zoomer" organisation
  • Extra online resources

Link: https://communitydirectors.com.au/help-sheets/how-to-take-your-agm-online?utm_source=ourcommunity.com.au&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=saveoursector&utm_content=sosedm15

Please note that online meetings may not be for everyone, and some Affiliates may prefer to wait until a reasonable version of an in-person meeting is viable for them.  This is a decision for the governing Board or Leadership Team, but clear communication with the faith community and members is advised. 

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - KEY UPDATES

RESTRICTIONS FROM 11.59PM ON 18 OCTOBER 2020:

From Sunday 11:59pm 18 October 2020 changes are being made to restrictions in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. Metropolitan Melbourne is in Second Step restrictions.

Key changes to restrictions include:

  • You can now travel up to 25 km from your home or permitted workplace within metropolitan Melbourne. This replaces the 5km rule. Travel to regional Victoria is still only allowed for permitted purposes even if this is within 25 kms. This means you cannot travel into regional Victoria for exercise or recreation.
  • You can leave home for any period of time to exercise or see friends and family outdoors. This replaces the 2 hour limit on these activities. There are no limits on the number of times you can leave home.
  • You can meet in a group of up to 10 people from a maximum of 2 households outdoors in a public place to socialise (children under 12 months of age not included in the limit). An outdoor public place means areas accessible to everyone, including local parks and beaches. This replaces the limit of 5 people from a maximum of 2 households.

The COVIDSafe principles still apply:

  • Wear a mask when outside your home (mandatory for people 12 yrs and over)
  • Physical distancing (1.5 metres)
  • Cough and sneeze into tissue or elbow
  • Good hand hygiene – washing and sanitising

Over the coming days more information about the changes to restrictions will be added to Victoria's restriction level page and coronavirus Victoria website.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS MELBOURNE AFFILIATES:  

Here is a simple summary of how the Roadmap steps will affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Metropolitan Melbourne. 

For more info see the full Roadmap to Recovery for Metro Melbourne and the DHHS Religion and Ceremony page for metro Melbourne which gets updated randomly and without clear logic, so check carefully.

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

FIRST STEP:

CURRENT AS OF 

13 SEPTEMBER 

SECOND STEP:

CURRENT AS OF

19 OCTOBER

THIRD STEP:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

LAST STEP:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

COVID NORMAL:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

Worship Services

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

Places of worship closed for indoor worship.

Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies are allowed for up to 5 people plus 1 faith leader, near to the place or worship, with only 1 group permitted at a time. No sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, or other equipment by participants. 25km limit applies. No time limits.

Places of worship open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader.

Outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader allowed.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

Open with a COVIDSafe Plan. 

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

Permitted indoors. Limit of 5 people. 25km limit does not apply. No time limits.

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Weddings

Not permitted except for compassionate reasons, with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Allowed in outdoor public spaces with up to 5 people (including the couple and

two witnesses but notincluding the celebrant).

Allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus infants under 12 months of age and people required to conduct the funeral.

Funerals held in metro Melbourne restricted to 10 mourners (not including infants under 12 months of age) plus people required to conduct the funeral. 

25km limit does not apply. 

You can travel to a funeral outside of metro Melbourne. Restrictions apply based on the location of the funeral.

Allowed with up to 20 people (infants under 12m or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit).

Allowed with 50 people (not

including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral), 20 in

a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Not permitted.

Online only.

Permitted. Outdoor religious gatherings are allowed for up to five people plus one faith leader and near the place of worship. 25km limit. No time limits.

Outdoors: religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed. 

At church: Facilities open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader.

At homes: Only as per ‘household bubble’ rules.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors. 

Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

Work from home. Permits for permitted work only.

Work from home. All Permitted Workers require work permits. All admin functions, even in essential services, need to be undertaken remotely, therefore Church offices are still closed.  The 25km limit does not apply to work.

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can.

Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Ensure single parents/carers and everyone who lives alone, especially socially isolated and elderly people, are included in a

single social bubble so that they can have a visitor at home. Church pastoral carers outside the bubble can only meet with people within 5km and only outdoors. 

End of life: Under Stage 4 restrictions, faith leaders may visit someone in their home on request to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to provide care and support to a person who is at the end of their life.

Ensure single parents/carers and everyone who lives alone, especially socially isolated and elderly people, are included in a single social bubble

Church pastoral carers outside the bubble can only meet with people as per the social gathering restrictions or as per the definition of care and compassion for at home visitation.

Faith leaders may visit someone in their home on request to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) and provide care and support to a person who is at end of life.  

Visitors to the home: create a ‘household bubble’ with 1 nominated household allowing up to 5 visitors from that household

at a time.

Allowed. Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Under Stage 4 restrictions, faith leaders may visit someone in a hospital or care facility to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to those who are at the end of their life, or if it would support a patient or resident with their emotional or mental wellbeing, in line with other visiting restrictions and if this support cannot be provided remotely. Seek case by case advice.

Social/emotional care: limited to 1 visitor at a time. The number and duration of visits should not exceed what is essential for that care.  Speak with other family, friends and carers before you visit to avoid a situation where the visitor limit is exceeded.

End of Life care may be provided to a resident of a care facility or hospital. Contact the facility before visiting as they may have additional requirements, conditions or restrictions,

For those in palliative care, visitors should discuss with the hospital, as special considerations may apply.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Public Gatherings

Increased. Two people or a household can meet outdoors for a maximum of 2 hours. Limited to 5km radius. However, you can choose different people to catch up with outdoors at different times. That means you can choose a different person to exercise with on different days. 

Permitted outdoors:

Up to 10 people from a maximum of 2 households can meet outdoors to socialise (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap) within 25km of home. No time limits.

Increased to up to 10 people outdoors.

No time limit or radius limits.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors.

No time limit or radius limits.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of

attendees.

Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Limited to the lower of 10 people or the number of permitted people under the 4 square metre rule.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Permitted. Limited to the number of permitted people under the 4 square metre rule.

Hospitality: predominantly outdoor seated service, increased group limit of 10 and density limits.

Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

Not permitted.

Online only.

Outdoor religious gatherings of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed. No time limits.

Public gatherings: increased to up to 10 people outdoors

In homes, up to 20 people.

At church, subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Closed except for click and collect/delivery. 

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Closed except for click and collect/delivery.

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Open

Open

Open

Childcare

Closed except for permitted workers.

Childcare open from 28 September and essential worker childcare permits are no longer required. Standalone (sessional) kindergarten programs from Monday 5 October in line with Term 4.

Open

Open

Open

Property

Maintenance

Emergency only

Emergency repairs and maintenance only. Gardening services and landscaping businesses who have an Australian Business Number (ABN) can undertake landscaping and gardening such as mowing, gutter cleaning, tree lopping and general garden maintenance, provided that the work can be conducted entirely outside safely, contact-free, and by one person operating alone at all times. Workers should abide by employers’ COVIDSafe plan.

 

 

 

 

REGIONAL VICTORIA - KEY UPDATES

Regional Victoria remains in Third Step restrictions: 

  • There are no restrictions on the reasons to leave home.
  • There are no restrictions on how far you can travel within Regional Victoria.
  • If you can work from home you must work from home.
  • Face coverings must be worn by all Victorians when they leave home, unless they have a lawful exception.
  • You can only travel to metropolitan Melbourne for permitted work, to seek medical treatment, care and compassionate reasons, or shopping for necessary goods and services. If you go to metropolitan Melbourne for shopping for necessary goods and services, then restrictions that apply to people in metropolitan Melbourne will also apply to you. You should only travel to the nearest provider in metropolitan Melbourne.
  • Pet breeders can deliver pets to their new home (but please consider a rescue pet instead. Look at Cleo, what a cutie!)
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) get tested and stay home. Stay at home if you feel unwell.

From 18 October some restrictions have eased even further, including:

  • You can have up to two people visit you at home each day. Infants under 12 months are not included in this cap, and other dependents can also attend if they cannot be left unattended or cared for in another setting. The two people may be from different households. This replaces the household bubbles.
  • Libraries and toy libraries can open for up to 20 people indoors. No more than 10 people can gather in a space (for example for a class). The one person per four square metre rule, signage, cleaning and record-keeping requirements apply.
  • Outdoor religious gatherings are allowed for up to 20 people plus one faith leader. This replaces the limit of ten people. This includes ceremonies, with no sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment by participants.
  • The limits of people in restaurants and cafes increases. You can have up to 70 people outdoors and up to 10 people per indoor space with a maximum of 40 people per venue indoors. The two and four square metre rules apply. Indoor spaces must be separated by permanent structures (should reach floor to ceiling or be at least 2.1 metres high) or be a discrete area of the premises. Businesses must continue to ensure people from metropolitan Melbourne do not eat-in.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS REGIONAL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES

Here is a simple summary of how the Roadmap steps will affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Regional Victoria. 

For more info see the full Roadmap to Recovery for Regional Victoria and the DHHS Religion and Ceremony page for Regional Victoria.

If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria trumps guidance from CCVT.

 

STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS

FIRST STEP:

DOES NOT APPLY TO REGIONAL VICTORIA

SECOND STEP:

FROM 11:59PM

13 SEPTEMBER 2020

THIRD STEP:

CURRENT AS OF

18 OCTOBER 2020

LAST STEP:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

COVID NORMAL:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

Worship Services

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

 

Closed for indoor on-site worship. Online services only. 

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoors: Religious gatherings for up to 20 people plus a faith leader.  

Indoors: Private worship can be attended by a household and up to 2 visitors, plus a faith leader.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

 

Permitted.

Permitted. Limit of 5people allowed to conduct the service. Those people must wear a face covering at all times, unless you have a lawful exemption. Always keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Weddings

Permitted. Limited to 5 people (including the couple, 2 witnesses and celebrant).

 

Permitted. Limited to 5 people (including the couple, 2 witnesses and celebrant).

Weddings are limited to 10 people including the couple and 2 witnesses. The celebrant and babies under 12 months of age are not included in the cap. 

You cannot travel to or from metro Melbourne to attend a wedding as a guest. 

Allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus people required to conduct the funeral.

 

Allowed with up to 10 people (infants under 1yo or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit).

Funerals are limited to 20 people plus those required to conduct the funeral. Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the 20 person limit.

Allowed with up to 50 people (infants under 1yo or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit). Max of 20 in

a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Not permitted – online only.

 

Permitted outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoors: religious gatherings for up to 20 people plus 1 faith leader are allowed. 

At church: Private worship can be attended by a household and up to 2 visitors, plus 1 faith leader.

At homes: Only as per household visitor rules.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

 

Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

Work from home. 

 

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can. However, if you cannot do your work from home, you can go to work. Must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Work from home if you can. However, if you cannot do your work from home, you can go to work. Must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Permitted only under care and compassionate grounds. No social visits.

 

Visitors to the home: 1 nominated visitor if living alone/single parent.

At home: You can have up to 2 people visit you separately at your home each day. You can only have 1 visitor at a time.  This replaces the household bubbles.

Outdoors: Pastoral care should be conducted outdoors if possible.

Allowed. Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Seek case by case advice from facility.

 

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Public Gatherings

Only with 1 other person. 

 

Up to 5 people from a maximum of 2 households can meet outdoors for social interaction (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap).

Outdoor gatherings in a public space of up to 10 people from different households (babies under 12 months old are not included in this cap).

Outdoor religious gatherings are allowed for up to 20 people plus 1 faith leader. This replaces the limit of 10 people. This includes ceremonies, with no sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment by participants. At church: Private worship can be attended by a household and up to 2 visitors, plus a faith leader.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors.

 

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of

attendees.

Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

 

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less. Must have a COVIDSafe Plan.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

 

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Permitted. Up to 70 people outdoors and up to 10 people per indoor space with a max of 40 people per venue indoors. 

The 4 sqm rule applies indoors and the  and 2 sqm rule applies outdoors. 

Must have a COVIDSafe Plan. If unsure, check with DHHS for your specific situation.

Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

Not permitted – online only.

 

Permitted outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoor religious gatherings are allowed for up to 20 people plus 1 faith leader.

In homes, up to 20 people.

At church, subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

 

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

Open

Open

Childcare

Open

 

Open

Open with safety measures

Open

Open

 

TASMANIA – KEY UPDATES

A MESSAGE FROM ELISE ARCHER, MINISTER FOR BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION: 

An article urging Tasmanian businesses to stay COVID safe.

BORDER RESTRICTIONS IN TASMANIA - TRAVEL FROM 26 OCTOBER 2020

People travelling from Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory who have not spent time in an affected region or premises in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Tasmania will not be required to quarantine on arrival in Tasmania from October 26 based on current Public Health advice.

Border restrictions will remain in place for people travelling from Victoria and NSW and those who have spent time in an Affected Region or Premises until further notice.

People entering the State from identified low-risk jurisdictions will be required to register their travel and contact details via the Tas E-Travel online systems a maximum of 3 days prior to arrival. The registration process will be available via this website from October 23. Travellers who have been in Affected Regions and Premises will still need to apply to enter the State via the G2G PASS system.

Based on current public health advice, people travelling from low-risk jurisdictions from October 26 will be able to continue to transit directly though Victoria or NSW (only stopping for fuel) to Sydney or Melbourne Airport or the Spirit of Tasmania terminal and not be subject to quarantine requirements that apply to that jurisdiction.

Please be aware that the COVID-19 situation in all States and Territories can change at any time requiring restrictions or other measures to be put in place. You should continue to monitor the latest situation at all times prior to your travel.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE…

COVID.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions: 

GENERAL UPDATE TO ALL CCVT AFFILIATES

GOVERNMENT HAS EXTENDED JOBKEEPER FROM OCTOBER TO MARCH 2021

As you probably know, the Government has extended JobKeeper from October to March 2021, with several modifications. You will need to:

  • Check your ongoing eligibility:
      - Sept 2020 qtr. turnover less than 15% of Sept 2019
      - Dec 2020 qtr. turnover less than 15% of Dec 2019
  • Continue reporting as you have been.
  • Work out the reduced amount each employee is entitled to and pay them that each fortnight (Tiers 1 and 2).

 Please action this before the end of the month.

 Below are some notes (and links) on this from the ATO's website:

Tier 1 rate:

Tier 2 rate:

This rate is expected to apply to:

·  eligible employees who worked for 80 hours or more in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and

·  eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 80 hours or more in February and provide a declaration to that effect.

This rate is expected to apply to:

·  any other eligible employees and eligible business participants.

From 28 September 2020, you must do all of the following:

  • work out if the Tier 1 or Tier 2 rate applies to each of your eligible employees and/or eligible business participants and/or eligible religious practitioners
  • notify the Commissioner and your eligible employees and/or eligible business participants and/or eligible religious practitioners what payment rate applies to them; and
  • during JobKeeper Extension 1, ensure your eligible employees are paid at least
      - $1,200 per fortnight for Tier 1 employees
      - $750 per fortnight for Tier 2 employees
  • during JobKeeper Extension 2, ensure your eligible employees are paid at least
      - $1,000 per fortnight for Tier 1 employees
      - $650 per fortnight for Tier 2 employees.

For your eligible religious practitioners, you must provide certain benefits to them in the fortnight.

If you are registered for GST and have outstanding BAS statements, you should lodge your BAS for the September 2019 and December 2019 quarters as soon as possible (or for equivalent months, if you report monthly).

Fall in turnover:

To claim for fortnights in the JobKeeper Extension 1, you need to determine if you satisfy the actual fall in turnover test for the September 2020 quarter, you must calculate your GST turnover for the quarter of September 2019 and September 2020.

We will provide more information soon as to how to undertake this calculation.

For many businesses registered for GST, this calculation will match the ‘total sales’ reported at G1 on your BAS minus GST payable (1A), where applicable.

You can provide additional turnover information to demonstrate that you satisfy the actual fall in turnover test for the September quarter from the start of October onwards. You must provide it before you complete your November monthly declaration.

What doesn't change:

To claim for fortnights in the JobKeeper Extension 1 or 2:

  • You don't need to re-enrol for the JobKeeper extension if you are already enrolled for JobKeeper for fortnights before 28 September.
  • You don’t need to reassess employee eligibility or ask employees to agree to be nominated by you as their eligible employer if you are already claiming for them before 28 September.
  • You don't need to meet any further requirements if you are claiming for an eligible business participant, other than those that applied from the start of JobKeeper relating to:
      - holding an ABN, and
      - declaring assessable income and supplies.

For more information: 

Please see the ATO website or contact the CCVT Finance Team on 03 9488 8800.

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - KEY UPDATES

FACESHIELDS NO LONGER SUFFICIENT PROTECTION ON THEIR OWN 

In Victoria, (and around the world quite frankly), the requirement to wear a face covering has been in place for some time and is expected to remain for a long time.  A face covering means a face mask that covers the nose and mouth. It has now been determined that face shields on their own do not meet the standard of protection required for COVID-19. From 28 September 2020, a face mask will be required.  There are a number of lawful excuses for not wearing a face covering.

SECOND STEP COMMENCED AT 11.59PM ON 27 SEPTEMBER 2020:

During the Second Step, there are only four reasons that you can leave home, and you need to stay local (within 5km from home):

  • shop for food and necessary goods or services
  • provide care, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
  • outdoor exercise or recreation
  • for permitted work or education

There is no longer a curfew in metropolitan Melbourne.  Enjoy your midnight walks!

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS MELBOURNE AFFILIATES:  

Here is a simple summary of how the Roadmap steps will affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Metropolitan Melbourne. 

We have sought the most applicable current advice for each topic, but please note that some areas are not yet specified, and advice may change subject to 'trigger points' being met (such as how many active COVID-19 cases are in the community) and public health advice. The time period must pass AND the number of cases must be low enough to move to the next step. This is a trigger point for public health review.

For more info see the full Roadmap to Recovery for Metro Melbourne and the attached updated pdf.

Please note that the links to specific pages have been deleted as the DHHS are updating their website but I will add them back in as they become available again.  If there is any doubt, please call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances – guidance given by DHHS or Business Victoria supersedes guidance from CCVT.

 

STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS

FIRST STEP:

CURRENT AS OF 

13 SEPTEMBER 

SECOND STEP:

CURRENT AS OF 

28 SEPTEMBER

THIRD STEP:

19 OCTOBER SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

LAST STEP:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

COVID NORMAL:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

Worship Services

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

Places of worship closed, outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies), with no sharing of food, drink or other items by participants of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, nearby to a place of worship, are allowed.

Places of worship open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader.

Outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader allowed.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

Open with a COVIDSafe Plan. 

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

Permitted. 

Limit of 5 people.

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

(Link not currently available)

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Weddings

Not permitted except for compassionate reasons, with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Not permitted except for compassionate reasons, with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Allowed in outdoor public spaces with up to 5 people (including the couple and

two witnesses but notincluding the celebrant)

Allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus people required to conduct the funeral.

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus infants under 12 months of age and people required to conduct the funeral.

Permitted. Allowed with up to 10 people (not including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral)

Allowed with up to 20 people (infants under 12m or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit).

Allowed with 50 people (not

including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral), 20 in

a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Not permitted – online only.

Not permitted.

Online only.

Permitted. Outdoor gatherings of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship, are allowed.

Outdoors: religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed. 

At church: Facilities open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader.

At homes: Only as per ‘household bubble’ rules.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors. 

Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

Work from home. 

Permits for permitted work only.

Work from home. Permits for permitted work only.

Work from home. All Permitted Workersrequire work permits. Church offices are still closed.

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can.

Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Not permitted – online only.

Ensure single parents/carers and everyone who lives alone, especially socially isolated and elderly people, are included in a

single social bubble so that they can have a visitor at home. Church pastoral carers outside the bubble can only meet with people within 5km and only outdoors. 

End of life: Under Stage 4 restrictions, faith leaders may visit someone in their home on request to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to provide care and support to a person who is at the end of their life.

Ensure single parents/carers and everyone who lives alone, especially socially isolated and elderly people, are included in a

single social bubble so that they can have a visitor at home. 

Church pastoral carers outside the bubble can only meet with people within 5km and only outdoors as per public gathering restrictions. Please note the definition of “care and compassion”.

End of life: Under Stage 4 restrictions, faith leaders may visit someone in their home on request to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to provide care and support to a person who is at the end of their life.

(Link not currently available)

Visitors to the home: create a ‘household bubble’ with 1 nominated household allowing up to 5 visitors from that household

at a time.

