COVID-19

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

Updates


VICTORIA UPDATE:

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

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

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

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

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

CHANGES TO MANDATORY VACCINATION DOES NOT APPLY TO RELIGIOUS WORKERS:

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

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

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

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

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VICTORIA UPDATE:

CHANGES TO TESTING AND CONTACT MANAGEMENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a workplace:

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

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

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

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

Household and Household-like contacts:  

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

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

All Other Contacts:

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

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

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN VICTORIA:

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Religious Gatherings

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

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

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

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

Find out more about COVIDSafe gatherings.

 
 
 

Mandatory Vaccination of Religious Workers

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

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

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

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

FAQ for Workers

FAQ for Business and Industry

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

 

Who is a religious worker?

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

This does NOT include “excluded workers” who:

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

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

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

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

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

Exceptions may apply in some circumstances.

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

 

Evidence of Vaccination

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

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

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

 

Life groups/bible study groups in private homes

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

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

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

 

Vaccination for kids and youth

Vaccines are available for everyone aged 5 years and over.

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

 

Pastoral visitation in private homes

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

 

Pastoral visitation in hospital

Visitors are only allowed at hospitals for very limited reasons. 

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

 

Pastoral visitation in care facilities

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

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

 

Food and drink facilities

e.g. commercial café

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

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

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

Retail / Op shops

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

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

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

Op shops must have a COVIDSafe plan in place.

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

 

Face Masks

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

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

Carry a mask when leaving home. 

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

 

Contact Tracing

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

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

 

COVID Check-in Marshals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Signs, Posters, and Templates

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

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

 

Responding to a confirmed case

As a workplace:

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

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

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

 

Household and Household-like contacts:  

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

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

 

All Other Contacts:

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

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

 

COVIDSafe Plans

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

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

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

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

 

Cross-border Communities

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

 

Baptisms

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

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

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

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

 

Tithes and Offerings

Encourage online giving or direct bank transfer. 

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

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

 

Singing

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

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

 

Food/Beverage 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. 

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

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

 

Hall Hire and tenants

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

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

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

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

 

Ventilation and cleaning

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

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

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

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

 

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

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STAY UP TO DATE:

VICTORIA UPDATE:

MASKS:

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

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

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

PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR GATHERINGS:

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

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

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

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

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

ADVICE FOR CASES AND CONTACTS:

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

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

NOT SURE ABOUT SOMETHING?

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

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

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

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TASMANIA UPDATE:

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY OF HOW CURRENT RESTRICTIONS AFFECT AFFILIATES IN TASMANIA:

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

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

 

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS FOR TASMANIA from 21 DEC 2021

 

Religious Gatherings

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

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

Small Gatherings: 

Indoor events up to 250 people

Outdoor events up to 500 people 

Requirements:

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

 

Tier 1:

Indoor events of 251 to 2000 people

Outdoor events of 501 to 2000 people

Requirements:

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

Please see the attached Events Framework Guidelines for more information.

 
 
 

Visiting a hospital

Visitors are only allowed at hospitals for very limited reasons. 

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

 

Visiting a care facility

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

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

 

Face Masks

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

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

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

Contact Tracing

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

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

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

All Affiliates must have someone 

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

 

Resources

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

 

Responding to a confirmed case

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

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

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

 

COVID-19 Safety Plans

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

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

 

Baptisms

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

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

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

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

 

Tithes and Offerings

Encourage online giving or direct bank transfer. 

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

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

 

Singing

Singing is allowed at places of worship in Tasmania.

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

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

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

 

Food/Beverage 

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

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

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

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

 

Communion

Communion can be served as part of a religious gathering. 

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

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

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

 

Hall Hire and tenants

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

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

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

 

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