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COVID-19 FAQs for Greater Sydney

There are new Public Health Orders for the Greater Sydney Region that are in effect.

Frequently Asked Questions – 2021

We feel that it is important to remind everyone that the framework we use to make decisions and the posture we take towards those around us significantly informs the decisions we make and the way that we make them.  As followers of Jesus and witnesses to the Lordship of Jesus, our posture and framework need to be influenced by kingdom principles which focus on the least and lost, on the care for the vulnerable, and on our own selflessness and sacrifice.

As we continue to engage with the community, the posture from our State Government, and particularly NSW Health, is one of persuasion rather than direction, with a clear commitment to caring for the vulnerable within our community and significantly reducing the risks associated with COVID-19. The Government and NSW Health are committed to avoiding harsh rules and lockdowns and they ask us to join with them in this endeavor.  Church and community leaders are cooperating to advise and support the community about important safety issues and, as Baptists, we want to be part of that others-centered cooperative approach. We believe that it is not only our civic duty to do so but our kingdom responsibility as well.

Greater Sydney FAQs

**Subject to change following release of new Public Health Order

Restriction Changes from 12:01am Friday 26th February 2021

Restrictions for Weddings:

  • Weddings continue to be subject to the one person per 2sqm rule, with a maximum of 300 people, whichever comes first.
  • Dancing is now limited to 30 people at any one time (it does not have to be the same 30 people all event).

Restrictions for Residential Premises in Greater Sydney:
This includes households that are using their residential premises for religious gatherings:

  • 50 visitors will now be allowed in the home. This restriction continues to remain unchanged for household visitors in Rural and Regional NSW. (please link to rural/regional NSW FAQ page).

Update on Singing for Greater Sydney and Rural/Regional NSW:

  • Indoor Settings
    • There can be up to 30 performers singing indoors. The performers must be at least 1.5m from each other, at least 5m from the congregation/audience and all be facing the same direction.
    • Congregations can sing in Places of Public Worship if:
      • Places of Public Worship abide by the one person per 4sqm rule. No congregational singing is allowed in Places of Public Worship with the one person per 2sqm rule. 
      • Everyone over 12 years old (without an exempt reason) wears a mask.
  • Outdoor Settings
    • There is no limit on the number of people that can sing together in an outdoor setting for a Place of Public Worship or Religious Gathering.
    • It is recommended that everyone over the age of 12 years wears a face mask.

Face Masks: 

  • Face masks are no longer mandatory in Places of Public Worship (but is strongly recommended for vulnerable people and where physical distancing is not possible in indoor settings) unless the congregation is participating in singing indoors. If this is the case, face masks are mandatory in Places of Public Worship.

Information last updated 24 February 2:46pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the restrictions in Greater Sydney?

Face Masks

  • Face masks are no longer mandatory in Places of Public Worship (but is strongly recommended for vulnerable people and where physical distancing is not possible in indoor settings)
  • Masks will continue to remain mandatory on Public Transport.

 

Households
You can only have 30 visitors in your home (including children).

Religious Gatherings and Places of Public Worship

  • Places of public worship are subject to the one person per 2sqm rule (not including staff/volunteers).
  • The venue must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan and be registered as a COVID Safe venue to keep staff, volunteers and visitors safe.

Religious Gatherings not at a Place of Public Worship

  • The principal organiser is responsible for developing and complying with a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
  • People attending a religious service will be required to provide their name and contact details for contact tracing, we recommend using the Service NSW App to ensure compliance with digital record keeping.
  • It is mandatory to wear a face mask during a religious service even if they are held somewhere other than a place of public worship.

Music performances during religious services, weddings and funerals

  • If a music performance is part of a service (religious, weddings or funerals), masks do not need to be worn by the performer if impractical for the performance such as wind instruments or singing.

Singing and chanting advice
Note regarding the specific logistics of the new rules: NSW Health are happy for congregations to move between 2sqm and 4sqm within a service of worship, and have no masks, only putting them on for the duration of singing/chanting. E.g. A church can start the service with all families in (2sqm) and then sing (with masks) for the second half of the service when the kids have left (and we are at 4sqm). 

  • Indoor Settings
    • There can be up to 30 performers singing indoors. The performers must be at least 1.5m from each other, at least 5m from the congregation/audience and all be facing the same direction.
    • Congregations can sing in Places of Public Worship if:
      • Places of Public Worship abide by the one person per 4sqm rule. No congregational singing is allowed in Places of Public Worship with the one person per 2sqm rule. 
      • Everyone over 12 years old (without an exempt reason) wears a mask.
  • Outdoor Settings
    • There is no limit on the number of people that can sing together in an outdoor setting for a Place of Public Worship or Religious Gathering.
    • It is recommended that everyone over the age of 12 years wears a face mask.