Allowed. Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Not permitted – online only.

Seek case by case advice

Under Stage 4 restrictions, faith leaders may visit someone in a hospital or care facility to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to those who are at the end of their life, or if it would support a patient or resident with their emotional or mental wellbeing, in line with other visiting restrictions and if this support cannot be provided remotely. Seek case by case advice.

For social/emotional care that cannot be delivered by the health service care team or via electronic or means, 

1 visitor at a time and should not exceed 1 hour or is essential for that care.   

Speak with other family, friends and carers before you visit. This will avoid a situation where the visitor limit is exceeded. 

Seek case by case advice from facility as additional facility restrictions may apply.

Providing End of Life care to a resident of the facility is limited to two visitors at a time, with no limit on duration or number of visits.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Public Gatherings

1 hour exercise limit, and with only 1 other person. 

Limited to 5km radius.

Increased. Two people or a household can meet outdoors for a maximum of 2 hours. Limited to 5km radius. However, you can choose different people to catch up with outdoors at different times. That means you can choose a different person to exercise with on different days. 

Permitted: Up to 5 people from a maximum of 2 households can meet outdoors for social interaction, exercise or recreation (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap) for a maximum of 2 hours and within 5km of their home.

Increased to up to 10 people outdoors.

No time limit or radius limits.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors.

No time limit or radius limits.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of

attendees.

Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

(Link not currently available)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Permitted

Take away or delivery only.

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

(Link not currently available)

Hospitality: predominantly outdoor seated service, increased group limit of 10 and density limits.

Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

Not permitted – online only.

Not permitted.

Online only.

Outdoor religious gatherings of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed. Max of 2 hours.

Public gatherings: increased to up to 10 people outdoors

In homes, up to 20 people.

At church, subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Closed except for click and collect/delivery. 

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Closed except for click and collect/delivery. 

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Closed except for click and collect/delivery. 

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Open

Open

Open

Childcare

Closed except for permitted workers.

Closed except for permitted workers.

Childcare will open from 28 September and essential worker childcare permits will no longer be required. Standalone (sessional) kindergarten programs from Monday 5 October in line with Term 4.

Open

Open

Open

REGIONAL VICTORIA - KEY UPDATES

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 16 September, regional Victoria is moved to the Third Step:

  • There are no restrictions on the reasons to leave home.
  • Stay safe as restrictions ease by washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering when you leave home, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others.
  • Keep your friends and family safe by meeting outdoors. There is a lower risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) between people if you are outdoors. Groups of up to ten people will be able to meet outdoors.
  • Restrictions are easing to allow for cafes, restaurants, beauty and personal care, and some outdoor entertainment venues to open. Restaurants will open in a predominantly outdoor capacity, with a group limit of 10 people, and density limits.
  • You must not travel to metropolitan Melbourne except for permitted work purposes, care and compassionate reasons or shopping for food and supplies, if necessary.
  • Face coverings must be worn by all Victorians when they leave home, unless they have a lawful exception.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) get tested and stay home. Stay at home if you feel unwell.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS REGIONAL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES

Here is a simple summary of how the Roadmap steps will affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Regional Victoria. 

We have sought the most applicable current advice for each topic, but please note that some areas are not yet specified, and advice may change subject to 'trigger points' being met (such as how many active COVID-19 cases are in the community) and public health advice. The time period must pass AND the number of cases must be low enough to move to the next step. This is a trigger point for public health review.

For more info see the full Roadmap to Recovery for Regional Victoria and the attached updated pdf.

 

STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS

FIRST STEP:

DOES NOT APPLY TO REGIONAL VICTORIA

SECOND STEP:

FROM 11:59PM

13 SEPTEMBER 2020

THIRD STEP:

CURRENT AS OF

16 SEPTEMBER 2020

LAST STEP:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

COVID NORMAL:

SUBJECT TO TRIGGER POINTS

Worship Services

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

 

Closed for indoor on-site worship. Online services only. 

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoors: Religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed. 

Indoors: Private worship can only be attended by a household or a household bubble (the household plus up to five people from the nominated household) plus a faith leader.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

 

Permitted.

Permitted. Limit of 5people allowed to conduct the service.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Weddings

Permitted. Limited to 5 people (including the couple, 2 witnesses and celebrant).

 

Permitted. Limited to 5 people (including the couple, 2 witnesses and celebrant).

Weddings are limited to ten people including the couple and two witnesses. The celebrant is not included in the ten person cap. You cannot travel to or from metropolitan Melbourne to attend a wedding as a guest. Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the limit.

Allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus people required to conduct the funeral.

 

Allowed with up to 10 people (infants under 1yo or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit).

Funerals are limited to 20 people plus those required to conduct the funeral. Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the 20 person limit.

Allowed with up to 50 people (infants under 1yo or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit). Max of 20 in

a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Not permitted – online only.

 

Permitted outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoors: religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed. 

At church: Private worship can be attended by a household or a household bubble (the household plus up to five people from the nominated household) plus a faith leader.

At homes: Only as per ‘household bubble’ rules.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

 

Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

Work from home. 

 

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can.

Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Permitted only under care and compassionate grounds. No social visits.

 

Visitors to the home: 1 nominated visitor if living alone/single parent.

Ensure everyone, especially socially isolated and elderly people are included in a single or household social bubble.

Individual pastoral care should be conducted outdoors where possible.

You can go to someone's house if it is an emergency, or for care and compassionate reasons.

Allowed. Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Seek case by case advice from facility.

 

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Public Gatherings

Only with 1 other person. 

 

Up to 5 people from a maximum of 2 households can meet outdoors for social interaction (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap).

Outdoor gatherings have increased to up to 10 people outdoors (babies under 12 months old are not included in this cap).

Indoors at church: Private worship can be attended by a household or a household bubble (the household plus up to five people from the nominated household) plus a faith leader.

At homes: You cannot have visitors to your home who aren’t in your bubble.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors.

 

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of

attendees.

Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

 

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

 

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Permitted

Hospitality: predominantly outdoor seated service, increased group limit of 10 and density limits.

Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

Not permitted – online only.

 

Permitted outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoor religious gatherings are allowed for up to ten people plus one faith leader.

(Same ratios apply to community halls etc)

In homes, up to 20 people.

At church, subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

 

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

Open

Open

Childcare

Open

 

Open

Open with safety measures

Open

Open

TASMANIA – KEY UPDATES

NO CHANGES!

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE…

lighterside.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions: 

 

GENERAL UPDATES TO ALL CCVT AFFILIATES

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR AFFILIATE ORGANISATIONS STRUCTURED AS COMPANIES

Each organisation’s governance model will differ slightly, but a recent development is of interest to the directors of Affiliates structured as companies. 

During what may be a particularly challenging period, churches might well hold reserve funds or have other provisions in place but others, despite their best efforts, do not. 

The federal government has announced a six-month relief period for directors from any personal liability for trading while insolvent. This now extends to 31st December 2020. 

Details of this provision are provided on the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website as follows: https://asic.gov.au/about-asic/news-centre/articles/directors-duties-in-the-context-of-covid-19/

Please contact the CCVT office for assistance if your church or agency is experiencing financial hardship so that we can assist where possible.

E-SAFETY TRAINING WEBINAR FOR LEADERS 

CCVT has arranged for the eSafety Commission to present a webinar addressing the topic of running an online ministry safely, and connecting with children and young people online, specifically for Churches and youth ministries in Victoria.

This free webinar will cover:

  • the current online environment and safe online interactions with children and young people
  • the current technology trends and issues for young people
  • managing risks and supporting young people in a youth group environment
  • resources to help youth leaders.

While focusing on children and young people the content of this webinar will be applicable for leaders of other ministries. Therefore, any leader or volunteer (aged 18 and over) is welcome and encouraged to attend. 

Time: 6.50pm for a 7.00pm start

Registration link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4045912928448899599

After you register you will receive a confirmation email, containing the link you will need to view the webinar. The link that is unique to you, so cannot be forwarded or shared with multiple devices. Please refer to the information in the confirmation email to check that your device is set up correctly.

Please note: Due to copyright permissions on images the Esafety Commission use and the interactive nature of their live webinars, they do not allow distribution or recording of their webinars. Participants must NOT record eSafety webinars.

ONLINE TRAINING OPTIONS COVID-19

The CCVT website has a number of links to various COVID-19 related online training resources that leaders and volunteers may find helpful.  

Check out https://www.churchesofchrist.org.au/home/coronavirus/online-training.

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - KEY UPDATES

END OF LIFE PASTORAL SUPPORT CHANGED … AGAIN

Please note that the DHHS has again changed its position on pastoral care visitation to people at the end of life both in the private home, and in care facilities such as hospitals and aged care

Please ensure that you check with the facility in question prior to visiting anyone in hospital or aged care, as strict conditions apply with regard to who can visit, when, and for how long.  This may differ from location to location so please seek advise on a case by case basis.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS MELBOURNE AFFILIATES:  

Here is a simple summary of how the Roadmap steps will affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Metropolitan Melbourne. 

We have sought the most applicable current advice for each topic, but please note that some areas are not yet specified, and advice may change subject to 'trigger points' being met (such as how many active COVID-19 cases are in the community) and public health advice. The time period must pass AND the number of cases must be low enough to move to the next step. This is a trigger point for public health review.

For more info see the full Roadmap to Recovery for Metro Melbourne.

 

STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS

FIRST STEP:

CURRENT AS OF 

13 SEPTEMBER 

SECOND STEP:

FROM 28 SEPTEMBER

THIRD STEP:

FROM 26 OCTOBER

LAST STEP:

FROM 23 NOVEMBER

COVID NORMAL:

TBA

Worship Services

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

Closed for indoor on-site worship. Online services only. 

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Places of worship open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader.

Outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader allowed.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

Open with a COVIDSafe Plan. 

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

Permitted. 

Limit of 5 people.

Permitted. 

Limit of 5 people.

Permitted. 

Limit of 5 people.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Weddings

Not permitted except for compassionate reasons, with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Not permitted except for compassionate reasons, with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Not permitted except for compassionate reasons, with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus people required to conduct the funeral.

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus infants under 12 months of age and people required to conduct the funeral.

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus infants under 12 months of age and people required to conduct the funeral.

Allowed with up to 20 people (infants under 12m or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit).

Allowed with 50 people (not

including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral), 20 in

a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Not permitted – online only.

Not permitted.

Online only.

Permitted outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoors: religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed. 

At church: Facilities open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader.

At homes: Only as per ‘household bubble’ rules.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors. 

Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

Work from home. 

Permits for permitted work only.

Work from home. 

Permits for permitted work only.

Work from home. 

Permits for permitted work only.

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can.

Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Not permitted – online only.

Ensure single parents/carers and everyone who lives alone, especially socially isolated and elderly people, are included in a

single social bubble so that they can have a visitor at home.

Church pastoral carers outside the bubble can only meet with people within 5km and only outdoors. 

End of life: Under Stage 4 restrictions, faith leaders may visit someone in their home on request to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to provide care and support to a person who is at the end of their life.

Visitors to the home: 1 nominated visitor if living alone/single parent.

Visitors to the home: create a ‘household bubble’ with 1 nominated household allowing up to 5 visitors from that household

at a time.

Allowed. Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Not permitted – online only.

Seek case by case advice

Under Stage 4 restrictions, faith leaders may visit someone in a hospital or care facility to share spiritual ministry (or equivalent religious services) to those who are at the end of their life, or if it would support a patient or resident with their emotional or mental wellbeing, in line with other visiting restrictions and if this support cannot be provided remotely. Seek case by case advice.

Seek case by case advice.

Seek case by case advice.

Seek case by case advice.

Seek case by case advice.

Public Gatherings

1 hour exercise limit, and with only 1 other person. 

Limited to 5km radius.

Increased. Two people or a household can meet outdoors for a maximum of 2 hours. Limited to 5km radius.

However, you can choose different people to catch up with outdoors at different times. That means you can choose a different person to exercise with on different days. 

Up to 5 people from a maximum of 2 households can meet outdoors for social interaction, exercise or recreation (infants under 12m not included in the cap) for a maximum of 2 hours. Limited to 5km radius.

Increased to up to 10 people outdoors.

No time limit or radius limits.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors.

No time limit or radius limits.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of

attendees.

Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Permitted

Take away or delivery only.

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Hospitality: predominantly outdoor seated service, increased group limit of 10 and density limits.

Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

Not permitted – online only.

Not permitted.

Online only.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Public gatherings: increased to up to 10 people outdoors

In homes, up to 20 people.

At church, subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Closed except for click and collect/delivery. 

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Closed except for click and collect/delivery. 

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Closed except for click and collect/delivery. 

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Open

Open

Open

Childcare

Closed except for permitted workers.

Closed except for permitted workers.

Open

Open

Open

Open

REGIONAL VICTORIA - KEY UPDATES

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 16 September, regional Victoria is moved to the Third Step:

  • There are no restrictions on the reasons to leave home.
  • Stay safe as restrictions ease by washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering when you leave home, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others.
  • Keep your friends and family safe by meeting outdoors. There is a lower risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) between people if you are outdoors. Groups of up to ten people will be able to meet outdoors.
  • Restrictions are easing to allow for cafes, restaurants, beauty and personal care, and some outdoor entertainment venues to open. Restaurants will open in a predominantly outdoor capacity, with a group limit of 10 people, and density limits.
  • You must not travel to metropolitan Melbourne except for permitted work purposes, care and compassionate reasons or shopping for food and supplies, if necessary.
  • Face coverings must be worn by all Victorians when they leave home, unless they have a lawful exception.
  • If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) get tested and stay home. Stay at home if you feel unwell.

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS REGIONAL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES

Here is a simple summary of how the Roadmap steps will affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Regional Victoria. 

We have sought the most applicable current advice for each topic, but please note that some areas are not yet specified, and advice may change subject to 'trigger points' being met (such as how many active COVID-19 cases are in the community) and public health advice. The time period must pass AND the number of cases must be low enough to move to the next step. This is a trigger point for public health review.

For more info see the full Roadmap to Recovery for Regional Victoria: www.vic.gov.au/restrictions-roadmap-regional-victoria.

 

STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS

FIRST STEP:

DOES NOT APPLY TO REGIONAL VICTORIA

SECOND STEP:

FROM 11:59PM

13 SEPTEMBER 2020

THIRD STEP:

CURRENT AS OF

16 SEPTEMBER 2020

LAST STEP:

FROM 23 NOVEMBER

COVID NORMAL:

TBA

Worship Services

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

 

Closed for indoor on-site worship. Online services only. 

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoors: Religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed. 

Indoors: Private worship can only be attended by a household or a household bubble (the household plus up to five people from the nominated household) plus a faith leader.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

 

Permitted.

Permitted. Limit of 5people.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Weddings

Permitted. Limited to 5 people (including the couple, 2 witnesses and celebrant).

 

Permitted. Limited to 5 people (including the couple, 2 witnesses and celebrant).

Weddings are limited to ten people including the couple and two witnesses. The celebrant is not included in the ten person cap. You cannot travel to or from metropolitan Melbourne to attend a wedding as a guest. Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the limit.

Allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus people required to conduct the funeral.

 

Allowed with up to 10 people (infants under 1yo or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit).

Funerals are limited to 20 people plus those required to conduct the funeral. Babies under 12 months of age are not included in the 20 person limit.

Allowed with up to 50 people (infants under 1yo or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit). Max of 20 in

a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Not permitted – online only.

 

Permitted outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoors: religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed. 

At church: Private worship can be attended by a household or a household bubble (the household plus up to five people from the nominated household) plus a faith leader.

At homes: Only as per ‘household bubble’ rules.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

 

Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

Work from home. 

 

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can.

Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Permitted only under care and compassionate grounds. No social visits.

 

Visitors to the home: 1 nominated visitor if living alone/single parent.

Ensure everyone, especially socially isolated and elderly people are included in a single or household social bubble.

Individual pastoral care should be conducted outside where possible.

You can go to someone's house if it is an emergency, or for care and compassionate reasons.

Allowed. Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Seek case by case advice from facility.

 

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Permitted but seek case by case advice from facility.

Public Gatherings

Only with 1 other person. 

 

Up to 5 people from a maximum of 2 households can meet outdoors for social interaction (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap).

Outdoor gatherings have increased to up to 10 people outdoors (babies under 12 months old are not included in this cap).

Indoors

 

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors.

 

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of

attendees.

Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

 

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

 

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Permitted

Hospitality: predominantly outdoor seated service, increased group limit of 10 and density limits.

Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

Not permitted – online only.

 

Permitted outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoor religious gatherings are allowed for up to ten people plus one faith leader.

In homes, up to 20 people.

At church, subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

 

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

Open

Open

Childcare

Open

 

Open

Open with safety measures

Open

Open

TASMANIA – KEY UPDATES

CHANGES TO OUTDOOR GATHERING CAPACITY

From next Friday the 25th September 2020, capacity at outdoor events will increase to a maximum of 1000 people. 

Maximum density limits of two square metres of space per person will continue to apply and events must have a thorough COVID safety plan that addresses all the risks of their activities. 

The current maximum of 250 people for an undivided space in an indoor premises remains in place and has not changed.

Please continue to observe the gathering restrictions, maintain appropriate physical distancing, stay home if you are unwell and keep up good hygiene practices as we strive to avoid a second wave of the virus in Tasmania.

For more information on the current restrictions in Tasmania click here.

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

hairsalon.jpg

 

STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions: 

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - KEY UPDATES

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS MELBOURNE AFFILIATES:  

From 11.59pm 13 September 2020 some restrictions will be eased across Victoria, subject to 'trigger points' being met (such as how many active COVID-19 cases are in the community) and public health advice. 

Here is a simple summary of how those changes will affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Metropolitan Melbourne. We have sought the most applicable current advice for each topic, but please note that some areas are not yet specified, and advice may change.  

For more info see the full Roadmap to Recovery for Metro Melbourne.

 

CURRENT STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS

FIRST STEP:

FROM 11:59PM

13 SEPTEMBER 2020

SECOND STEP:

FROM 28 SEPTEMBER

THIRD STEP:

FROM 26 OCTOBER

LAST STEP:

FROM 23 NOV 2020

NORMAL

Worship Services

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

Closed for indoor on-site worship. Online services only. 

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Places of worship open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader.

Outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader allowed.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

Open with a COVIDSafe Plan. 

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Weddings

Not permitted except for compassionate reasons, with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Not permitted except for compassionate reasons, with up to 5 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Permitted. Limited to 5 people (including the couple, 2 witnesses and celebrant).

Allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus people required to conduct the funeral.

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus infants under 12 months of age and people required to conduct the funeral.

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus infants under 12 months of age and people required to conduct the funeral.

Allowed with up to 20 people (infants under 12m or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit).

Allowed with 50 people (not

including infants under 12 months of age or people required to conduct the funeral), 20 in

a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Not permitted – online only.

Not permitted – online only.

Permitted outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoors: religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed. 

At church: Facilities open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader.

At homes: Only as per ‘household bubble’ rules.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors. 

Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

Work from home. 

Permits for permitted work only.

Work from home. 

Permits for permitted work only.

Work from home. 

Permits for permitted work only.

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can.

Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Not permitted – online only.

Visitors to the home: increased to 1 nominated visitor if living alone/single parent.

Consider meeting outdoors if living within 5km if not in single social bubble.

Visitors to the home: 1 nominated visitor if living alone/single parent.

Visitors to the home: create a ‘household bubble’ with 1 nominated household allowing up to 5 visitors from that household at a time.

Allowed. Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Not permitted – online only.

Seek case by case advice

Seek case by case advice.

Seek case by case advice.

Seek case by case advice.

Seek case by case advice.

Seek case by case advice.

Public Gatherings

1 hour exercise limit, and with only 1 other person. 

Limited to 5km radius.

Increased to 2 people or a household that can meet outdoors for a maximum of 2 hours.

Limited to 5km radius.

Up to 5 people from a maximum of 2 households can meet outdoors for social interaction, exercise or recreation (infants under 12m not included in the cap) for a maximum of 2 hours. Limited to 5km radius.

Increased to up to 10 people outdoors.

No time limit or radius limits.

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors.

No time limit or radius limits.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of

attendees.

Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm, or a maximum of 10 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Hospitality: predominantly outdoor seated service, increased group limit of 10 and density limits.

Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

Not permitted – online only.

Not permitted – online only.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Public gatherings: increased to up to 10 people outdoors

In homes, up to 20 people.

At church, subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Closed except for click and collect/delivery. 

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Closed except for click and collect/delivery. 

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Closed except for click and collect/delivery. 

Must have COVID Safe Plan.

Open

Open

Open

Childcare

Closed except for permitted workers.

Closed except for permitted workers.

Open

Open

Open

Open

 

REGIONAL VICTORIA - KEY UPDATES

SUMMARY OF HOW THE ROADMAP AFFECTS REGIONAL VICTORIAN AFFILIATES

From 11.59pm 13 September 2020 some restrictions will be eased across Victoria, subject to 'trigger points' being met (such as how many active COVID-19 cases are in the community) and public health advice. 

Here is a simple summary of how those changes will affect common ministry activities run by Affiliates based in Regional Victoria. We have sought the most applicable current advice for each topic, but please note that some areas are not yet specified, and advice may change.  

For more info see the full Roadmap to Recovery for Regional Victoria: www.vic.gov.au/restrictions-roadmap-regional-victoria

 

CURRENT STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS

FIRST STEP:

DOES NOT APPLY TO REGIONAL VICTORIA

SECOND STEP:

FROM 11:59PM

13 SEPTEMBER 2020

THIRD STEP:

WHEN THRESHOLD MET

LAST STEP:

FROM 23 NOV 2020 OR WHEN THRESHOLDS ARE MET (LATTER)

NORMAL

Worship Services

Closed for on-site worship. 

Online services only.

 

Closed for indoor on-site worship. Online services only. 

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoor religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed. Facilities open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Broadcast Team

Permitted. Limit of 5 people.

 

Permitted.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Permitted.

Weddings

Permitted. Limited to 5 people (including the couple, 2 witnesses and celebrant).

 

Permitted. Limited to 5 people (including the couple, 2 witnesses and celebrant).

Allowed with up to 10 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant).

Allowed with 50 people (including the couple, two witnesses and celebrant), 20 in a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Funerals

Permitted. Limited to 10 mourners plus people required to conduct the funeral.

 

Allowed with up to 10 people (infants under 1yo or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit).

Allowed with up to 20 people (infants under 1yo or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit).

Allowed with up to 50 people (infants under 1yo or people required to conduct the funeral not included in the limit). Max of 20 in

a private residence.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Prayer Groups & Bible Study Groups

Not permitted – online only.

 

Permitted outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Outdoors: religious gatherings for up to 10 people plus a faith leader are allowed. 

At church: Facilities open for private worship for households or social bubbles, plus a faith leader.

At homes: Only as per ‘household bubble’ rules.

Public worship can resume in outdoor and indoor settings subject to density quotient. 

 

Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Workers

Work from home. 

 

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can.

Work from home if you can.

Phased return to onsite work for workers who have been working from home.

Pastoral visitation in private home

Permitted only under care and compassionate grounds. No social visits.

 

Visitors to the home: 1 nominated visitor if living alone/single parent.

Visitors to the home: create a ‘household bubble’ with 1 nominated household allowing up to 5 visitors from that household

at a time.

Allowed. Visitors to the home: increased to up to 20 visitors at a time.

No limits but organisers required to keep records of attendees.

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

Seek case by case advice from facility.

 

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Seek case by case advice from facility.

Public Gatherings

Only with 1 other person. 

 

Up to 5 people from a maximum of 2 households can meet outdoors for social interaction (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap).

Increased to up to 10 people outdoors.

 

Increased to up to 50 people outdoors.

 

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of

attendees.

Essential Support Groups 

(e.g. AA)

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

 

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

Permitted. Must maintain density requirements of 1 person per 4sqm or a maximum of 20 people, whichever is less.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees (subject to privacy).

Essential Support Services 

(e.g. food bank)

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

 

Permitted. 

Take away or delivery only.

Hospitality: predominantly outdoor seated service, increased group limit of 10 and density limits.

Hospitality: indoor (group limit of 20 and seated service, cap 50 patrons), outdoor dining subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Playgroups

Not permitted – online only.

 

Permitted outdoors.

Outdoor gatherings (not ceremonies) of up to 5 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship allowed.

Public gatherings: increased to up to 10 people outdoors

In homes, up to 20 people.

At church, subject to density quotient.

No restrictions but organisers encouraged to keep records of attendees.

Op Shops

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

 

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

Open. Comply with the 4sqm rule, signage and cleaning recommendations.

Open

Open

Childcare

Open

 

Open

Open

Open

Open

 

TASMANIA – KEY UPDATES

NO CHANGES

You’re all good. Enjoy your travel vouchers!  

MASIH CHURCH MELBOURNE

Not many know, but Ps Mohit Sampson of Masih Church Melbourne is a talented and accomplished songwriter and producer of Hindi/Punjabi worship songs. His contemporary tunes are sung all over North Indian churches. Mohit put his music ministry aside to plant the first Hindustani/Punjabi church in Melbourne last 3-4 years, so this is an awesome comeback. If some scenes look like Melbourne, it’s because they are.  Check out his YouTube clip here

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

(Your reward for scrolling all the way to the bottom of this email!)

DoesEveryoneHaveSound.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions: 

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on our website: www.churchesofchrist.org.au/home/coronavirus/coronavirus-updates.   

Please note that the advice has changed significantly as the situation has evolved, but many of the resources are still appropriate and we welcome any suggestions or feedback.

GENERAL UPDATES TO ALL CCVT AFFILIATES

DO WE NEED TO CONTINUE CHECKING OUR ESSENTIAL SAFETY MEASURES AT OUR PROPERTY?

Yes, but because the frequency or type of essential safety measures you can check will vary from stage to stage, and state to state there may be gaps. That’s okay.

Stick to your scheduled maintenance as per the Redbook as much as possible and do what you can from home if restrictions do not allow you to attend the property. 

Your service providers will guide you as to whether they can attend the site to do their checks, so make sure you communicate with them. 

Make notes in your Redbook to clearly explain why some inspections were missed or delayed (e.g. building closed due to Stage 4 restrictions).  

MEDIA COVERAGE OF CROSSCULTURE ASSIST PROGRAM

A good news story from CrossCulture Church of Christ in Melbourne who are providing support to international students, migrant workers, asylum seekers, and refugees. The CrossCulture Assist program (funded in part by a CareWorks COVID Grant) has been getting some great media attention lately and for good reason.

www.facebook.com/assistmelbourne/videos/300941647879361
www.facebook.com/156208604410049/posts/3496570940373782

FREE ACCESS TO THE EMPOWER PROGRAM

The EMPOWER program is designed to help advance Mental Health, strengthen faith and enable emotional wellbeing in times of crisis. The practical strategies and life skills taught in the EMPOWER program are designed to help you to develop emotional resilience, enhance your personal capacity to manage critical incidents, and where applicable, facilitate recovery from high-impact life events. This program draws from the best of empirical research and theological insights to help participants respond to and recover from difficult challenges, personal misfortune or tragedy.

This modified, online edition of EMPOWER, is presented from a Biblical worldview, combining the best of science and scripture. The guide/activity sheet for the first session is attached if you would like to know more.

All members of your organisation and community are eligible to participate in the 12 session educational EMPOWER program. 

Register here: https://empower.peoplecare.global and use this Coupon Code at checkout for FREE access: emp912020

UPDATE ON PASTOR MICHAEL ROJALES - BERWICK CHURCH OF CHRIST

Ps Rob Buckingham (Bayside Church Melbourne) interviews a Pastor Michael Rojales from Berwick Church of Christ about his experience of and recovery from COVID-19 and particularly how to have courageous faith in this time. 

It’s a really interesting and encouraging interview and on behalf of the CCVT movement we wish Michael, his family, and the team at Berwick a full recovery and every blessing.  Watch it here.

PRAYER, COVID-19, AND SOME SOCIAL RESEARCH

We don’t normally include news articles in this email update but this one in the Sydney Morning Herald was an interesting article and a potential encouragement for our churches to realise the power of prayer and family prayer. It’s good to see a positive spin on the pandemic and the effect of church closure – another reminder that church is not just a building! Read the article here.  

COMBINED ONLINE CHURCH SERVICES

York Street Church of Christ and one2one Church are both producing online church services and are willing to buddy up with other churches who aren’t able to broadcast. 

They can incorporate your church family messages, prayer points, special mentions, promote a key event, and point any pastoral care needs back to your team so you don’t lose the personal local connection but still get to worship together – what an awesome way to work as the Body of Christ!

This won’t replace pastoral care, or the community which each church already has, but it may offer an opportunity to sing and connect through Gods word as well as honour the unity of the body of Christ in its different locations. 

Please contact the church of your choice if you would like to discuss this option further.

If you would like to make your services open to other faith communities in this integrated way, please let CCVT so we can promote it.

KIDS MINISTRY CURRICULUM AVAILABLE

We have an exciting initiative from Door of Hope, Launceston!  

Dorothy Roberts (Generations Pastor) has developed a curriculum plan for their Kids Ministry and has generously offered to make this available to other churches to remove the hard work of planning/writing lessons and allow you to focus on the things that matter.

Churches would be able to choose whether they would like to:

  • Live stream the content (this would be site neutral as much as possible);
  • Choose some, or all, of the segments needed. 

One of the drawbacks of many of the curricula that we utilise is that they are US-based content, whereas this is written for the Australian context. As a church, you can decide if you would like to use the video segments made available by Door of Hope or use their planning to create your own content and supplement as needed with the files available from Door of Hope. The plans would include everything that you would need for a 1-hour program and would be fully editable so that you could adjust it to suit your needs. The files would all be available through a One Drive link. 

Their heart is to bless you and to equip churches so that they can disciple kids and families without spending undue time on planning. This gift would be available immediately (free of charge) as they realise the pressures all churches have faced this year and they want to support in any way that they can.

Please find attached an example of a session plan so that you can see what would be provided:

as well as a YouTube link to one of the sessions

We are incredibly grateful to Dorothy and the Door of Hope team for this very generous offer and commend the program to you and your staff/volunteers for your consideration.

If you are interested in this, please email Anna Nyhuis, CCVT Generations Consultant at anyhuis@churchesofchrist.org.au for more information. 

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - STAGE 4 KEY UPDATES

SUMMARY OF STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS - RELIGION AND CEREMONY

The Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has a webpage dedicated to explaining the Stage 4 restrictions that relate to Religion and Ceremony. Bookmark this page: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony-metropolitan-melbourne-covid-19

Victoria’s State of Emergency has been extended until 11.59pm on Sunday 13 September 2020.

Victoria's State of Disaster is in place until Sunday 13 September 2020. This gives police and emergency services more powers to make sure people comply with public health directions.

WHAT ARE THE PERMITTED ACTIVITIES WE CAN DO AT RUN AT THE CHURCH PROPERTY?

Places of worship may only open for:

  • permitted funerals;
  • broadcast of ceremonies (with a maximum of five people); or
  • an essential public support service (such as a food bank or a service for homeless persons); or
  • essential support groups (such as those related to alcohol and drugs, family violence and parenting), with a maximum of 10 people.

CAN A FAITH LEADER VISIT SOMEONE AT HOME FOR THEIR LAST RITES?

No. Under Stage 4 restrictions faith leaders cannot visit someone in their home for last rites or to perform other religious ceremonies in person. Last rites and religious ceremonies can be provided using video or livestreaming.

Please note that this does not mean you cannot provide this type of pastoral care; it just means you have to do it in a different way which limits physical contact and keeps people safer.  You can still be a blessing to individuals and families.  

CAN A FAITH LEADER VISIT SOMEONE AT A HOSPITAL/CARE FACILITY FOR THEIR LAST RITES?

Maybe! This one has changed multiple times and it may still be a bit confused, so best to check with the relevant facility before you attend.

According to the DHHS web page for restrictions on religion and ceremonies in metropolitan Melbourne, it is now a firm no, as under Stage 4 restrictions, faith leaders cannot visit someone in a hospital or care facility for last rites or to perform other religious ceremonies in person. Last rites and religious ceremonies can be provided using video or livestreaming.

Confusingly, according to the DHHS web page on visiting care facilities under the section “Who can visit people in care facilities?” it says yes, people can attend a hospital or aged care facility “for providing essential physical or emotional and social care that can’t be delivered by the care team or via electronic or non-contact means (and) … for attending a dying resident or providing end of life support to a resident of the facility.  

The DHHS webpage which outlines reasons to leave your house also defines caregiving and compassionate reasons as including “to visit someone in an aged care facility, disability accommodation or other residential care facility, provided you comply with the Care facilities direction” (and) “to visit someone in hospital, provided that visit conforms to the Hospital visitor direction”.

So, we can see that there may be a different answer to the question depending on who you are, how it is asked, and who is answering. Either way there are very strict limitations on who, how many, and when, a visit may take place in a hospital or aged care facility so if this type of pastoral support is requested, and cannot be delivered remotely via phone or video, please seek advice that is specific to your situation.  

The ultimate goal for these restrictions is to keep everyone safer by minimising our physical exposure to others as much as possible – let’s try to do our best to achieve that while also providing the love and care. The two are not mutually exclusive.

SECURITY AND PROPERTY ADVICE FROM VICTORIA POLICE

Considerations for Church Members Personal Safety & Premises Security as part of Escalation of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic:

With the evolving situation in regard to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Victoria Police continues to provide services to all of the community.

With this in mind we ask that Church Members consider the following in conjunction with the Victoria Police Business Security Kit information:

  • Review of the premises physical security including all doors and windows.
  • Removal of all cash and items of value including Laptops from the premises.
  • Installation of a monitored security alarm system and surveillance cameras to deter offenders and assist police to identify offenders.
  • Prominently display signs indicating the presence of a security system and other measures such as ‘No cash kept on premises’; CCTV constantly monitoring premises.’

Victoria Police will continue to work with you throughout this situation.

For information on the current coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, call the dedicated DHHS hotline on 1800 675 398.

For immediate police attendance, call Triple Zero (000).

CAN I LEAVE HOME TO UNDERTAKE EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE OF A PROPERTY OTHER THAN MY PLACE OF RESIDENCE?

Yes, you may leave your home to undertake these duties, however, physical distancing should be maintained by keeping 1.5 metres between you and anyone else on site. You should keep your time at the property to a minimum and wear a face covering.

Emergency repairs are urgent repairs, which must be undertaken to keep members of the household safe, to prevent members of the household from injury, to prevent property damage or damage to goods, or for urgent repair to an essential service (for example a water connection or internet service).  

Routine maintenance like cleaning gutters or mowing a lawn are not permitted. 

CAN I PICK UP MAIL FROM THE POST OFFICE?

Yes, you can leave home to collect your mail from a post box or from a post office.

WHO ISSUES THE WORKER PERMITS?

Your church or agency must issue the worker permits for its staff and volunteers who are leaving their home for the permitted work activities (i.e. CCVT don’t issue them to Affiliates). 

Decide locally who can sign them on behalf of your organisation (e.g. operations manager, senior pastor, chair of the board, administrator, church secretary etc) and make sure that person is available to verify a permit is legitimate if required.  

You can find all the info regarding worker permits here.

REGIONAL VICTORIA - STAGE 3 KEY UPDATES

STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS

The Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has a webpage dedicated to explaining the Stage 3 restrictions that relate to Religion and Ceremony. Bookmark this page: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony-regional-victoria-covid-19

Victoria’s State of Emergency has been extended until 11.59pm on Sunday 13 September 2020.

Victoria's State of Disaster is in place until Sunday 13 September 2020. This gives police and emergency services more powers to make sure people comply with public health directions.

SECURITY AND PROPERTY ADVICE FROM VICTORIA POLICE

Considerations for Church Members Personal Safety & Premises Security as part of Escalation of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic:

With the evolving situation in regard to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Victoria Police continues to provide services to all of the community.

With this in mind we ask that Church Members consider the following in conjunction with the Victoria Police Business Security Kit information:

  • Review of the premises physical security including all doors and windows.
  • Removal of all cash and items of value including Laptops from the premises.
  • Installation of a monitored security alarm system and surveillance cameras to deter offenders and assist police to identify offenders.
  • Prominently display signs indicating the presence of a security system and other measures such as ‘No cash kept on premises’; CCTV constantly monitoring premises.’

Victoria Police will continue to work with you throughout this situation.

For information on the current coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, call the dedicated DHHS hotline on 1800 675 398.

For immediate police attendance, call Triple Zero (000).

DO WE NEED A WORKER PERMIT UNDER STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS?

No, this only applies to those staff and volunteers who are under Stage 4 restrictions.  

ARE PLACES OF WORSHIP OPEN?

Under stage 3 restrictions, all places of worship of all denominations are closed for private worship or religious ceremonies.  You can use the property for the following events only:

  • Ceremonies and services can still be recorded or broadcast live from the place of worship for viewing online. Those who are necessary to conduct the ceremony may be on site to record and live stream services, however this is limited to a maximum of five people. You should ensure those people wear a face covering and maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between each other at all times.
  • Places of worship may be opened for the purposes of conducting weddings or funerals, but there are strict limits on the number of people who can attend.
  • Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services such as food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities. Face coverings must be worn and appropriate physical distancing is maintained by keeping at least 1.5 metres between everyone at all times.

(Source: DHHS)

TASMANIA – KEY UPDATES

STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED

Premier Peter Gutwein has announced that Tasmania’s State of Emergency has been extended until 26 October 2020 to protect against the threat of a COVID-19 emergency occurring in Tasmania. This will also allow further time to review the ongoing threat posed to Tasmania, particularly from Victoria but also other states. At the end of October, they will conduct a review for the appropriate course of action dependent on the situation at that time as we move towards 1 December - the date we will look to relax our borders. See the full statement here.

Nothing else has really changed so…as you were!

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

(Your reward for scrolling all the way to the bottom of this email!)

baptise.jpg

STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions: 

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on our website: www.churchesofchrist.org.au/home/coronavirus/coronavirus-updates.   

Please note that the advice has changed significantly as the situation has evolved, but many of the resources are still appropriate and we welcome any suggestions or feedback.

Today’s update focuses on some of the frequently asked questions that have been coming in.  

The advice given to us by the DHHS and Business Victoria is updated frequently as various organisations seek clarification on particular scenarios. Please ask as many questions as you need to, as it helps form their advice to us and all the other faith communities who are trying to do the right thing in implementing the current restrictions.  The advice from the Tassie Health Dept doesn’t update quite as frequently thank goodness!

One of the great blessings of being part of a really diverse movement of churches and agencies is that we can share our resources and learn from each other’s experiences.  This is why we encourage you all the share your stories, ideas, and questions about ministry during a pandemic – it is such a great way to inspire and encourage each other but it is also a way to work smarter not harder.  

Speaking of NOT working smarter, please note that my previous email had a typo in the email address () so if you sent your COVID Safe Plan or an enquiry in over the last week and did not get a response, please resend it to safeplaces@churchesofchrist.org.au.   

GENERAL UPDATES TO ALL CCVT AFFILIATES

SHARING OUR COVID SAFE PLANS

CCVT encourages all Affiliates to share their COVID Safe Plans to assist each other in implementing practical and contextual safeguarding measures. It doesn’t matter where we are geographically located, or which templates you have used, each of our churches and agencies are working towards the same goal.    

Part of the planning process is to keep reviewing and updating, so it’s ok if yours isn’t perfect yet!

If you are happy to make your plan available to other Affiliates, or would like to see some other samples, please email safeplaces@churchesofchrist.org.au.   

Feel free to de-identify them if preferred.

TRANSLATED RESOURCES

Please keep ensuring you are circulating the most up to date COVID-19 information in the languages used within your local community.

Victorian translated resources

Tasmanian translated resources

FACE COVERINGS 

Tassie Affiliates are not required to wear face coverings but are invited to do so in solidarity with their Victorian brethren!  Quite frankly, not wearing a face mask is soooo last year….

All Victorians must wear a face covering when leaving home unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. More information is available on the DHHS website and here is a training video on safely putting face masks on and taking them off

You can buy face masks online, or follow these instructions on how to make you own face mask, or contact one of the following churches who are producing a gorgeous array of cloth masks that will keep even the most fashion conscious happy!

TO AGM OR NOT AGM?

Many Affiliates have postponed their 2020 AGM, but it may still be a while before we return to normal meetings so please consider your ability to have an online meeting via video or phone conference. 

