COVID-19 Update – Entry restricted for people return from travel in Victoria

8 July – Number 1

  • Entry restricted for people return from travel in Victoria
  • Applications now open for reopening of children, youth and family ministries
  • Change to the maximum number of people in church and for funerals
  • Diocesan Plan and local application form meet the Government requirements to have a COVID19 safety plan

Dear colleagues,

There have been some significant changes in this space arising from changes announced by the NSW Government but also arising from increased COVID19 concerns in Victoria.

These directions arise from our continued commitment to love our neighbour and ensure the health and safety of all people attending our sites remains our paramount concern. We have obligations under NSW Public Health Orders to maintain COVID safe spaces.

Thankyou for all your hard work and prayerful care!

Entry restricted for people returning from travel in Victoria

Following the increase in COVID-19 cases in Victoria, we need to restrict entry to church activities for 14 days for people who have returned from Victoria.

The Diocesan Office has made an update to the Conditions of Entry signage which can be found on the Diocesan website.

This signage should be placed at the entry of all buildings with details of this change communicated to all persons that we expect to have come on site.

Applications can now be made to resume children, youth and family ministries

Information to enable parishes to apply for permission to recommence Child, Youth and Family ministries will be available on the Diocesan website from Thursday 9 July.

All Fact Sheets, resources and the Application form can be found in the COVID-19 section of the website.

At this stage the risk to children and the role children play in transmission of COVID19 is not fully understood. While there has been a relatively low number of cases in children it is important that we have robust measures in place to protect not only the health and safety of children and youth that will engage in activities on our sites but also the adults who will be involved in conducting these activities.

I will need to give formal written approval to recommence these ministries. The approvals will be administered by Heidi Randle in the Diocesan Office. Approval will be dependent on the parish’s ability to comply fully with all measures outlined in the relevant Fact Sheets.

Requirement to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan

In accordance with NSW Public Health Order (No 4) 2020, each place of worship is required to develop, implement and comply  with a COVID-19 Safety Plan to keep staff, volunteers and visitors safe. The Anglican Church Newcastle utilises the Safe Return to Church Framework as the safety plan. This plan together with the re-opening Application Form is the site specific plan for church buildings. This should be maintained as a current document including any changes to it notified to the Diocesan Office. 

Comprehensive details of the Safe Return to Church framework and safety measures implemented can be found on the Diocesan Website

Maximum number of people in churches

From 1 July the maximum number of people allowed in a church building is based on the  maximum capacity of your building calculated by applying the 4 square metre rule.

A separate application will not be required to increase this number but you must advise the Diocesan Risk Officer Heidi Randle which conformation that number of people permitted on the site will change.

Maximum number of people at funerals

A parish may have 50 people in church for a funeral or as many people in church as the maximum capacity allows.

Social distancing rules remain in force and provide that non-household contacts must maintain 1.5 metres of physical distance from others.

Further detail on this has been provided in the updated Safe Return to Church Fact Sheet 2 Preparing the Building.

Ministry in Aged Care Facilities

Where an Aged Care Facility requests that a  Parish recommence on site services they are now able to do so. Anybody attending an Aged Care Facility must comply with the facilities’ screening requirements and ensure compliance with the Safe Return to Church framework.

Leave for clergy where they are required to self-isolate or contract COVID19

If clergy are sick or required to self-isolate, the usual leave provisions apply as set out in the Clerical Ministry Ordinance 2009. Please advise  the Bishops through Alison.

Clergy Annual Leave

I encourage clergy to look at taking some annual leave in a routine way. I am looking at some time in October. Each of us have a responsibility to ensure our self care through rest and refreshment.

Support from the Diocesan Office

The Diocesan Office has set up a Frequently Asked Questions page to provide updates in relation to common queries or updates to processes.

The Diocesan Office currently is receiving a large volume of applications and enquiries and will respond to all enquiries as soon as possible. To keep up to date with the latest information on the Diocese’s COVID-19 Safe Return to Church and other activities strategy, please visit the COVID-19 Safe return to Church page on the Diocesan website.

+Peter