To minimise the risk of infection when singing, outdoors, the COVID-19 Safety Plans requires that:

  • All singers face forwards and not towards each other;
  • Maintain physical distancing of 1.5m between each other and other performers; and
  • Performers keep at least 5m physical distancing from all other people, including the audience and conductor.

If a music performance is part of a religious service, wedding or funeral, masks do not need to be worn by the performers if impractical for the performance to occur, such as wind instruments or singing.

What does this mean for singers leading worship out the front at church services?
Singers can lead the congregation from the front (and do not need to wear a mask), so long as they maintain at least 5m of physical distancing from the audience/congregation (this is because they are likely to be facing towards the congregation).

 

Funerals

  • A maximum of 300 people may attend a funeral or memorial service (or a gathering after the service) subject to the one person per 2sqm rule, whichever comes first. 
  • Places of public worship, funeral homes and crematoria must be registered as a COVID Safe business.
  • People attending the service will be required to supply their name and contact details so that they can be used for contact tracing.

 

Weddings

  • A maximum of 300 people may attend a wedding (or a gathering after the service) subject to the one person per 2sqm rule, whichever comes first. 
  • You must complete and register a COVID-19 Safety Plan for your event.
  • People attending will be required to provide their name and contact details so that they can be used for contact tracing.
  • Dancing is now limited to 30 people at any one time (it does not have to be the same 30 people all event).
  • It is mandatory to wear a face mask in certain indoor settings such as public places of worship.

 

Greater Sydney has been defined to include Wollongong and the Central Coast, and the councils that are impacted by the latest restrictions are listed below:

 

We will continue to update this page when further information becomes available.  For the lastest Info go to: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/what-you-can-and-cant-do-under-rules/greater-sydney

Last Updated:  2 March at 10.26 am 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarification on Singing

 

We have received confirmation from NSW Health that the following restrictions are in place for music performers and congregational singing. Please note that this applies to all religious services, weddings and funerals:

Singing
Note regarding the specific logistics of the new rules: NSW Health are happy for congregations to move between 2sqm and 4sqm within a service of worship, and have no masks, only putting them on for the duration of singing/chanting. E.g. A church can start the service with all families in (2sqm) and then sing (with masks) for the second half of the service when the kids have left (and we are at 4sqm).

  • Indoor Settings
    • There can be up to 30 performers singing indoors. The performers must be at least 1.5m from each other, at least 5m from the congregation/audience and all be facing the same direction.
    • Congregations can sing in Places of Public Worship if:
      • Places of Public Worship abide by the one person per 4sqm rule. No congregational singing is allowed in Places of Public Worship with the one person per 2sqm rule. 
      • Everyone over 12 years old (without an exempt reason) wears a mask.
  • Outdoor Settings
    • There is no limit on the number of people that can sing together in an outdoor setting for a Place of Public Worship or Religious Gathering.
    • It is recommended that everyone over the age of 12 years wears a face mask.

To minimise the risk of infection when singing, outdoors, the COVID-19 Safety Plans requires that:

  • All singers face forwards and not towards each other;
  • Maintain physical distancing of 1.5m between each other and other performers; and
  • Performers keep at least 5m physical distancing from all other people, including the audience and conductor.

If a music performance is part of a religious service, wedding or funeral, masks do not need to be worn by the performers if impractical for the performance to occur, such as wind instruments or singing.

What does this mean for singers leading worship out the front at church services?
Singers can lead the congregation from the front (and do not need to wear a mask), so long as they maintain at least 5m of physical distancing from the audience/congregation (this is because they are likely to be facing towards the congregation).

Last updated 2 March at 10:26 am

Clarification on Mask Wearing

 

 

Face Masks: 

  • Masks are mandatory during singing or chanting
  • Face masks are not mandatory at any other times in Places of Public Worship (but is strongly recommended for vulnerable people and where physical distancing is not possible in indoor settings)
  • Masks will continue to remain mandatory on Public Transport.

Last updated 2 March 10:26 am

Due to the ongoing situation on COVID-19, the Baptist Ministry Centre is closed to protect the health and safety of our staff team and support the overall effort to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. All staff are working from home and are contactable via phone/mobile/email and we are continuing to provide consistency of service to our churches.

If you are unable to find any information on this page, please contact our friendly staff at hello@nswactbaptists.org.au or on (02) 9868 9200 and we would be more than happy to assist you.