If your organisation is considering this, read some tips for holding meetings remotely to assist.

If you are unable to hold your meeting at this time due to government requirements on physical distancing, the ACNC recommends you:

  • advise or consult with members on the reasons for the postponement
  • document the reason why the meeting did not occur or could not occur digitally
  • use alternative ways to communicate the information that it would have provided at that meeting to members
  • schedule a future date for the meeting (even if this has to be amended again later).

Most church constitution don’t unequivocally state that attendees must be physically in the room, but you should check the requirements and word your advice to members accordingly.

Sick of reading and just want to watch and listen? Check out this webinar on AGMs in a Time of Social Isolation.

Source: https://communitydirectors.com.au/help-sheets/agm-during-covid-19

A MESSAGE FROM CHURCHES OF CHRIST IN WA

All of us in WA are sending you our thoughts and prayers. One of our churches had a planned celebration for most of our restrictions being lifted. They have postponed it saying, “how can we celebrate when our ‘family’ are doing it tough in Victoria” and specifically prayed for those in Victoria. 

So please be assured of our prayers and thoughts for you. 

God’s peace, wisdom and strength,

John Hutchinson (Interim Executive Minister)
Churches of Christ in WA

RECORD KEEPING

To support contact tracing, churches and agencies must request that each person who attends the premises for more than 15 minutes (including staff) provide:

  • First name
  • Phone number
  • Date and time at which the person attended the facility

Pens used to record details should be wiped with an alcohol wipe between users.

Records can be kept electronically or in hard copy. Records should be kept for 28 days in Vic and 21 days in Tas. 

The record keeping requirement applies to all persons attending a facility or venue for longer than 15 minutes, which may include staff, customers, maintenance and delivery workers. 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE - A STAGE 3.9999999 AND 3/4 MELBOURNE WEDDING!

Congratulations to Cameron & April who were married by CCVT Pst Lou Di Lorenzo, Associate Pastor Families for CrossCulture Church of Christ. 

They had been waiting to get married since April, so Lou married them at Albert Park Baptist Church less than 12 hours before the Stage 4 ban on weddings came into effect in metro Melbourne!

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METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - STAGE 4 KEY UPDATES

SUMMARY OF STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS - RELIGION AND CEREMONY

If you live in metropolitan Melbourne:

  • You cannot travel to a wedding outside of metropolitan Melbourne.
  • You cannot book or hold a wedding within or outside metropolitan Melbourne, even if it has previously been booked.
  • Places of religion and worship must close for both religious ceremonies and private worship, but those who are necessary to stream a service can attend for these purposes. This is limited to up to five people.
  • Funerals held in metropolitan Melbourne will be limited to 10 mourners plus those required to conduct the funeral. You can travel to a funeral outside of metropolitan Melbourne.
  • You must maintain your physical distance of 1.5 metres from others and wear a face covering.

The Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has a webpage dedicated to explaining the Stage 4 restrictions that relate to Religion and Ceremony. Bookmark this page: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony-metropolitan-melbourne-covid-19

ALLOWABLE ACTIVITIES

Your church/agency can only conduct a limited number of events/activities on-site:

  • conduct a funeral (10 mourner plus those required to conduct the funeral)
  • run an essential public support service such as food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities (limited to those required to conduct the activity)
  • broadcast a church service (maximum 5 people on site)

Please ensure a face covering is worn and appropriate physical distancing is maintained by keeping at least 1.5 metres between everyone at all times unless an exemption applies.

PERMITTED WORKER SCHEME FOR METRO MELBOURNE

All church workers who are leaving their home for church/agency work must be issued a work permit by your organisation - this is the employer’s responsibility. 

Download the Permitted worker permit (Word).  If you are not sure if you need one, err on the side of caution and get it.

CAN I GO TO THE CHURCH TO MAKE IT SECURE?

Yes, and it is important to make sure your church/agency property secure as we have seen an increase in burglaries.  Please ensure that musical equipment, laptops, data projectors, cash and other valuables are removed from the property.  Check that storage sheds and external doors are also secure.  

You must issue a Workers Permit to whoever is going to the church for this purpose.

CAN I PICK UP THE MAIL FROM THE POST OFFICE BOX?

Yes, it is considered to be one of the “necessary goods and services” that you are allowed to leave home for between 5am-8pm. Please ensure that a Workers Permit has been issued.

CAN I PICK UP THE MAIL FROM THE CHURCH LETTERBOX?

Yes, please ensure that a Workers Permit has been issued.

CAN A FAITH LEADER VISIT A RESIDENT AT A CARE FACILITY TO PROVIDE SUPPORT?

Yes, you can visit a person in a care facility to provide support to a dying person or providing essential care and support necessary for the patient’s physical, emotional or social wellbeing that cannot be delivered by the health service care team or via electronic or means. 

You will also need to meet the limits and requirements of the facility itself, which may vary. Please check the requirements with the facility concerned.  Worker Permit must be issued.

EMPLOYERS MUST NOTIFY WORKSAFE VICTORIA IF AN EMPLOYEE RECEIVES A POSITIVE COVID-19 DIAGNOSIS

Short-cut summary version: If someone at your church/agency gets COVID-19 tell WorkSafe immediately.

Medium level of interest version: From 29 July 2020, Victorian organisations are required to notify WorkSafe immediately if an employee has a confirmed coronavirus diagnosis and had attended the workplace within the infectious period. This includes people who are self-employed and contractors who may have attended a worksite during their infectious period. It doesn’t apply if that person has been working from home the whole time. The requirement will be in force for 12 months.  

Deep dive explanation for the devout: www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/notifiable-incidents-involving-coronavirus-covid-19

WE HAVE LESS THAN 5 WORKERS – ARE WE STILL REQUIRED TO COMPLETE A COVID SAFE PLAN?

A COVID Safe Plan is not required for organisation with less than 5 workers BUT please note that “workers” includes both paid staff and volunteers, so it’s not the loophole you might have hoped for once you count your employees, board members, volunteer leaders, etc! 

Even if you really do have less than 5, it is recommended to do a plan anyway.

REGIONAL VICTORIA - STAGE 3 KEY UPDATES

STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS

The Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has a webpage dedicated to explaining the Stage 3 restrictions that relate to Religion and Ceremony. Bookmark this page: www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/religion-and-ceremony-regional-victoria-covid-19

ARE WE REQUIRED TO HAVE A COVID SAFE PLAN IN REGIONAL VICTORIA?

No, but COVID Safe Plans are strongly recommended for all Affiliates regardless of size, activities or geographical location.  It is not hard to do, and it is anticipated that you will be required to do it soon anyway, so get a head start. 

ARE WE REQUIRED TO ISSUE WORKER PERMITS IN REGIONAL VICTORIA?

No.  This does not apply to you.  You should stay at home unless you need to go out for one the 4 allowed reasons.

CAN WE MEET IN SMALL GROUPS AT A HOME?

No. You cannot have social visitors to your home 

There are only four reasons to leave home – shopping for necessary goods or services, care or caregiving, exercise or outdoor recreation, and work and education if you can’t work or study from home. Otherwise, you must stay home  

If you are leaving home for one of the four reasons, you can only undertake activities in public places with one other person or the members of your household 

You cannot make social visits to friends and family.

CAN A FAITH LEADER VISIT A RESIDENT AT A CARE FACILITY TO PROVIDE SUPPORT?

Yes, you can visit a person in a care facility to provide support to a dying person or providing essential care and support necessary for the patient’s physical, emotional or social wellbeing that cannot be delivered by the health service care team or via electronic or means. 

You will also need to meet the limits and requirements of the facility itself, which may vary. Please check the requirements with the facility concerned

TASMANIA – KEY UPDATES

STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS

The Tas Govt has a webpage dedicated to explaining the Stage 3 restrictions that relate to the current restrictions in Tasmania. Bookmark this page: https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/families-community/current-restrictions

Recently much of the focus has been on our Victorian situation, but let’s remember the hard work being done in Tassie as well.  The restrictions may be lighter, but many of our ministries are still impacted. 

  • You are encouraged to continue to work from home if it works for you and your employer. For example, office workers should be encouraged to work from home to help with physical distancing measures and limit the contact between people.
  • Gatherings at households – including shacks – are limited to up to 20 people at any one time, not including residents of the household. You should not visit others or have visitors to your home if you are unwell.
  • Gatherings are limited by a maximum density limit. The maximum density limit aims to prevent the crowding of people in a space. A premises must not have a density of more than 1 person per 2 square metres of floor space. This means an operator must not allow people to enter or stay on the premises (indoor or outdoor) if the size of the premises is insufficient to allow for 2 square metres of space for each person. 
  • As part of the ‘Rebuild a Stronger Tasmania’ plan, all workplaces are required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that complies with minimum COVID-19 safety standards. The Direction for COVID-19 Workplace Plans sets the minimum standards for workplaces to be COVID Safe. Your Safety Plan is a great way to show how you are keeping your participants, your workers and your community safe.  See the WorkSafe Tas Guidelines for Weddings and Religious Services . Other industry templates and guides may also be useful to you depending on the types of ministries being run. Check out the full list here.

MINIMUM STANDARDS

The Director of Public Health has issued a Public Health Direction to manage the threat to public health posed by the spread of COVID 19 in workplaces. The Direction sets out the minimum standards that businesses need to meet to manage the risk of COVID19 spreading and protect both workers and customers. Tassie Affiliates must implement measures to achieve the minimum standards and must also document these measures – this forms your COVID Safety Plan and it is a great way for you to document measures and show how you are keeping your community safe.

The new minimum standards require a workplace to:

  • manage the risks of a person contracting or spreading COVID-19 in the workplace
  • implement and maintain a cleaning schedule across the workplace
  • have good hygiene procedures and practices (such as washing and/or sanitising of hands)
  • ensure workers who have been instructed to quarantine or self-isolate don’t come to the workplace
  • make sure physical distancing requirements are met by workers, contractors and others entering, leaving or moving around the workplace.
  • provide information, training and supervision on how the risks of COVID-19 are to be managed and ensure all processes and procedures are applied by the workers.
  • provide information and instruction to other people who attend the workplace about how they are to comply with your processes and procedures, and make sure they apply them
  • all information, recommendations, directions and guidance materials relevant to the workplace (obtained from reputable sources) is reviewed regularly to ensure the control measures implemented are appropriate
  • entry into the workplace is managed and controlled in a reasonable manner if someone is suspected of showing symptoms of COVID-19, or of being exposed to COVID-19 within the preceding 14 days, or being diagnosed with COVID-19
  • any workplace records that would assist with notifying people who enter/leave the workplace of any potential exposure to COVID-19 must be kept for at least 21 days.

Employers must ensure that the above measures remove or reduce the risk posed by COVID-19 as far as is reasonably practicable and those measures are recorded in writing.

WorkSafe Tasmania has also developed templates to help small and medium businesses to prepare their COVID Safety Plans. Keep your completed plans/checklist at your workplace: you do not need to submit them to WorkSafe

RECORD KEEPING

While not mandatory, any records your workplace can practically keep on the flow of people into the workplace will assist public health authorities should there be a positive case identified within your workplace. 

Consider how records are kept on people in the workplace each day to support contact tracing if there is a positive case in your workplace. 

If possible, collect contact details, such as phone numbers given at the time of making bookings or upon entry to the facility. All such records should be kept for a minimum of 21 days.

CAN A FAITH LEADER VISIT A RESIDENT AT A CARE FACILITY TO PROVIDE SUPPORT?

In Tasmania, visits to residential aged care facilities are permitted for people providing care and support, with the following restrictions:

  • No more than two people can visit each resident at any time.
  • Visits must take place in the resident’s room, outdoors, or in a non-communal area, as designated by the facility.
  • Visitors must not have any symptoms of acute respiratory infection, including fever (higher than 37.5 degrees), history of fever (e.g. chills, night sweats), cough, sore throat, runny nose or shortness of breath.
  • Visitors must not have been interstate or overseas in the previous 14 days.
  • Visitors must not have had contact with anyone known to have COVID-19, or reasonably suspected of having COVID-19, within the previous 14 days (except as part of their employment while wearing effective personal protective equipment).
  • All visitors must have had the 2020 influenza vaccine.

People wanting to visit an aged care facility to provide end-of-life support as a significant person to a resident can seek exemption from restrictions 4–6 above. Any person seeking an exemption must apply by email to covid.response@health.tas.gov.au detailing who they seek to visit, when and why.

STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions: 

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on our website: www.churchesofchrist.org.au/home/coronavirus/coronavirus-updates.   

Please note that the advice has changed significantly as the situation has evolved, but many of the resources are still appropriate and we welcome any suggestions or feedback.

Dear CCVT Affiliates,

What a roller coaster of a week! Thank you for all the positive encouragement as we sort through all the restrictions and work out how to run ministry safely within them.

There are some activities and jobs that we simply cannot do at this time, no matter how valuable it is, but for now we must put them on hiatus.   

Even under Stage 3 and Stage 4, there are still many ways to care for people, worship together, and keep sharing the love of Jesus with our community – we just need to think a little bit more strategically about we do it.  I don’t mean looking for loopholes - I mean finding safer alternatives and ways to achieve the same goal, even if it looks a bit different for a season!  It is important top keep up to date with the latest advice as it is constantly being amended.  

I draw your attention to some important changes below, particularly in relation to providing care:

METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE - STAGE 4 KEY UPDATES

STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS

If you live in metropolitan Melbourne, Stage 4 restrictions apply.

As much as you can, you must stay at home. When you leave home, you must use a face covering, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so.

You can read all about the joys of Stage 4 here: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/stage-4-restrictions-covid-19. More info gets added all the time so keep checking back.

WHAT PROGRAMS OR ACTIVITIES ARE WE ALLOWED TO DO AT CHURCH?

Under the Stage 4 restrictions, only Permitted Work Premises may operate with on-site operations during the restricted activity period in the Restricted Area, and only to the extent permitted. 

Places of Worship are currently only allowed to operate for “permitted funerals, hosting an essential public support service, broadcast (with restrictions)”

(Source: Permitted Work Premises List for the purposes of the Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Area) (No 6), effective as at 5 August 2020 from 11.59pm (version 1.0).)

Permitted funerals = Funerals are limited to 10 people

Hosting an essential public support service = Food banks, soup kitchens, and homelessness services (although we anticipate further examples may be added)

Broadcast (with restrictions) = Broadcasting church services is permitted. A maximum of 5 people can attend the church to conduct and broadcast the service – this includes everyone involved in the production of the service.

Please note, the Permitted Work Premises List is expected to be updated and amended. We will endeavour to keep you informed of the changes that affect churches and agencies.  Please ensure you are looking at the latest version of the list when considering if your activity meets the criteria.

COVID SAFE PLAN

All Affiliates who are operating under Stage 4 restriction MUST have a COVID Safe Plan focused on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace.  

This is required to be completed by 11:59pm on Friday 7th August 2020. Failure to comply could result in an on the spot fine of up $9,913 and up to $20,000 for serious offences.

CCVT encourages all Victorian and Tasmanian Affiliates to have a COVID Safe Plan regardless of location, size, or activities being undertaken.

Your COVIDSafe Plan must set out:

  • Your actions to help prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
  • The level of face-covering or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce
  • How you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
  • This plan must demonstrate how you will meet all of the requirements set out by the Victorian Government. Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional requirements of employers and employees.

Religious services and places of worship fit under the “other services” category when looking at the templates.  For more information, see the COVID Safe FAQ page or the Business Victoria website and hotline provide information on restrictions and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19). Call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.

Click on the following for a COVID Safe Plan template, Guidance Sheet, and a Workplace Attendance register.  

PERMITTED WORKER SCHEME FOR METRO MELBOURNE

All church workers (paid or unpaid) must work from home unless they are attending the church/agency to conduct a funeral, run an essential public support service, or broadcast a church service. No other activities or work reasons work meets the definition of allowable on-site activities. 

All Workers who are leaving their home for church/agency work must be issued a work permit by your organisation - this is the employer’s responsibility. 

Pastors/Ministers of Religion are not considered “essential workers” and therefore must only be issued a work permit by your organisation if they will be leaving their home for the allowed work purposes.  

Download the Permitted worker permit (Word).

WHAT ARE THE ‘CARE OR COMPASSIONATE REASONS’ FOR BEING ABLE TO LEAVE MY HOME? 

Under Stage 4 restrictions you may leave your home for any of the following personal reasons:

  • to visit a doctor or other health professional or care service, or to obtain medical supplies
  • to donate blood
  • if you have shared parenting obligations and need to transport children between homes, under an informal or court-ordered arrangement
  • to provide child-minding services at someone’s home because that person is a permitted worker and doesn’t have anyone else in the household who can supervise their children
  • if you are the parent or guardian of a child and you wish to visit the child because they are in the care of another person or organisation, or you have obligations in relation to the care and support of the child
  • to provide childcare or early childhood education or schooling to a child who lives in the care of the State or family or family violence service
  • if you have carer responsibilities, for example, picking up or dropping off children in a foster care or respite care arrangement
  • to drop off or pick up a child at personal or private childcare, early childhood education facility or school, as permitted
  • to provide care and support to a relative or other person – such as shopping, cooking or house-cleaning – because of their old age, infirmity, disability, sickness or chronic health condition, they are pregnant or have health or mental health concerns
  • to visit someone in an aged care facility, disability accommodation or other residential care facility, provided you comply with the Care facilities direction
  • to visit someone in hospital, provided that visit conforms to the Hospital visitor direction
  • if there is family violence, or violence by another person in the home, and you are at risk. If you are stopped by police, tell them you are feeling unsafe at home and they will help you. Safe accommodation and support for family violence is available. Call safe steps on 1800 015 188 or email safesteps@safesteps.org.au for help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

(Source: DHHS)

I AM CARING FOR AN ELDERLY PARENT/FRIEND WHO LIVES ALONE. CAN I VISIT THEM TO PROVIDE CARE?

Yes. You can visit to provide care, but you should not be visiting your elderly parent or friend for a social visit. This is not one of the permitted reasons to leave home. You should keep in touch by calling, using social media or video calls.

Ministers/Pastoral Carers should conduct pastoral care online or over the phone as much as possible – it is essential that we reduce physical contact with one another in order to stop the spread of infection.  No one is happy about it; no one thinks it is going to produce the same level of quality care; and no one intends this to be the permanent way we do it.  But - it is important that we do it this way, for this season, for the greater good.

  • If you are preparing meals or providing other help for an elderly person, be mindful of the risks of transmitting coronavirus (COVID-19). Older people and those with chronic illness are especially vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • If you are delivering meals, think about leaving a package on their doorstep without making physical contact. 
  • Do not visit if you are unwell. 
  • You must maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others and practice good hygiene at all times.
  • Wear your mask/face covering.
  • If you are doing cleaning chores or other housework, think about having them sit somewhere comfortable away from you while you work, so you are not in close contact.
  • Make sure they are feeling well and ask them if they have enough of their regular medications whenever you visit. 
  • If you are concerned about a person in your faith community, please ensure that your visit meets the allowed criteria for leaving your home. For church workers doing visitation as part of their role, this will mean you are required to have work permit.
  • It is also important to consider other ways that person can access the support they need in a way that does not require you or them to leave home, e.g. helping set up home delivery of groceries, telehealth appointments etc.  If you are the only person providing care, then set up a wider support network.  

CAN MINISTERS VISIT PEOPLE IN HOSPITAL FOR END OF LIFE PASTORAL CARE?

Yes, but make sure you have your workers permit with you and comply with the requirements of the facility you are visiting.

ARE WE ALLOWED TO DROP OFF FOOD/MEALS TO PEOPLE’S HOMES AS PART OF OUR FOOD PROGRAM?

  • Yes, but you will require a workers permit to undertake this role.  
  • The 5km limit doesn’t apply to workers, so you may deliver to people further than 5km away from the church/agency, but anyone from the community coming to youmust not leave the 5km radius from their house.
  • You must keep a record of every location that is visited.
  • If you are delivering meals, think about leaving a package on their doorstep without making physical contact.

CAN I GO TO THE CHURCH TO DO ROUTINE MAINTENANCE?

No. For the next 6 weeks, only emergency safety maintenance is allowed. Mowing lawns, basic church upkeep etc cannot be undertaken. Put your feet up because no one is looking at it anyway – we’re all at home. 

IS A PASTOR'S RESIDENCE CONSIDERED 'PLACE OF WORSHIP' FOR SUNDAY SERVICE RECORDING PURPOSES  (CAN OTHER WORKER’S GO TO THE HOME TO BROADCAST?)

Not currently, and it is not recommended.  

5KM LIMIT

You can only travel up to 5km from your home for shopping and exercise. Use this handy map tool to see how far away you can get from your loved ones. The 5km limit does not apply to those who are going to work. 

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS REGARDING STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS AND HOW IT RELATES TO YOUR MINISTRY, PLEASE EMAIL safeplaces@churchesofchrist.org.au.


REGIONAL VICTORIA - STAGE 3 KEY UPDATES

STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS

From 5 August 2020, Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions apply everywhere in Victoria except metropolitan Melbourne (where Stage 4 restrictions apply). 

If you live in regional Victoria, including Mitchell Shire, there are only four reasons that you can leave home:

  • to shop for food and essential goods or services
  • to provide care, for compassionate reasons, or to seek medical treatment
  • to exercise or for outdoor recreation with your household, or one other person
  • for work or study, if you can’t do it from home

If you can work from home, you must do so. However, if you cannot do your work from home, you can go to work.  This includes both paid staff and volunteers.

You must wear a face covering when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Even while wearing a face covering, you should keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others.

Home visitation by pastoral carers can only be conducted under “compassionate reasons” but please ensure that this is done only when no other option is available.  Social distancing, contactless delivery of food/goods, and safe hygiene must be adhered to.  

(Source: Stay At Home Directions)

COVID SAFE PLAN

CCVT encourages all Victorian and Tasmanian Affiliates to have a COVID Safe Plan regardless of location, size, or activities being undertaken.

Your COVIDSafe Plan must set out:

  • Your actions to help prevent the introduction of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
  • The level of face-covering or personal protective equipment (PPE) required for your workforce
  • How you will prepare for, and respond to, a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace
  • This plan must demonstrate how you will meet all of the requirements set out by the Victorian Government. Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional requirements of employers and employees.

Religious services and places of worship fit under the “other services” category when looking at the templates.  For more information, see the COVID Safe FAQ page or the Business Victoria website and hotline provide information on restrictions and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19). Call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.

Click on the following for a COVID Safe Plan template, Guidance Sheet, and a Workplace Attendance register.  

WEDDINGS

Weddings are limited to a maximum of 5 people (marrying couple, x1 celebrant, x2 witnesses).

FUNERALS

Funerals are limited to 10 people plus the people required to run the funeral.

BROADCASTING CHURCH SERVICES

Broadcasting church services is permitted. A maximum of 5 people can attend the church to conduct and broadcast the service – this includes everyone involved in the production of the service.  Please see the links below to assist Ministers in upskilling for online ministry!

BAPTISMS

Baptism services occurring as part of a broadcasted church service must still be within the 5 person limit – please give consideration as to whether the baptism must be done at the church – if it can be done at home it should be done at home.

HOME VISITATION

You may no longer have visitors to your home or visit other people in their homes.  The exception to this is where you are providing care or for compassionate reasons.  For the most part, simple social visits as pastoral care does not fit this definition.

Many people consider themselves to be caregiving when they are in fact just having a cuppa and socialising (this is still important, but unfortunately its not allowed. Please be mindful that just because you are a Minister, work at a church, or consider yourself to be pastorally caring for someone, doesn’t mean you meet definition outlined in the Directions. Unless you meet the definition below, you may be fined by Victoria Police.

Affiliates are encouraged to provide pastoral care in ways that do not put yourself or others at risk, focusing on communicating online, via phone, letters, etc.  Face-to-face pastoral ministry is to be avoided unless it accompanies one of the legitimate exemptions.  

Keep these aims in mind:

  • Reduce the amount of people travelling outside their homes
  • Reduce the amount of time spent outside the home
  • Exchange of goods/services should be as contactless as possible (e.g. takeaway meals instead of sit-down meals, deliver meals to doors and leave not deliver them to the fridge and stop and talk)

CAN OUR FOODBANK/SOUP KITCHEN TEAM CAN STILL PREPARE MEALS AT THE CHURCH AS A COMMUNITY SERVICE?

Yes, and please make sure you put a COVID Safe Plan together that incorporates all the locations that may be used in the running of these programs and keep a log of all delivery locations.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS REGARDING STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS AND HOW IT RELATES TO YOUR MINISTRY, PLEASE EMAIL safeplaces@churchesofchrist.org.au.


FACE COVERINGS 

All Victorians must wear a face covering when leaving home unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. 

Horsham Church of Christ are selling masks for $5 to raise money for the Christian Emergency Food Centre

Call 03 5382 3877 or email office@horsham.org.au to order. 

masks.jpg

BUSINESS SUPPORT FUND - EXPANSION

The Victorian State Government has established the Business Support Fund – Expansion program and you may be eligible if you meet the requirements.

Businesses within metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire that are affected by the return to Stay at Home restrictions may be eligible for a one-off $5,000 grant under this program.

Applications will close on Wednesday 19 August 2020 and the application process requires a number of steps, so please action as a matter of priority.

Details are available and applications are made via the Business Victoria webpage.

For any specific queries not addressed in the above webpage or its FAQ’s, please speak with a qualified Chartered Accountant, Tax or BAS Agent.

Alternatively, please email CCVT Finance Manager Kevin Pang (kpang@churchesofchrist.org.au) or call the team on 03 9488 8800. 

If your CCVT-affiliated church or agency is experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID19, the financial relief initiatives communicated on the 21 April 2020 remains available (see attached letter). Please reach out for a discussion on ways we may provide assistance. 

RECORDED RESOURCES FOR MINISTERS

The following recordings are from recent Ministry Clusters and Ministry Boosters run by CCVT for our accredited Ministers.  We are making them available to the wider movement, hoping that they can be used by our colleagues in ministry as an encouragement and opportunity for professional development in these challenging times!

STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts - not opinions: 

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on our website: www.churchesofchrist.org.au/home/coronavirus/coronavirus-updates.   

Please note that the advice has changed significantly over the months as the situation has evolved, but many of the resources are still appropriate and we welcome any suggestions or feedback.

Dear CCVT Affiliates,

Thank you for your patience this week while we have tried to obtain clear answers to the many questions we have about how the Stage 3 and Stage 4 restrictions affect our Victorian Churches and Agencies.

Honestly, this has been one is the more complicated updates to write, so I am glad you’re all such a forgiving bunch for when I don’t get quite right!

The information below as sourced from the DHHS website (which is yet to be updated to accommodate many of the new restrictions), via consultation with the DHHS, and Business Victoria.  

Further clarification is still coming through as the Victorian Government sorts out the practicalities and nuances of the restrictions and how they apply in real life.

We are all just trying to do the right thing and keep everyone safe, so let’s all remain patient and, as a wise colleague once said, look beyond what we can’t do and think about what we can do!

KEY UPDATES FOR METROPOLITAN MELBOURNE

STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS

  • Stage 4 restrictions are in place as of 6pm on 2 August 2020 until 11.59pm on 13 September 2020.
  • From 5am to 8pm, you can only leave home to shop for necessary goods and services; 1 hour of exercise; care and health care; and work, if it can’t be done from home.
  • A curfew is in place from 8pm to 5am every evening. During this time, you can only leave home for work, and essential health, care or safety reasons.
  • You can only travel up to 5km from your home for shopping and exercise. Here is a handy map tool. The 5km limit does not apply to those who are going to work.
  • Shopping is limited to one person per household, once per day. A 5km limit applies.

WEDDINGS

Weddings are not permitted in Melbourne except under compassionate grounds. You cannot leave metropolitan Melbourne to get married in another part of Victoria. People who live in metropolitan Melbourne cannot travel to attend weddings held outside of this area.

FUNERALS

Funerals are limited to 10 people (please seek further advice regarding how this fits with the permitted worker scheme if a funeral is to be conducted – its one of the areas that still requires clarification from DHHS) 

HOME VISITATION

Home visitation by ministers/pastoral carers is not permitted (pastoral care does not meet the definition of “care and health care” under Stage 4 restrictions).

BROADCASTING CHURCH SERVICES

Broadcasting church services is permitted. A maximum of 5 people can attend the church to conduct and broadcast the service – this includes everyone involved in the production of the service.

PERMITTED WORKER SCHEME FOR METRO MELBOURNE

From 11:59pm Wednesday 5 August 2020, the Permitted Worker Scheme requires all workplaces in Melbourne to be closed unless:

  • the workplace is part of a permitted activity, or
  • all employees are working from home.

Therefore, under Stage 4, all Places of Worship in metro Melbourne are now closed for on-site activities except for the broadcast of religious ceremonies with a maximum of 5 people, or for community purposes (e.g. foodbank, soup kitchens) (see bottom right of p.7 of attached pdf). 

No other activities or work meets the definition of allowable on-site activities. This means that all church administrative work must be done at home including preparation of services, pastoral care, church admin etc.  It is the current understanding that staff cannot work in the church office or on the church property for any purpose other than broadcasting or running the foodbank/soup kitchen program.  

We have sought further clarification on how this applies given that funerals are still allowed to be conducted. Stay tuned!

Employers that require their staff to attend a work site (church property or other) must issue a worker permit to their employees – this is the employer’s responsibility.  Download the Permitted worker permit (Word) or see the attached document.

  • Workers (paid or unpaid) attending the broadcasting or foodbank/soup kitchen purposes on-site must be issued a work permit by your organisation.
  • Workers must carry the worker permit and should carry photo identification when travelling to and from the workplace.
  • A worker permit can be shown electronically to authorities such as a photo, or scanned copy, on a mobile device.
  • Pastors/Ministers of Religion are not considered “essential workers” therefore must only be issued a work permit by your organisation if they will be leaving their home for the allowed work purposes.  
  • If you have a funeral or another event that requires attendance at the church property, please contact the COVID19 Hotline for advice.

COVID SAFE PLAN

From 11:59pm on Friday 7 August 2020 all employers that require their staff to attend a work site must implement their COVID Safe Plan focused on safety, prevention and response in the event that coronavirus is linked to the workplace.

Religious services and places of worship fit under the “other services” category when looking at the templates (see attached).  

Affiliates who run community services such as food banks where multiple locations are involved, should adopt contactless delivery, aim for minimal travel/movement of staff between locations, and ensure that a log is kept of the locations that workers have been attending/working.

For more information, see the COVID Safe FAQ page.  

The Business Victoria website and hotline provide information on restrictions and support to help your workplace plan and respond to coronavirus (COVID-19). Call Business Victoria on 13 22 15.

CCVT encourages all Affiliates to put together a COVID Safe Plan whether legally required or not. 

FACE COVERINGS 

All Victorians must wear a face covering when leaving home unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Even while wearing a face covering, you should keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others. More information on face masks and coverings is available on the DHHS website.

KEY UPDATES FOR REGIONAL VICTORIA INCLUDING MITCHELL SHIRE, GREATER GEELONG, SURF COAST, QUEENSCLIFFE, COLAC OTWAY, GOLDEN PLAINS, & MOORABOOL

STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August 2020, Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions apply everywhere in Victoria except metropolitan Melbourne (where Stage 4 restrictions apply). 

If you live in regional Victoria, including Mitchell Shire, there are only four reasons that you can leave home:

  • to shop for food and essential goods or services
  • to provide care, for compassionate reasons, or to seek medical treatment
  • to exercise or for outdoor recreation with your household, or one other person
  • for work or study, if you can’t do it from home

If you can work from home, you must do so. However, if you cannot do your work from home, you can go to work.  This includes both paid staff and volunteers.

You must wear a face covering when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Even while wearing a face covering, you should keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others.

Home visitation by pastoral carers can only be conducted under “compassionate reasons” but please ensure that this is done only when no other option is available.  Social distancing, contactless delivery of food/goods, and safe hygiene must be adhered to.  

WEDDINGS

Weddings are limited to a maximum of 5 people (marrying couple, celebrant, x2 witnesses).

FUNERALS

Funerals are limited to 10 people plus the people required to run the funeral.

BROADCASTING CHURCH SERVICES

Broadcasting church services is permitted. A maximum of 5 people can attend the church to conduct and broadcast the service – this includes everyone involved in the production of the service.

HOME VISITATION

You may no longer have visitors to your home or visit other people in their homes.  The exception to this is where you are providing care or for compassionate reasons.  For the most part, simple pastoral care does not fit this definition.

Many people consider themselves to be caregiving when they are in fact just having a cuppa and socialising (this is still important, but unfortunately its not allowed. Please be mindful that just because you are a Minister, work at a church, or consider yourself to be pastorally caring for someone, doesn’t mean you meet definition outlined in the Directions. Unless you meet the definition below, you may be fined by Victoria Police.

The DHHS website lists examples of the ‘care or compassionate reasons’ for being able to leave your home.  

Affiliates are encouraged to provide pastoral care in ways that do not put yourself or others at risk, focusing on communicating online, via phone, letters, etc.  Face-to-face pastoral ministry is to be avoided unless it accompanies one of the legitimate exemptions.  

CAN OUR FOODBANK/SOUP KITCHEN TEAM CAN STILL PREPARE MEALS AT THE CHURCH AS AN “COMMUNITY SERVICE”?

Yes, and please make sure you put a COVID Safe Plan together that incorporates all the locations that may be used in the running of these programs.

FACE COVERINGS 

All Victorians must wear a face covering when leaving home unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. This now includes all of regional Victoria. This is an attempt to keep the numbers of cases low in regional Victoria. More information on face masks and coverings is available on the DHHS website

STAY UP TO DATE

There is a reason we direct you to formal websites rather than news articles or media. Learn facts, not opinions: 

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on our website: www.churchesofchrist.org.au/home/coronavirus/coronavirus-updates.   

Please note that the advice has changed significantly over the months as the situation has evolved, but many of the resources are still appropriate and we welcome any suggestions or feedback.

KEY UPDATES FOR VICTORIA

FACE COVERINGS COMPULSORY FOR ALL OF VICTORIA FROM 11:59PM SUNDAY 2 AUGUST 2020

Face coverings are now compulsory throughout ALL of Victoria from 11.59pm on Sunday 2nd August 2020. This now includes all of regional Victoria. This is an attempt to keep the numbers of cases low in regional Victoria.

GREATER GEELONG AND SURROUNDS RESTRICTIONS FROM 11:59PM THURSDAY 30 JULY 2020

From 11:59pm tonight restrictions will come into force in parts of regional Victoria including:

  • Greater Geelong
  • Surf Coast
  • Moorabool
  • Golden Plains
  • Colac-Otway
  • Borough of Queenscliffe 

These restrictions mean if you live in these areas you will no longer be able to visit people or have visitors at home as this has been determined to be the main source of infections.

CAN I REFUSE SOMEONE ACCESS TO MY PREMISES IF THEY ARE NOT WEARING A FACE COVERING?
Yes. You can ask someone not to enter your premises if they are not wearing a face covering unless they have a lawful reason not to wear a face covering. 
(Source

HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN ATTEND THE CHURCH TO RECORD AN ONLINE SERVICE
Maximum of 5 people.
(Source

DO WE NEED TO WEAR A FACE COVERING WHILE WE ARE AT WORK?
Yes, unless you are exempt. Even with a mask, you should keep 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others.
(Source)

CAREGIVING IS ONE OF THE EXEMPTIONS FOR THE STAY AT HOME DIRECTIONS, BUT WHAT DOES “CAREGIVING” MEAN?

Stay at Home (Restricted Areas) Directions are in force across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. This means everyone must stay at home other than in specified circumstances. 

People who live in these areas are only allowed to go out for four reasons: 

1.       shopping for food and supplies

2.       health care and caregiving

3.       outdoor exercise

4.       and study or work – if unable to work or study from home

Many people consider themselves to be caregiving when they are in fact just socialising. Please be mindful that just because you are a Minister, work at a church, or consider yourself to be pastorally caring for someone, doesn’t mean you meet definition outlined in the Directions.  Unless you meet the definition below, you may be fined by Victoria Police.

The DHHS website lists examples of the ‘care or compassionate reasons’ for being able to leave your home.  If you would like to read Clause 7 of the Directions that actually defines this exemption, click here.

Affiliates are encouraged to provide pastoral care in ways that do not put yourself or others at risk, focusing on communicating online, via phone, letters, etc.  Face-to-face pastoral ministry is to be avoided unless it accompanies not one of the legitimate exemptions.  

KEY UPDATES FOR TASMANIA

BORDER CHANGES FROM 7 AUGUST

Tasmania will make changes to its border restrictions from 7 August 2020. The current restrictions remain in place until that time.

From 7 August 2020, there will be no quarantine requirement for Tasmanian residents and non-Tasmanian residents travelling from South Australia (SA), Northern Territory (NT) and Western Australia (WA).

Quarantine requirements will remain in place until further notice for all Tasmanian and non-Tasmanian residents who have spent time in NSW, QLD and the ACT (due to their proximity to NSW) in the 14 days prior to travelling to Tasmania.

Travellers who have spent time in affected regions (currently Victoria) or premises are only permitted to enter the State if they are a Tasmanian resident, or are permitted to enter as an Essential Traveller.

From 31 July 2020, Essential Travellers who have spent time in an affected region or premises in the 14 days prior to their arrival in Tasmania will be required to undertake a COVID-19 test on arrival.

Health screening will also be conducted at all Tasmanian airports and ports, including King and Flinders Island from 7 August.

For more information about these changes visit Coming to Tasmania.

CAN I GO FROM VICTORIA TO TASMANIA?

Travellers who have spent time in affected regions (currently Victoria) or premises are only permitted to enter the State of Tasmania if they are a Tasmanian resident, or are permitted to enter as an Essential Traveller. 

Ministers of Religion are not considered to be an Essential Traveller, and are therefore subject to the normal restrictions and quarantine requirements. 

You may be allowed to travel to Tassie under Category 8: Other persons, or classes of persons, approved by the State Controller which includes for compassionate or medical reasons, for example, to attend a funeral, visit a hospital or to assist with end of life care.  

This is decided on a case-by-case basis. The most effective way of doing this is via the G2G PASS system.

YORK STREET CHURCH OF CHRIST, BALLARAT

Previously York Street was streaming one service during COVID-19, but now in response to the disconnect that many people feel in regard to ‘how church used to be’ we have taken the challenge to live stream all three of our services each week to our church community. 

This means that starting from 2 August we have a 9am Traditional Service (hymns and choruses, reflective thoughts on communion, more traditional feel), then an 11am Family Service (with an attached kids program streamed at the same time), and then a 6pm Youth and Young Adults Service (in the evening). 

We invite our brothers and sisters within Churches of Christ to share in our service, particularly for those churches that appreciate the more traditional art form of worship we wanted to offer as a means of connecting through song.

If your church family wishes to view this in their homes we ask that you let us know so that we can name your congregation during the service, point any pastoral care needs back to your team, and promote a key event, if appropriate. 

This is a temporary way that we can help people connect through worship and also help bring God’s word to those congregations that are unable to take on the challenge of technology. 

This won’t replace pastoral care, or the community which each church has, but it may offer an opportunity to sing and connect through Gods word as well as honour the unity of the body of Christ in its different locations. 

Starting in August, the services can be found at this link https://yorkst.com.au/livestream. Feel free to check out the services before making a decision.

Tim Walter
Senior Pastor

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

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STAY UP TO DATE

As we have all experienced over that last few weeks particularly, the advice and requirements of Government and Health officials can change rapidly and not as previously scheduled or anticipated. 

The aim of these emails is to keep you in the loop and up to date with the most relevant changes, information, and advice but of course it does not replace official Federal or State Government health advice.  Please check the source links for more information if you are unsure how COVID-19 restrictions may impact your specific ministry activities. COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation, and all Affiliates are reminded to stay on top of the latest information. 

Learn more by referring to trusted and relevant sources, such as:

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on our website: https://www.churchesofchrist.org.au/home/coronavirus/coronavirus-updates.   

Please note that the advice has changed significantly over the months as the situation has evolved, but many of the resources are still appropriate and we welcome any suggestions or feedback.

GENERAL UPDATES

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS

Many churches may have put off their AGM during the lockdown and restricted periods, but are again reconsidering how to run them. Check out The Institute of Community Directors Australia (ICDA) website for some helpful advice but please remember that your own constitution and rules are what specifies the requirements on your organisation.

DISCOVERY CHURCH

CCVT and Discovery Church in Mt Evelyn has put together a fab little video about how they are responding to the pandemic. Check it out here!

CONVERSATIONS OF GRACE PODCAST

Check out a new podcast “Conversations of Grace” by Nathan Oliver at The Church Next Door.  The first season is on 'lockdown parenting'. It's on all the podcast platforms, or link here: https://anchor.fm/tcnd8989

GET TESTED 

If you feel unwell with any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, you should stay home and get tested. If you have any fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, and loss of sense of smell or taste – get tested and stay home until you get the result - don’t go in to work and don’t visit friends and family. 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE

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SUMMARY OF RESTRICTIONS - MELBOURNE METROPOLITAN AREA AND THE SHIRE OF MITCHELL

IF YOU LIVE IN THE MELBOURNE METROPOLITAN AREA AND THE SHIRE OF MITCHELL

  • From 11:59pm on 8 July 2020 you are only allowed to go out for four reasons: shopping for food and supplies, health care and caregiving, outdoor exercise, and study or work – if unable to work or study from home.  
  • From 11:59pm on Wednesday 22 July 2020, you are required to wear a face covering when leaving home, unless a lawful exception applies. A face covering can be either a face mask or a cloth mask and needs to cover both the nose and mouth. More information on face coverings is available on the DHHS website.  
  • You cannot attend religious ceremonies or private worship – we encourage you to use online services instead.
  • Places of religion and worship must close for both religious ceremonies and private worship, but up to a maximum of five people can be on site to record and live stream services. You should ensure those people maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between each other at all times.
  • Weddings held in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be limited to five people (the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant). You can travel to a wedding outside of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire if you are getting married, a witness or the celebrant, however the limits on the number of people will still apply (five people including the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant). You cannot travel to a wedding outside metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire as a guest.
  • Funerals held in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be limited to 10 mourners plus those required to conduct the funeral. You can travel to a funeral outside of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. The restrictions apply based on the location of the funeral.
  • A wedding or funeral held in a private residence in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire will be limited to the members of the household, plus the people required to conduct the ceremony.
  • You should never attend a wedding or funeral if you are unwell. You should maintain your physical distance at the event.
  • Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services such as food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities, ensuring appropriate physical distancing is maintained by keeping at least 1.5 metres between everyone at all times.

FACE COVERINGS

  • Face coverings in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire - People living in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are required to wear a face covering from 11:59pm on Wednesday 22 July when leaving their home, unless a lawful exception applies. The fine for not wearing a face covering will be $200. 
  • Face coverings in regional Victoria - Face coverings in regional Victoria continue to be recommended in situations where maintaining 1.5 metres distance is not possible – however regional Victorians will have to wear a mask when visiting metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire for one of the permitted reasons. 
  • Face coverings can reduce the risk of transmission but are not a substitute for physical distancing and practising good hygiene.  
  • A face covering must cover both your nose and mouth, and a face mask is the recommended face covering.
  • This is an anxious and uncertain time for everyone, and support is vital and available. For more information about managing stress and support options, call the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Services on 1800 512 348 or visit coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

For more information see www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-masks-covid-19.

DO WE HAVE TO WEAR FACE COVERINGS WHILE RECORDING OUR ONLINE SERVICE?

Everyone involved in the production of an online service must wear their face covering unless they meet one of the exceptions. For most churches, this will mean that the person preaching/speaking can remove their face covering for that portion of the event. Please ensure you know how to safely remove and replace a face covering.  All audio/visual staff, musicians, singers, etc for whom it is not necessary to see the mouth (i.e. for lip reading) will remain wearing them. 

Lawful excuses or exceptions for not wearing a face covering:

  • Infants and children under the age of 12 years. 
  • A person who is affected by a relevant medical condition - including problems with their breathing, a serious skin condition on the face, a disability or a mental health condition. This also includes persons who are communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to that person’s health and safety related to their work, as determined through OH&S guidelines.
  • Persons whose professions require clear enunciation or visibility of their mouth. This includes teaching or live broadcasting. 
  • Professional sportspeople when training or competing.
  • When the individual is doing any exercise or physical activity where they are out of breath or puffing; examples include jogging or running but not walking. You must have a face covering on you and wear it when you finish exercising.
  • When directed by police to remove the face covering to ascertain identity.
  • The person is travelling in a vehicle by themselves or with other members of their household.
  • When consuming food, drink, medication or when smoking/vaping.
  • When asked to remove a face covering to ascertain identity, for example at a bank branch or bottle shop.
  • When undergoing dental treatment or other medical care to the extent that the procedure requires that no face covering may be worn. 
  • During emergencies.

You must carry a face covering with you when leaving home for one of the four reasons, even if you don’t need to wear it while undertaking your current activity, for example you can take your face covering off to eat. If you have a medical condition that prevents you from wearing a face covering at all times you don’t need to carry it with you. 

Please remember that the church is also a workplace, and as an employer you are required to ensure your employees wear face coverings if they are working, unless an exception applies.

SUMMARY OF RESTRICTIONS FOR THE REST OF VICTORIA

IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF METRO MELB AND MITCHELL SHIRE, AKA “THE REST OF VICTORIA”:

  • Places of worship can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies for up to 20 people, plus the minimum number of people reasonably required to perform the service or ceremony.  The one person per four-square metres rule needs to be followed.
  • Up to 20 people, in addition to the celebrant and couple being married, can attend a wedding.  The one person per four-square metres rule needs to be followed.
  • If a wedding is in a home, it will be limited to the members of the household plus a maximum of five visitors, plus the celebrant.  If a wedding ceremony is in a restaurant or café, the group maximum is 20, plus the celebrant and the couple.
  • Up to 50 people can attend a funeral, plus the person leading the funeral and other funeral staff. The one person per four-square metres rule needs to be followed.
  • If a funeral is in a home, it will be limited to the members of the household plus five visitors, plus the funeral staff. If a funeral is held in a restaurant or community facility the group maximum is 50, plus the funeral staff, however a wake or other gathering following a funeral would be limited to a maximum of 10 people.
  • You should wear a face covering such as a cloth mask or surgical mask if it is difficult to keep 1.5 metres apart from others. For more information visit the face coverings page.

ARE THERE ANY ACTIVITIES THAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED DURING SERVICES?

While a number of religious activities traditionally require close proximity or the sharing of cups or plates, it’s vital we maintain our physical distance. That includes not sharing utensils and limiting the use of highly-touched objects.

CAN I ATTEND A PRAYER GROUP?

For reasons that are genuinely lost on me, currently only up to 10 people can gather for a prayer group if the prayer group is held at a place of worship or another public place. This is despite the fact that 20 people can gather at church for a worship service.

A prayer group can meet if it is held in someone’s home as long as there are no more than five visitors in addition to the normal residents of the household.

You should maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people.

KEY UPDATES FOR TASMANIA

GATHERINGS

Gathering limits in Tassie are determined by the density of the area, up to a maximum of:

  • 250 people for an undivided space in an indoor premises; and
  • 500 people in an undivided space outdoors.

Maximum density limit is one person per 2 square metres.

Where the number of people permitted according to the density limit is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies.

The maximum number of people permitted on a premises includes staff, volunteers, children and babies.

Where practicable, everyone should maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other people.

Read more about Gatherings, density limits and physical distancing in Tasmania.

#CHECKIN 

A new campaign has been launched to encourage Tasmanian’s to ‘check in’ with themselves and those around them following the impacts of COVID-19.

It is common to feel anxious and uncertain during these unpreceded times, as we know that that the pandemic has had a significant impact on the lives of Tasmanians.

Created by the Mental Health Council of Tasmania, the Check In website encourages all Tasmanians to take some steps in their day to day lives to look after their own mental health and wellbeing, and that of their loved ones.

Now is the perfect time to:

  • Check in on your own mental health,
  • Check in on a friend or family member, and
  • Check in on what is happening in your community

By answering some easy questions on the website, people can find guidance around what support and information is available in Tasmania to help with the mental health and wellbeing of themselves or someone they care about.

More information can be found at checkin.org.au

Further support is available if you feel like you or a loved one are not coping, including:

  • A Tasmanian Lifeline (1800 98 44 34)
  • Lifeline Australia (13 11 14)
  • Rural Alive and Well (1300 4357 6283)
  • Kids Helpline (1800 551 800)

For more immediate support for people experiencing significant mental health problems, the Mental Health Services Helpline is available 24/7 on 1800 332 388, and in an emergency call triple zero.

STAY UP TO DATE

As we have all experienced over that last few weeks particularly, the advice and requirements of Government and Health officials can change rapidly and not as previously scheduled or anticipated. 

The aim of these emails is to keep you in the loop and up to date with the most relevant changes, information, and advice but of course it does not replace official Federal or State Government health advice.  Please check the source links for more information if you are unsure how COVID-19 restrictions may impact your specific ministry activities. COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation, and all Affiliates are reminded to stay on top of the latest information. 

Learn more by referring to trusted and relevant sources, such as:

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on our website: https://www.churchesofchrist.org.au/home/coronavirus/coronavirus-updates.   Please note that the advice has changed significantly over the months as the situation has evolved, but many of the resources are still appropriate and we welcome any suggestions or feedback.

GENERAL UPDATES

PASTORAL CARE

Pastoral care is a fundamental aspect of church and faith communities. During these times of pandemic restrictions, there are limitations placed on how, when, and where we can provide pastoral care. Our aim is not to cease providing care, but to think of a workaround or alternative way of doing it that achieves the good aspect of maintaining spiritual health, without unduly risking people’s physical health. Please consider:

  • Who is the most appropriate person to provide the care – e.g. is the person healthy, able to maintain social distancing, appropriately trained?
  • Evaluate the necessity of meeting face to face – can pastoral care be provided over the phone or by other supports, rather than in person?
  • Caregiving is allowed under Stay at Home directives (e.g. Stage 3 lockdown) and may also be considered “work” for Ministers, Chaplains etc, but this comes with recommendations on how to do so safely. Please adhere to hygiene and social distancing requirements.  Keep visitation to what is necessary.
  • You may see an increase in the need for pastoral support services. Make it easy for people to communicate with you and each other without compromising health by being clear about your preferred method of communication and how support will be provided e.g. use of prayer requests cards, web forms, contacting a specific person or team member, use of a preferred phone number or email address, prayer chain, limited hours of availability and so on. 
  • Be proactive about reassuring those who may be feeling fearful or isolated – make extra contact with the vulnerable to let them know they are loved, being prayed for, and are part of the community even if they cannot attend services or programs.
  • Ministers and pastoral carers who are visiting hospitals and aged care facilities must adhere to the instructions given in each facility – do not visit if you are unwell or if you know that you have been exposed to people who have been diagnosed with flu or viruses – you might feel fine but may still be contagious. Check requirements for flu vax and visitation times and limits before visiting a facility. Exemptions for compassionate care are on a case by case basis.
  • Remind pastoral carers to consider the practical limitations of home visitation – can you afford to be exposed to people who are unwell if it then means you cannot visit anyone else in person for 14 days or need to self-quarantine or isolate?
  • Like the flu, the coronavirus is afflicting high risk groups at a much more significant level: the elderly, people with underlying medical conditions, and those who are immunocompromised.  This means these people (and those who care for them) may need to make some difficult decisions around staying home to protect their health. Isolation or a fear of not meeting their commitments and letting the team down may be a stress factor. Help them to make wise decisions by encouraging self-care, being quick to relieve people of tasks or responsibilities that others can cover and staying in contact with their faith community in other ways.
  • Do not enter any home that is in quarantine for COVID-19. These people must not let in visitors.

AFFILIATE UPDATES

We would love to know how your church or agency is adapting to the current crisis, what practical ministry ideas you are learning or implementing, and how God is moving and working within your community in big and small ways – email us at safeplaces@churchesofchrist.org.au so we can be an encouragement to one another.

2020 ONLINE SERVICE STRATEGY OPTIONS

Many of our churches are having the conversation about how we move forward with online ministry longer term. Click here to view a pdf that some have found really helpful in looking at potential models of online/physical church going forward. 

KEY UPDATES FOR VICTORIA

STAY AT HOME DIRECTIONS (METRO MELBOURNE AND MITCHELL SHIRE)

Stay at Home restrictions will remain in place for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire until 11.59pm Wednesday 19 August 2020.  

People who live in these areas are only allowed to go out for four reasons: shopping for food and supplies, health care and caregiving, outdoor exercise, and study or work – if unable to work or study from home.  

Weddings, funerals, and religious ceremonies are significantly restricted

Church services cannot be run open to the public during this time.  Only those required to be present to produce an online service may attend the church for the production of the service.  Please adhere to 1.5m social distancing and the 4 square metre rule.

STAY SAFE DIRECTIONS (REST OF VICTORIA)

Stay Safe Directions still apply to the rest of Victoria. 

Currently, all places of worship can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies of up to 20 people, subject to the one person per four-square metres rule, as well as the minimum number of people reasonably required for the service. 

Places of worship can also be used for a funeral service for up to 50 mourners, plus the people required to conduct the funeral.

FACE MASKS

If you live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire and are aged 18 years or older, it is recommended that you wear a face mask when you leave home if it is going to be difficult for you to maintain 1.5 metres of distance between yourself and other people. 

Children are not recommended to wear a face mask, but individual families can make their own decisions regarding their children. Children under two years should never wear a face mask due to choking and strangulation risks.

Face masks provide an additional barrier but are not a substitute for physical distancing.  For more information on face masks, click here.

There is a certain technique to safely putting face masks on and taking them off. If promoting the use of masks, please circulate this very short training video from the Australia Government on how to wear a mask: https://youtu.be/weJagy45jek

You can buy face masks online, or follow these instructions on how to make you own face mask, or contact Richmond Vietnamese Church of Christ on 03 9421 5005 or via email as they have been pumping out handmade face masks for the community for months!

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KEY UPDATE FOR TASMANIA 

Gathering limits are now determined by the density of the area, up to a maximum of:

  • 250 people for an undivided space in an indoor premises; and
  • 500 people in an undivided space outdoors.

Maximum density limit is one person per 2 square metres.

Where the number of people permitted according to the density limit is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies.

The maximum number of people permitted on a premises includes staff, volunteers, children and babies.

Where practicable, everyone should maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other people.

Read more about Gatherings, density limits and physical distancing in Tasmania.

STAY UP TO DATE

As we have all experienced over that last few weeks particularly, the advice and requirements of Government and Health officials can change rapidly and not as previously scheduled or anticipated. 

The aim of these emails is to keep you in the loop and up to date with the most relevant changes, information, and advice but of course it does not replace official Federal or State Government health advice.  

Please check the source links for more information if you are unsure how COVID-19 restrictions may impact your specific ministry activities. COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation, and all Affiliates are reminded to stay on top of the latest information. 

Learn more by referring to trusted and relevant sources, such as:

You can find all previous Coronavirus and Churches of Christ emails and many of the resources on our website: www.churchesofchrist.org.au/home/coronavirus/coronavirus-updates.   

Please note that the advice has changed significantly over the months as the situation has evolved, but many of the resources are still appropriate and we welcome any suggestions or feedback

GENERAL UPDATES

St Johns Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hygiene supplies:

The amount of spam emails from random online companies selling PPE is a pandemic unto itself.  

If you aren’t sure where to buy reliable products, stick to the main stores or consider supporting St John Ambulance. I have attached their PPE price list which includes thermometers scanners, hand sanitiser stations (cheaper than Officeworks!) and other supplies.  

If you have any questions or would like to order items, please contact Sandra at St John Ambulance on 03 8588 8336 or Sandra.Dsouza@stjohnvic.com.au.  (Note: CCVT gets absolutely no kickbacks from St Johns, I just think it’s great to support an Aussie NFP organisation!)

Translated Resources:

If your church or agency involves ministry with people from CALD backgrounds please ensure that you are using translated resources to help communicate clearly. 

Check out Vic resources and Tas resources.

Resuming group based programs:

Thinking about starting up Playgroup, Mainly Music, Mini Maestro’s and other group based children’s programs?

1. Is there enough room to be able to run your group safely? Confirm which maximum number of participants you are subject to – this may vary depending on where you meet, e.g. a home, the church, or other facility. Seek advice from the COVID-19 hotline in your state. 

2. Calculate how many people can fit into the space using the 4 square metre rule in Vic and the 2 square meter rule in Tas. You must abide by the lower of the answers to 1 and 2.

3. Do you have enough people to run the activity properly?  Survey your leaders and volunteers to see how many are willing and able to resume their roles – some people may not wish to continue due to their age or health or that of the people in their household.  

4. Do you have enough participants to make it worthwhile? Survey your participating families to see how many are willing and able to resume in person attendance or if they wish to continue online activities or a hybrid version.

For more information see the attached MM docs (Mainly Music Intermediate Stage, Intermediate Stage - Update #2) or follow these links:

KEY UPDATES FOR VICTORIA

Metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire:

Victoria is currently operating under Restricted Activity Directions (No 11) but based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, Stage 3 "Stay at Home" restrictions will be reinstated across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from 11:59pm Wednesday 8 July 2020 and will be in place for 6 weeks.

This means that from July 9, Melburnians can only leave their homes for 4 reasons: 

  • to give or receive care; 
  • to work/study (if unable to do so from home); 
  • to exercise (locally); and 
  • to buy essential food and supplies. 

Please note that “providing care” should be done with wisdom – please adhere to good hygiene and social distancing and call first before visiting people’s homes so that they can decide for themselves if they are comfortable with face-to-face visitation. Do not visit anyone if you or anyone in your household is unwell.  

Please note that “going to work” includes both paid staff and volunteers when it comes to production of online services but only the very necessary people should be at the church/agency facility.  All those who can remote in, pre-record, or who aren’t reasonably necessary should stay home.

For many churches, this second lockdown means a delay to the resumption of services and programs.  For others it means we go back to not meeting again having had the blessing of a few weeks together.  Please be alert to the impact this may have on staff, volunteers, and participants in your community. It may be the same restrictions as we experienced previously, but the sheer duration can take a different toll on people.  

Restricted Postcodes:

If you live in postcodes 3012, 3021, 3031, 3032, 3038, 3042, 3046, 3047, 3051, 3055, 3060 and 3064 you will be aware of the additional restrictions already impacting your suburbs. 

Places of religion and worship in these suburbs must close for both religious ceremonies and private worship, but those people who are necessary to stream a service can attend for these purposes.

For general information on the restrictions that apply to these postcodes, click here.

For information specific to churches in these areas, click here.

Prayer request: Please be in prayer for our friends at Roxburgh Park Community Church, Maidstone Church of Christ, and Ascot Vale Church of Christ as they minister to their communities within the suburbs that have already seen higher restrictions in place. 

Rest of Victoria:

To the Victorian Affiliates who live outside of metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, please send toilet paper.

KEY UPDATES FOR TASMANIA 

Tasmania has moved to Stage Three in the lifting of restrictions:  

Gathering limits are now determined by the density of the area, up to a maximum of:

  • 250 people for an undivided space in an indoor premises; and
  • 500 people in an undivided space outdoors.

Maximum density limit is one person per 2 square metres. Where the number of people permitted according to the density limit is less than the gathering limit, the lower number applies.

The maximum number of people permitted on a premises includes staff, volunteers, children and babies.

Where practicable, business operators, staff, volunteers and attendees should maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from other people.

Read more about gatherings, density limits and physical distancing in Tasmania.

Singing:

Tas Govt also has note for you about Safe singing in groups!

UPDATES FROM AFFILIATES

New Life Church of Christ - Wodonga

We had two services, one at 9.30 a.m. and one at 11.30 a.m.  At each service we had a COVID-19 information session and told people of the required procedures.  All our signage is in both English and Swahili and everyone followed the instructions.  

We allowed an hour between services for cleaning of all facilities and this worked well. We now face a new set of problems with the border between Vic and NSW being closed so a number of our members will not be able to attend.  However, notices, Bible studies and mini sermons will continue to be sent out.  

Ray Baker (Pastor)

Friends of Dismas – Box Hill

Our Box Hill congregation averages about 16 people at our Tuesday night service, so we have been able to meet together since the maximum number of people allowed to attend a worship service went up to 20. We were not doing any online ministry other than our usual weekly email during lockdown, but we had a good phone ministry going! When we first started back up, we controlled attendance numbers by actually calling all the regular participants first and asking if they were able to attend, and after that we let the less frequent attendees know that we were starting back up. Each week since, we have just kept up the communications and people have let us know if they were or weren’t coming ahead of time. We’ve not turned anyone away!

It has been an interesting learning curve applying all the social distancing and hygiene practices (especially when everyone feels healthy and happy) – it is easy to get a bit too relaxed about it all after a while. We found that it wasn’t just a matter of changing the way we did seating, communion, greeting etc – we had to trial those things and adjust when it didn’t work well.  Overall it hasn’t been too difficult for a smaller group. 

I am confident that we will bounce back from this latest lockdown too. We have seen how God works through our ministry and in people’s lives when we meet face-to-face and when we are apart. It’s been a privilege to walk together with people through this whole experience.  We’ve really bonded as a church family!  

Kylie Kendall (Church Secretary)
(yes, I finally replied to my request for an update from myself and put my own church in my email!)

STAY UP TO DATE

As we have all experienced over that last few weeks particularly, the advice and requirements of Government and Health officials can change rapidly and not as previously scheduled or anticipated. 

The aim of these emails is to keep you in the loop and up to date with the most relevant changes, information, and advice but of course it does not replace official Federal or State Government health advice.  Please check the source links for more information if you are unsure how COVID-19 restrictions may impact your specific ministry activities. COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation, and all Affiliates are reminded to stay on top of the latest information. 

Learn more by referring to trusted and relevant sources, such as:

GENERAL UPDATES

The restrictions we currently live and worship under during the COVID-19 pandemic has created some amazing stories of grief and joy, death and birth, disruption and accomplishment, rest and work.  It has been a privilege to witness how God has worked though all these events in our churches and agencies. 

CCVT staff are here to support you through all these as best we can, so if you are unsure what you are “allowed” to be doing, or how best to do it in your local context, please give us a call or call the COVID hotline in your state and ask questions – they are there to help you too (although we recommend being very clearabout who you are and what type of activity you are undertaking so that they give the correct advice applicable to your situation).

  • Victorian Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 675 398
  • Tasmanian Public Health Hotline: 1800 671 738

The Restricted Activity Directions (No 10) and the Stay Safe Directions (No 2) now apply in Victoria, beginning at 11:59pm on 21 June 2020 and ending at 11:59pm on 12 July 2020.  These documents are the official basis of all the advice you find on the DHHS website and in our emails from CCVT.  When you ring the DHHS COVID-19 hotline (Victorian Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 675 398) for advice as an organisation you will be redirected to Business Victoria’s COVID-19 hotline. They look at the DHHS website to understand how to answer your questions.  Many of us were in limbo last week while we waited for DHHS to make corrections to the website as it had weird references to groups of 50 and 20 that made no practical sense.  Now that the Directives have been issued, and the websites updated, it is clearer!

FURTHER ADVICE REGARDING SINGING AT CHURCH

As we advised last week, you are allowed to have congregational singing and choirs at churches in Victoria and Tasmania, although you must adhere to all the social distancing, 4 sqm rule, and hygiene protocols. 

In some other countries it is restricted, and in some other Australian states it is recommended not to do it, but we have no such government rules or Dept of Health recommendations here in Vic/Tas.  

Even so, you can still choose not to have group singing at your services if people are uncomfortable with it because of the increased risk of spreading COVID-19 via the aerosolized droplets when projecting our voices. This is a decision you can make locally based on your particular risk factors and the vulnerability of people in your faith community.

In these unusual times we are constantly making adaptions and alterations to how we do many things at church and we must accept that we are not yet back to “normal”.  It is ok to not be running our services exactly the way we used to, even though we can now meet face-to-face in some capacity again.  Singing (or not) is one of those areas we can eliminate, adapt, or adopt.  To minimise risk, you may decide to encourage people to wear face masks, reduce the number of songs at the services, choose songs that require less voice projection, have someone sing to the congregations in lieu of congregational singing, or be patient and wait a bit longer before resuming it.  

Please remember that you can always raise the bar above the official regulations and make your church safer, but you cannot lower them and compromise people’s health and safety.

If you would like more information about singing and why some churches are not doing it, check out these articles and podcasts:

ARE STAFF INCLUDED IN THE 4 SQUARE METER RULE?

In Victoria and Tasmania the 4 square metre rule applies to limit the number of members of the public allowed in a space, but not the number of workers or staff reasonably required to operate or run the service. So, when calculating your church or hall space, do not include the people running the event in the total number of people allowed to attend. Remember, if your capacity limit under the 4 square metre rule is less than the maximum people allowed for the type of event, you must adhere to the lower number.

To comply with the 4 square metre rule, measure the length and width of the floor space which the members of the public can access. Multiply the length by the width to calculate the area in square metres and divide this by four. The final number is the maximum number of people allowed in the premises (up to the maximum gathering size).  Templates here.

HOLDING CHURCH ACTIVITIES IN PRIVATE HOMES

As always, there is significant overlap between our church activities and our personal/social activities.  Please remember that when it comes the restrictions on numbers, church activities held in a private home such as bible studies, prayer groups, leadership team meetings etc are subject to the residential/private home numbers, not church ceremony numbers.   

Homes are different to public settings in that people may be less likely to observe physical distancing, while other safeguards like regular cleaning are not in place. The evidence confirms that we need to continue physical distancing practices and use common sense throughout the course of the pandemic as we adjust restrictions.  

If you are visiting someone's home, you should:

  • Consider carefully before visiting people who are at higher risk of getting very sick, particularly the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions - you might want to delay your visit or connect with them in other ways including video conferencing, phone calls, text message or social media.
  • Ensure appropriate physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between you and others who are not from your household. There should be no handshakes and no hugs.
  • Wash your hands when you arrive at someone’s home, and regularly while you visit. Use a tissue or your elbow to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • If you, your family or housemates are feeling unwell you should not visit anyone or have visitors at your home.
  • Keep your friends, family and loved ones safe by staying home if you feel unwell. Get tested if you have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Use common sense when it comes to visiting friends and family, especially those who are more vulnerable. That means seeing only those you need to – if you need to.
  • Do not share food or drinks.

Babies and children are counted in the total person limit. Your home includes indoor and outdoor areas of the house.

In Victoria, the decision was made to reduce the number of people who can attend public and private gatherings based on data showing an increase in the number of household contacts spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) among extended family groups. Currently, you are able to have up to 5 visitors in your home at any one time, in addition to the normal residents of a household.

In Tasmania, as of midday Wednesday 17 June 2020, visitors to households have increased to 20 people at any one time (indoor or outdoor), in addition to residents of the household.

If your group is larger than what is allowed in a home, then move to the church facility or somewhere that you can reasonable spread out and socially distance from one another.

KEY UPDATES FOR VICTORIA (22 JUNE 2020 – 12 JULY 2020)

Church services/ceremonies: Currently, all places of worship of all denominations can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies of up to 20 people in any separate area, subject to the one person per four-square metres rule, as well as the minimum number of people reasonably required for the service. Basically, we are continuing with what we have been doing already for just a bit longer.

Weddings: Up to 20 people, in addition to the celebrant and couple being married, can attend a wedding.  The one person per four-square metres rule needs to be followed. If a wedding is in a home, it will be limited to the members of the household plus a maximum of five visitors, plus the celebrant. If a wedding ceremony is in a restaurant or café, the group maximum is 20, plus the celebrant and the couple. Record keeping requirements apply to all weddings.

Funerals: Up to 50 people can attend a funeral, plus the person leading the funeral and other funeral staff. The one person per four-square metres rule needs to be followed. If a funeral is in a home, it will be limited to the members of the household plus five visitors, plus the funeral staff. If a funeral is held in a restaurant or community facility the group maximum is 50, plus the funeral staff, however a wake or other gathering following a funeral would be limited to a maximum of 10 people. Record keeping requirements apply to funerals.

Prayer groups at church: Currently, the DHHS website says that only up to 10 people can gather for a prayer group at church. This has not been specified in the official directives, and makes no practical sense compared to all the other activities being run at a place of worship at a maximum of 20, so we have submitted a request for direct feedback on this matter and will advise you of the answer in our next email.  A prayer group can also meet in someone’s home as long as there are no more than five visitors in addition to the normal residents of the household. You should maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people.

Record Keeping: You must keep a record of who has attended a ceremony, wedding or funeral, except in relation to private worship or in relation to support groups if confidentiality is typically required. The records requirement applies to all persons that attend the facility or venue for longer than 15 minutes, which may include staff, customers, maintenance and delivery workers.

You must request that each person who attends the facility or venue for longer than 15 minutes provide:

  • their first name; and
  • a contact phone number, 

and, if provided by the person, must keep a record of those details for 28 days, together with the following details:

  • the date and time at which the person attended the facility or venue; and
  • if there are multiple indoor spaces, the indoor space(s) which the person visited.

You must use reasonable endeavours to protect the personal information from use or disclosure to anyone other than an authorised officers (local Council, DHHS) under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act, and destroy the information as soon as reasonably practicable following 28 days after the visit, unless another statutory requirement permits or requires the personal information to be retained.

Signage: You must comply with the signage requirement for each indoor space all the time, and, if hosting a wedding or funeral, each outdoor space. Display a sign at each public entry to each space that includes a statement that the maximum number of members of the public that may be present in the space at a single time is the number permitted by the density quotient, rounded down to the nearest whole number. Templates here.

Cleaning: You must comply with the cleaning requirements, meaning you must take all reasonable steps to ensure that:

  • frequently touched surfaces accessible to members of the public, including toilets and handrails, are cleaned at least twice on any given day; and
  • surfaces are cleaned when visibly soiled; and
  • if an event is to occur, a reasonable period of time has elapsed since the conclusion of any earlier event to allow for cleaning in between the events; and
  • surfaces accessible to a particular group, including the surface of a restaurant table, are cleaned between groups; and
  • surfaces are cleaned immediately after a spill on the surface.

To ensure a surface is cleaned for the purposes of this direction, a person must wipe the surface with a disinfectant:

  • the label of which states a claim by the manufacturer that the disinfectant has anti-viral properties; or
  • made by a person according to instructions issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.

KEY UPDATES FOR TASMANIA (FROM 17 JUNE 2020)

Tasmania has moved to Stage Two in the lifting of restrictions. The Tasmanian Government is gradually easing restrictions on businesses as part of its response to COVID-19. 

All businesses and workplaces that are permitted to operate are required to implement measures to meet the minimum COVID-19 safety standards and record this in a COVID-19 Safety plan. See more information on restrictions and the COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework.

Religious events and ceremonies:

  • Up to 80 attendees at religious gatherings, ceremonies and instruction; non-denominational ceremonies; and similar services.
  • Up to 80 attendees at weddings, not including the couple being married and staff and volunteers facilitating the event.
  • Up to 80 attendees at funerals, not including staff and volunteers facilitating the event.

The four square metre per person rule applies to all of the religious ceremonies and events listed above.

Gatherings at households: (including shacks) have increased to up to 20 people at any one time, not including residents of the household.  You should not visit or have visitors to your home if you are unwell.

Workplace Safety Plan: All CCVT Affiliates in Tasmania must have a COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan in place.

VIDEO SERMON RESOURCE

In the last 2 years, Mark Conner, previously senior pastor of CityLife Church, has spoken at many CCVT events, Summit 2018 and at many of our churches since then. 

More recently, some of our churches have asked Mark to video preach at their online services. Messages always include a greeting to the church and leaders up front and a closing prayer of response. Message lengths are anywhere from 20-40 minutes. The messages are recorded in 4k video quality with good audio via a lapel mic then delivered in mp4 format or whatever each church media team requires. 

MarkConner.jpg

Some subjects relevant to the current climate includes: 

  • Living in Turbulent Times. From Habakkuk about living in turbulent times. 
  • Freedom from Worry.  About worry and anxiety from Sermon on the Mount.
  • John 3:16 - Basic summary of the gospel for our times. 
  • Improving Our Relationships. A practical message from James 1:19-20. 
  • Igniting Our Spiritual Passion. Passion killers and passion lighters, from Romans 12:8.
  • How to Connect with God.  John 15 abiding in Christ leading to greater fruitfulness.
  • The Spiritual Journey.  Stages of faith in our spiritual journey. 
  • The Blessing of Giving. Acts 20:35 a life of generosity. 
  • Managing Your Finances in Tough Times. A practical message from the book of Proverbs.

If you have an interest in these or other topics, please contact Mark on mark.conner7@icloud.com

Mark’s heart is to be a blessing to our churches and if you are able to, a gift of $250 per message to his itinerant ministry is much appreciated. 

FILMING & INTERVIEW GUIDE

Sam Young, CCVT Videographer, has created a Filming and Interview Guide for CCVT Affiliates.  If you are looking for some simple, user-friendly advice on how to interview people, set up the camera, and get good audio, then have a look at the attached. 

If you have any questions or comments, please reply directly to Sam

STAY UP TO DATE

The aim of these emails is to keep you in the loop and up to date with the most relevant changes, information, and advice but of course it does not replace official Federal or State Government health advice.  

Please check the source links for more information if you are unsure how COVID-19 restrictions may impact your specific ministry activities.

COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation, and all Affiliates are reminded to stay on top of the latest information. Learn more by referring to trusted sources, such as:

The focus of this week’s update is the safe resumption of services and other face-to-face activities on church property.

As churches and agencies around the world start cautiously resuming their activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to stay on top of the restrictions relevant to your country, state, and type of activity.

Here are some answers to common questions that are floating around at the moment. 

Please keep in mind the answers pertain to the minimum standard of what is allowed – you are free to decide as a church or agency if you would like to be more cautious or take the restrictions even further for additional safety or practical reasons. Basically, it is ok to set the bar higher, but you cannot drop below the minimum level of safety required by our legislation. For example, many churches are holding off altogether on resuming face to face services until the 

Where possible, we have included a link at the end of each answer so you can check the source and read further information as required.

If you are in doubt about your activities, please call the hotline for your state and seek advice.

Victorian Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 675 398
Tasmanian Public Health Hotline: 1800 671 738

VICTORIA (ADVICE CURRENT FROM 1 JUNE – 22 JUNE 2020)

Can we sing at church?

Yes. This is not a restricted activity in Victoria.

Do we need to temperature test people as they arrive?

No. As a church you are not required to do this, but if you do choose to do it you should use a non-contact thermometer (example) and have a clear and simple procedure for who gets tested (e.g. just staff or everyone?), when they get tested (e.g. upon arrival), and how to handle the situation should someone register a high temperature (e.g. stand aside and retest after 5 minutes. If temperature remains high, go home).  

Is there is a time limit for how long our service or activity can run?

No, but you should leave adequate time for cleaning and sanitising before and after each service or event. This may mean fewer services being conducted or groups using a building or space each day. Be good stewards of people’s time and energy. (Source link)

Can we run multiple church services or activities one after the other in the same space? 

Yes. Multiple services or ceremonies can be held on the same day, but at least one hour should be allowed between them to reduce the risk of crowds at entrances and exits and to enable cleaning. (Source link)

Can we run multiple church services or activities at the same time in different parts of the building?

Yes. You can have up to 20 people in “a single undivided indoor space, subject to the four square metre rule plus the minimum number of people reasonably required to perform the service or ceremony”. An enclosed space is defined as “an area, room or premises that is substantially enclosed by a roof and walls. If venues have multiple floors, courtyards or separate rooms these may count as enclosed spaces”. (Source link)

This means that you could have 20 people worshipping in the church auditorium and another 20 watching a live feed in the hall at the same time. Or, you could have a service for 20 people happening on the ground floor and another 20 in the kid’s ministry activity upstairs. 

This sounds easy but be mindful that you must make sure crowds do not form in any common areas such as foyers, toilets, kitchens, or any areas where the two groups might meet.  

You are not required to have separate entry/exits for each group, but you must consider the impact on common areas and manage people traffic:

  • stagger start/finish times so that the two groups aren’t arriving and leaving through the same foyer at the same time
  • designate different entry/exit doors for the different groups
  • designate different toilets for the different groups
  • eliminate, reduce, or adapt morning tea or food service so that people are not tempted to gather in crowds larger than the 20 for their activity
  • know what the maximum occupancy of your foyer and other common areas to ensure that you don’t have too many people in there either

If you are unsure if you can manage this safely, please don’t proceed.  The health and wellbeing of our community is more important than getting the most people possible attending an event.  

Source: This advice was received from the Business Victoria Coronavirus Hotline 13 22 15 on 11/6/2020.  (Source Link)

Are staff included in the 4 square meter rule?

No. The four square metre rule applies to limit the number of customers/visitors in a space, but not the number of workers. Venues and facilities can have the number of staff reasonably required to operate, in addition to the limit in place for patrons.

Workers are excluded from the calculation because employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace. (Source link)

sample door sign is attached.

Do we need to count how many people enter the building?

Yes, this is how you will know if you have met the occupancy limitation for the venue.  You must include babies and children in the count.  Even if you use a booking system to allocate seats or restrict numbers attending a service, you should still do a head count to ensure extras have not entered.

We have outside groups that want to use our buildings – is our church responsible for making sure those people are sticking to the social distancing rules?

Places of worship may host essential community services, including leasing church halls or other spaces for community support groups. Physical distancing requirements are the responsibility of the group or organisation leasing the space (the tenant), not the landlord/owner. (Source Link)

Affiliates are encouraged to communicate thoroughly with any hall hirers, and make sure they understand the occupancy, hygiene, cleaning, and social distancing requirements for the buildings.

Use door signs and other posters to spread the message about safe practices.

Do we need to record attendee details for contact tracing?

Yes. To support contact tracing, a place of worship that is hosting a wedding, funeral or ceremony must request that each person attending the premise (including staff) provide first name and phone number.

You must keep a record of those details, and the date and time at which the person attended the facility. Where the patrons spend most of their time in a single space a record of the space used should also be kept. There is no need to keep multiple records if patrons move through multiple spaces. Records can be kept electronically or in hard copy. Records should be kept for 28 days. Pens used to record details should be wiped with an alcohol wipe between users. (Source Link)

sample record and fact sheet are attached to this email.

Remember, you must ask for details, but people have a right to say no to having their details recorded and they can still participate in the event.

How do we clean and sanitise?

Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly e.g. phones, keyboards, door handles, light switches, bench tops can help stop the spread of coronavirus. Advice on cleaning and disinfecting to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading (Word).

You will find some Safe Work Australia checklists attached and more information can be found at www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/how-clean-and-disinfect-your-workplace-covid-19

What do we do if someone tests positive for COVID-19?

Anyone who tests positive to COVID-19 will be contacted by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and given instructions on quarantine requirements

DHHS will manage contact tracing and notifications to any people who have been in close contact with a person who tests positive to COVID-19.  

Affiliates should be ready to give the Dept any records of attendees at their events to assist them with contact tracing and notifications. 

When will restrictions change again?

From 22 June 2020 a further easing of restrictions is planned in Victoria. Further information on how this will impact faith communities will become available closer to that date.

For more information:

Staying safe
Victoria’s restriction levels
Restricted Activity Directions (No 9) Legislation
Stay Safe Directions given on 31 May 2020

TASMANIA (ADVICE CURRENT FROM 5 JUNE 2020)

Please note: The lifting of Stage 2 restrictions (due to come into effect on 15 June) was brought forward to come into effect from 3pm on Friday 5 June 2020. The decision by the State Government was made after consultation with Public Health. Restrictions around numbers that can gather are still in place but have increased. 

What are the current allowed numbers as of 5 June 2020?

Households: maximum of 10 people at any one time, in addition to residents of the household.

Gatherings: maximum of 20 people (indoor and outdoor) unless the maximum density for the premises under the 4 square metre rule is less, in which case you must adhere to the lower number.

Religious ceremonies, private worship and church services, including baptisms:  maximum of 40 attendees (indoor and outdoor) in addition to the people reasonably necessary to perform or provide the religious instruction, support or service.

Weddings: maximum of 40 attendees (indoor and outdoor) in addition to the people reasonably necessary to perform the wedding unless the maximum density for the premises under the 4 square metre rule is less, in which case you must adhere to the lower number

Funerals: maximum of 50 attendees (indoor and outdoor) in addition to the people reasonably necessary to perform the funeral unless the maximum density for the premises under the 4 square metre rule is less, in which case you must adhere to the lower number

At all of the above, people should still ensure they use physical distancing (1.5m away from others when possible when out), wash their hands regularly, cover coughs and sneezes, stay home if unwell and get tested for COVID-19 if experiencing any cold or flu symptoms. 

Vulnerable people are encouraged to stay home as much as possible to help protect their health.  (Source link)

Make sure your church or agency fully understands the requirements around gatherings, density and physical distancing and how they apply to your activities. 

Some restrictions will be updated over coming days. (Source link)

Do Affiliates need to produce a COVID-19 Safety Plan?

Yes. Services and venues involved in religious ceremonies, funerals and weddings must have a COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan in place by 15 June 2020.  

Creating a plan is not as difficult as it sounds – the information included in your plan will include things you are already doing, and there are templates to help you along the way.

The principles underlying this plan are preparation and prevention of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Business Tasmania partnered with WorkSafe Tasmania to host an online information session to help you navigate the process of developing your COVID-19 Safety Plan. Presented by Ken Nolan from WorkSafe Tasmania, Ken walks you through:

  • why you need to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • where to find checklists, guidelines and plan templates
  • tips and tricks to filling in the plan template or add to your existing workplace plan

Watch a video about how to develop your Plan  ***Highly recommended***

Learn about the minimum standards in the 6 Point Checklist: How to keep your workers safe and limit the spread of COVID-19

Use the small business template (employing fewer than 20 people) or the medium business template (employing between 20 and 199 people) to start your safety plan inc volunteers

Have a solid read of the COVID Safe Workplace Guidelines – Weddings & Religious Services Industry as it will help you with content for your plan

Can we sing at church?

Yes. This is not a restricted activity in Tasmania.

Do we need to temperature test people as they arrive?

No. As a church you are not required to do this, but if you do choose to do it you should use a non-contact thermometer (example) and have a clear and simple procedure for who gets tested (e.g. just staff or everyone?), when they get tested (e.g. upon arrival), and how to handle the situation should someone register a high temperature (e.g. stand aside and retest after 5 minutes. If temperature remains high, go home).  This will form part of your Safety Plan.

Is there is a time limit for how long our service or activity can run?

No, but you should leave adequate time for cleaning and sanitising before and after each service or event.  

Can we run multiple church services or activities one after the other in the same space? 

Yes. Multiple services or ceremonies can be held on the same day but leave enough time between them to reduce the risk of crowds at entrances and exits and to enable proper cleaning and sanitising.

Can we run multiple church services or activities at the same time in different parts of the building?

Yes, BUT you can only have multiple groups of 40 people in separate spaces at the same time if each group has completely separate amenities and entry/exit doors.  The groups cannot share any common area.

If you have multiple groups on the premises at the same time and they need to both use the same foyer or toilets these areas must be completely sanitised between use. This makes it quite impractical for some churches, so please give serious consideration to whether it is in fact easier to just hold one event or to stagger them to run at different times.

You may need to:

  • stagger start/finish times so that the two groups aren’t arriving and leaving through the same foyer at the same time (remember you must clean in between groups)
  • designate different entry/exit doors for the different groups
  • designate different toilets for the different groups
  • eliminate, reduce, or adapt morning tea to be prepared and consumed within each groups designated area, not a common area.
  • know what the maximum occupancy of your foyer and other common areas to ensure that you don’t have too many people in there either

If you are unsure if you can manage this safely, please don’t proceed.  The health and wellbeing of our community is more important than getting the most people possible attending an event.  

Are staff included in the 4 square meter rule?

No. The four square metre rule applies to limit the number of people in addition to the staff reasonably required to operate.

Do we need to count how many people enter the building?

Yes. This is how you will know if you have met the occupancy limitation for the premises.  You must include babies and children in the count. Even if you use a booking system to allocate seats or restrict numbers attending a service, you should still do a head count to ensure extras have not entered.

We have outside groups that want to use our buildings – is our church responsible for making sure those people are sticking to the social distancing rules?

Physical distancing requirements are the responsibility of the group or organisation leasing the space (the tenant), not the landlord/owner.

Affiliates are encouraged to communicate thoroughly with any hall hirers, and make sure they understand the occupancy, hygiene, cleaning, and social distancing requirements for the buildings.

Use door signs and other posters to spread the message about safe practices.

Do we need to record attendee details for contact tracing?

Recording attendee details is recommended but not technically required by Dept of Health in Tassie.

CCVT recommends you do record attendee details to support contact tracing by the Dept of Health in the event that someone tests positive.

Remember, you can ask for details, but people have a right to say no to having their details recorded and they can still participate in the event.

Keep a record of those first name and phone number for each person (including children), and the date and time at which the person attended the facility. Records can be kept electronically or in hard copy. 

Records should be kept for 28 days. 

Pens used to record details should be wiped with an alcohol wipe between users. 

How do we clean and sanitise?

Clean and disinfect high touch surfaces regularly e.g. phones, keyboards, door handles, light switches, bench tops can help stop the spread of coronavirus. Advice on cleaning and disinfecting to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading (Word).

You will find some Safe Work Australia checklists attached and more information can be found at www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/how-clean-and-disinfect-your-workplace-covid-19

What do we do if someone tests positive for COVID-19?

People who have tested positive to COVID-19 will receive a letter from Public Health Services telling them when they can leave isolation and return to normal duties, including work. (Source Link)

The Dept of Health will manage contact tracing and notifications to any people who have been in close contact with a person who tests positive to COVID-19.  

Affiliates should be ready to give over any records of attendees at their events to the Dept to assist with contact tracing and notifications. 

What is considered “close contact” in Tassie?

A close contact is anyone who:

  • has had face-to-face contact for more than 15 minutes (cumulative over the course of a week) with someone known to have COVID-19, while that person was or may have been infectious, including in the 48 hours before their symptoms started
  • shared a closed space (e.g. waiting room, classroom) for more than two hours with someone known to have COVID-19, while that person was or may have been infectious, including in the 48 hours before their symptoms started.

Close contacts do not include healthcare workers and other people who used infection control precautions, including the recommended personal protective equipment, while caring for someone with COVID-19.

Any other contact is deemed low risk. (Source link)

When will restrictions change again?

From 13 July 2020 a further easing of restrictions is planned in Tasmania. Further information on how this will impact faith communities will become available closer to that date.

Source: Tasmania Dept of Health Hotline 1800 671 738 as at 12/6/2020

For more information:

The Tasmanian Government’s Roadmap to Recovery

Read more about requirements of businesses under the COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework

Tasmanian Public Health Hotline: 1800 671 738

Safe Work Australia

Worksafe Tasmania

10 NATIONAL COVID-19 SAFE WORKPLACE PRINCIPLES

Source: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces/other-resources/national-covid-19-safe-workplace-principles

Recognising that the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency, that all actions in respect of COVID-19 should be founded in expert health advice, and that the following principles operate subject to the measures agreed and implemented by governments through the National Cabinet process:

1.  All workers, regardless of their occupation or how they are engaged, have the right to a healthy and safe working environment.

2.  The COVID-19 pandemic requires a uniquely focused approach to work health and safety (WHS) as it applies to businesses, workers and others in the workplace.

3.  To keep our workplaces healthy and safe, businesses must, in consultation with workers, and their representatives, assess the way they work to identify, understand and quantify risks and to implement and review control measures to address those risks.

4.  As COVID-19 restrictions are gradually relaxed, businesses, workers and other duty holders must work together to adapt and promote safe work practices, consistent with advice from health authorities, to ensure their workplaces are ready for the social distancing and exemplary hygiene measures that will be an important part of the transition.

5.  Businesses and workers must actively control against the transmission of COVID-19 while at work, consistent with the latest advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), including considering the application of a hierarchy of appropriate controls where relevant.

6.  Businesses and workers must prepare for the possibility that there will be cases of COVID-19 in the workplace and be ready to respond immediately, appropriately, effectively and efficiently, and consistent with advice from health authorities.

7.  Existing state and territory jurisdiction of WHS compliance and enforcement remains critical. While acknowledging that individual variations across WHS laws mean approaches in different parts of the country may vary, to ensure business and worker confidence, a commitment to a consistent national approach is key. This includes a commitment to communicating what constitutes best practice in prevention, mitigation and response to the risks presented by COVID-19.

8.  Safe Work Australia (SWA), through its tripartite membership, will provide a central hub of WHS guidance and tools that Australian workplaces can use to successfully form the basis of their management of health and safety risks posed by COVID-19.

9.  States and Territories ultimately have the role of providing advice, education, compliance and enforcement of WHS and will leverage the use of the SWA central hub in fulfilling their statutory functions.

10.  The work of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission will complement the work of SWA, jurisdictions and health authorities to support industries more broadly to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic appropriately, effectively and safely.

OUR COMMUNITY WEBINAR: MANAGING YOUR RETURN TO THE WORKPLACE

This popular free 1hr webinar is available on repeat and will help you plan your return to the workplace with the help of legal experts Moores.  Click here to watch this recording.

STAY UP TO DATE

The aim of these emails is to keep you in the loop and up to date with the most relevant changes, information, and advice but of course it does not replace official Federal or State Government health advice.  

Please check the source links for more information if you are unsure how COVID-19 restrictions may impact your specific ministry activities.

COVID-19 is a constantly evolving situation, and all Affiliates are reminded to stay on top of the latest information. Learn more by referring to trusted sources, such as:

Our Federal and State Governments have started a process to ease the restrictions that were put in place to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). This will be a careful and staged process. The roadmap for this process allows each jurisdiction to decide which restrictions can be eased and when, based on public health advice and local circumstances. 

In addition to each State deciding what is best for its community, so too does each church and agency affiliated with CCVT need to determine what is best for its community.  

This may mean continuing to postpone some activities or events or adapting them.  Continuing our online services and building on that great work is also vital, as the transition from online to face-to-face services won’t happen at the same time for everyone. Many groups have expressed how beneficial the online community has become, and it seems that around the world, church has changed for the better by the building of that resource. Let’s pray that moving forward, we can keep the best of both ways of doing church! We have attached a couple of articles that be food for thought in this area and a blog post by Rob Nyhuis can be found below also.

Remember, in starting up the face-to-face ministries again, we must meet the minimum standards of personal health and hygiene, social distancing, cleaning, and limits of numbers.  Resuming our ministries must be done safely and without posing further risks to others and public health and so that our Churches and agencies can remain open for all of us to come together during these difficult times. 

KEY MESSAGES FOR VICTORIA 

  • Victoria’s State of Emergency has been extended to 21 June 2020, but some restrictions have been eased.
  • As restrictions ease, it remains important that if you can work from home, you should do so.
  • As we begin to settle into a new normal, our message is "stay safe". That means continuing to maintain physical distance from others, take appropriate hygiene precautions, avoid crowds, stay home and get tested if you're unwell.
  • More information on current restrictions and how to stay safe can be viewed at Coronavirus (COVID-19) page and https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19

KEY MESSAGES FOR TASMANIA 

No changes this week, but Tassie churches and agencies are encouraged to dive deeper into the requirements around the COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework.

The Government has a plan to ‘Rebuild a Stronger Tasmania’. As part of this plan, all workplaces that are reopening will be required to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that complies with minimum COVID-19 safety standards. 

Workplaces that have continued to operate should consider completing a safety plan by 15 June 2020. Minimum Standards will be introduced by 15 June 2020. Check out all the resources in the Toolbox to help you get set up.

REGISTERING ATTENDANCE / RECORD KEEPING

Encourage attendees to do their part by completing the attendance register, using hand sanitiser and keeping 1.5 metres from others which will help to keep everyone safe while enabling them to continue to practice their faith. 

  • Look for the register and complete your details.
  • Use hand sanitiser on entry and exit and when requested.
  • Keep 1.5 metres space between others – in front, behind and next to you.

Remember, you must ask for details, but people have a right to say no to having their details recorded and they can still participate in the event. 

REMINDER FOR THOSE STARTING UP MEETING IN PEOPLE’S HOMES:

Before inviting friends over, think about how to make the evening as safe as possible. While we can resume some parts of our normal lives, there’s still a way to go.

If you are having friends over, we suggest that you:

  • Remind guests that kissing, hugging and handshakes are off-limits for now
  • Ask each person to wash their hands upon arrival
  • Pre-plan the seating arrangements to ensure social distancing can be followed
  • Avoid sharing utensils, cups or eating from shared platters
  • Wash your hands regularly, including after clearing the table or packing the dishwasher
  • If you or any of your guests come down with flu-like symptoms, or if it will be difficult to maintain physical distancing measures in your home, postpone the event

It’s everyone’s responsibility to limit the spread of #COVID19.

More information: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/social-gatherings-covid-19

CLEANING REQUIREMENTS

Community facilities and Places of Worship need to provide adequate time to clean their facilities between events/activities. If you are now starting to run bible study groups etc in homes, please ensure that the hosts also know how to properly clean and disinfect the space before and after people have attended. 

You must take all reasonable steps to ensure that:

  • frequently touched surfaces are cleaned at least twice on any given day;
  • surfaces are cleaned when visibly soiled;
  • if an event is to occur, a reasonable period of time has elapsed since the conclusion of any earlier event to allow for cleaning in between the events; and
  • surfaces are cleaned immediately after a spill on the surface.

To clean, a person must wipe the surface with a disinfectant:

  • the label of which states a claim by the manufacturer that the disinfectant has anti-viral properties; or
  • made by a person according to instructions issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (see attached guide on cleaning and disinfecting).

Safe Work Australia have also provided some helpful advice on cleaning and disinfecting workplaces and helpful signage and posters

HALL HIRE/EXTERNAL GROUPS

Many Affiliates have hall hirers or external groups that regularly use the property for their activities. These groups may be keen to start operating again.

Before allowing these groups to resume, CCVT recommends that you work out the maximum occupancy of each room and set up clear instructions for how rooms must be set up or maintained.

Many churches are requiring hall hirers to sign an additional or new agreement which obliges the hall hirer/group to adhere to the COVID-19 safety procedures. This may include pre and post event cleaning requirements for the space, ensuring provision of hygiene supplies to participants, social distancing requirements, changes to operating hours, reductions to usage fees, and any other particular requirements you may have for the use of your facility.

RESOURCES ON CCVT WEBSITE

There are a number of resources for churches and agencies on the CCVT COVID-19 page of our website, including previous email updates and many of the resources, tools, templates and samples mentioned. Check it out here.

If there is something missing or if you have a resources you think we should add, please let us know!  

ROB NYHUIS BLOG

Check out Rob’s latest blogpost “Toward a Post-COVID-19 Church” at https://wp.me/pVqVv-16q

ONLINE SAFETY

There has been an increase in COVID-19 themed cyber activity towards websites designed to either install software or steal personal information and banking details. Learn more about protecting yourself against cybercrime, or report a cybercrime.

There are a number of resources and articles being developed to assist churches with running online ministry safely: 

The office of the eSafety Commissioner provides some excellent resources for all ages on keeping safe online; very timely in what has fast become a new digital environment for many of us.  

If you would like specific advice or assistance with your ministry, please contact Safe Places at CCVT

DOOR OF HOPE CHRISTIAN CHURCH INC

Here are some updates on how we’ve adapted and made changes in this season of COVID-19 at Door of Hope.

Immediately moved to on-line platforms only

  • No physical church, youth & young adult or kid’s programs. Our staff moved quickly and without fuss in this area.
  • Because of the restricted numbers allowed in our main auditorium for recording on-line services, we found pre-recording a great benefit. This allowed us the ability to use many different people for segments (like giving, communion, worship sets, welcome etc.) which has really broadened our reach for the people of our church to see many more people/faces. This has helped with a greater sense of connection and familiarity.  This is also allowing us to see the potential in people who may not have normally been on our radar, allowing them opportunity to share a short segment. 

Facility closed

  • Only 2 businesses open (out of our usual 7).
  • Due to not being able to see our business owners face to face, we have been very intentional about communicating with them and pastorally caring for them with regular personal contact, encouragement and offers of prayer and support (many of our business owners are not yet Christian).

Intense learning changes

  • Our staff have needed to learn new ways of doing things - fast; communicating, programming, working and leading from home.  The atmosphere amongst staff is positive and open; willing to try new things and lead our people through this time.

We’ve learnt to give ourselves permission to realise that this is new territory

  • None of us have experienced this before – and we each needed to work through our personal response to navigating through this.  Because of this, we know we will each make mistakes (in our effort to try new things).  We have agreed to give ourselves permission to fail through trial.  We also need to take the pressure off ourselves a little in this way.  There is no road map at this time, we are navigating a new route.

Communication changes

  • Our content and method needed to be repositioned.  We immediately implemented additional, relevant social media communication, added more email based communication and will begin mass SMS messages.  
  • We are conscious that whilst we need to be present on social media, we do not want to add to the ‘noise’ that is so prevalent.  Finding the balance is key.  We have chosen to remain pro-active and steady in our approach being careful not to be reactive and impulsive or feeling we have to fill every quiet space with noise.  We have introduced some new intentional ‘human touch’ video messages.  
  • As Senior Minister, I have personally texted many people, from our church data base as a means of personal connection and encouragement.  
  • I have also arranged to ZOOM in to visit our Connect Groups for a 10 minute catch up.  A simple ‘hi’ and encouragement is helpful in helping our people feel connected to the larger church gathering.
  • I have also joined our youth/young adults ZOOM gatherings for the same reason as above.
  • We decided early on that whilst we didn’t want to pressure our people with lots of new things, there was a need to offer new and different ways to connect (especially those who live alone and completely isolated).  Because of this we introduced more regular prayer gatherings via ZOOM.  We have kept these to 45 minutes and finding that people are really appreciating the ability to connect with others in this way.
  • Staff meetings – all our regular staff meetings, plus all ministry team meetings are taking place via ZOOM.
  • I implemented an ‘optional’ 30 minute gathering for all staff, fortnightly, as a means to simply catch up and connect with one another.  It also provides an opportunity to ask any questions staff may have.

Pastoral Care 

  • Our Pastoral team have quickly adapted and are caring for and supporting our elderly and vulnerable as well as managing those who have enlisted to our ‘self isolation registry’, via our website. The team are now offering personalised grocery shopping for residents of aged care independent living units.

Redeployment

  • A very prompt decision was made to redeploy 3 staff almost immediately because their working situations had closed. All other staff are able to continue as normal at this stage.

Cancellations – decisions had to be made about many upcoming events 

  • Significant church services (Easter, Mother’s Day) had to immediately be reprogrammed to be more suitable to an online only platform.   
  • Flourish (our annual women’s event) made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event – the first in its 18 year history.  With so much planning and preparation, particularly booking of guest speakers and airfares, which mean paying deposits/associated costs, the team felt that with the uncertainty around whether regulations around gatherings the size of Flourish would have come to a close by August, a decision had to be made sooner rather than later about the sustainability of the event.  They were also mindful that registrations would likely be low due to the financial difficulties and concerns that many are facing now and will continue to face in the coming months.  
  • Door of Hope was scheduled to host the annual Senior Minister’s Conference in August – we have made the decision to cancel (until 2021) – for the same reasons as Flourish (above)

We have learnt (and have to recognise) that

  • Every change, every adaption we make adds another layer of pressure to our staff/leaders.  
  • A crisis magnifies reality – people are more open spiritually – we look for security, familiarity, community and leadership.
  • With crisis comes an opportunity of furthering our desire to reach our neighbours, family and friends with the good news of Jesus.

“I look at this moment and I have an internal sense of knowing this is where courage defines itself.  

We are not just existing.

This is where we (the Church) become a beacon of light, in the darkness of our fragile and uncertain world.

This is the moment where faith elevates.  

This is the moment when we are fully alive”. 

Steve Fitzallen
Senior Minister

THORNBURY CHURCH OF CHRIST

Where can I start?  God is good!  

  • We commenced a twice daily, 30 min prayer time on Zoom at the beginning of lock down and that has continued Monday through Friday and is well attended, one comment was that "there has never been this many people from the church praying together, this often, in the history of Thornbury!"  
  • We’ve had a number of people take up the Hope Group Training offered by Together Network.  
  • We have continued to open for bread collection twice a week and God has added to us a freezer and the opportunity to distribute over 100 FareShare meals each week to supplement the bread.  
  • Our local Neighbourhood house has been offering us toiletries and other essentials which as seen the church hall almost transform into a free mini market.  
  • Our monthly community lunches have remained take away only, but we h