11th May 2021

BUV Advice on Current Government’s Restrictions

On this page, you can find information and guidance from the BUV regarding the current Government’s restrictions.  If in doubt, please ring the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances. For Church resources and translated information, click here.

 

Update 11/05/21 – Density limits lift on small to medium-sized venues

From 28 May, places of worship less than 400 square metres can host gatherings of up to 200 people per space, without any density limit. There must be COVID marshals on site to ensure all visitors are checking in via the free Victorian Government QR Code Service at each space. Larger spaces will still need to observe density limits of 1 per 2sqm. 

Click here for more information.

 

Update 27/04/21 – Victorian Government QR Code Service

  • All Places of Worship must use the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or the Victorian Government API (Application Programming Interface) to record keep
  • A 28-day compliance amnesty was first put in place on 26 March 2021. This amnesty has been extended for 7 days and will now end on the 30 April 2021
  • Venues must make reasonable efforts to ensure that visitors can use a compliant recordkeeping system even where a visitor cannot access the system on their own device for some reason (e.g. they do not have a mobile phone). This could include making a terminal (e.g. an iPad) available for customers to sign in, or staff assisting the customer to sign in. In exceptional circumstances where such an approach is not practicable, an alternative record keeping approach (including a non-electronic approach) can be used as a back-up. 

 

Update 09/04/21

From midnight Friday 9 April, Victoria will move to allowing 100 per cent of seated indoor and outdoor capacity for entertainment, cultural and sporting venues up to a maximum of 1,000 patrons per space. These venues include theatres, cinemas, music halls, concert halls, auditoriums, galleries, museums, and sports and physical recreation facilities. 

Please note that density quotient for Places of Worship remains unchanged at 1 person per 2sqm.

  • Venues must use electronic record keeping through the Services Vic app or a government API-linked digital system (venues will have a 28-day compliance amnesty in place to 23 April 2021 – please contact Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 to seek advice/ clearance specific to your circumstances.)
  • Indoor and outdoor ceremonies can occur at the same time
  • All faith organisations must have a COVIDSafe Plan

 

Update 23/03/21 Updated COVIDsafe settings

From 6pm on Friday 26 March, Victoria will further relax its COVIDSafe settings, including allowing for more visitors in the home, reduced mask wearing and an increase in the number of people allowed in live music venues and other settings. 

Source:
Statement from acting Premier
COVIDSafe Settings (From Friday 26 March 21)

Religious ceremonies and gatherings

Gatherings

  • In homes: up to 100 people
  • Outdoors: up to 200 people

Weddings

  • No attendee caps indoors or outdoors
  • Record keeping required

Funerals

  • No attendee caps indoors or outdoors
  • Record keeping required

Work

  • On-site work will no longer be capped.
  • All workplaces with onsite workers require a COVIDSafe Plan

Masks

  • Masks will not longer need to be worn in retail settings
  • Wearing a face mask when singing indoors is highly recommended
  • Victorians will still be required to carry their masks and wear them if physical distancing is not possible

 

 

Update 26/02/21 COVIDSafe Settings

Source: 
VIC GOV
COVIDSafe religion and ceremonies guidance
Industry Restart Guidelines (updated 26/02)

Victoria returns to COVIDSafe settings from 11:59pm on Friday 26 February 2021.

Places of Worship

  • can have indoor or outdoor religious gatherings at the same
  • no group limits
  • Venues must apply the two square metre rule to ensure people have enough room to maintain 1.5 metres distance between them. The two square metre rule can be used only if electronic record keeping is used, otherwise, the four square metre rule applies. The square metre rule doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age
  • 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. 
  • 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 strongly recommended to wear a face mask when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people. 

Religious gatherings at home

  • 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, and intimate partners of the household members).
  • It is strongly recommended you wear a face mask when at a private gathering or when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people.
  • For weddings, funerals and religious gatherings, if a service is conducted in a private home, the private gathering limit applies (30 visitors). You should not attend a wedding, funeral or religious gathering if you are feeling unwell. Stay home and get tested.

Funerals

  • Can be held indoors or outdoors
  • The venue must apply the two square metre rule to ensure people have enough room to maintain 1.5 metres distance between them. There are no group limits. The square metre rule doesn’t include babies under 12 months of age. The two square metre rule can be used only if electronic record keeping is used. Otherwise, the four square metre rule applies.

Weddings

  • Can be held indoors or outdoors.
  • The venue must apply the two square metre rule to ensure people have enough room to maintain 1.5 metres distance between them. There are no group limits. The square metre rule includes the couple, the celebrant, and photographer, but not other workers such as catering staff or babies under 12 months. The two square metre rule can be used only if electronic record keeping is used. Otherwise, the four square metre rule applies.

Best Practice Tips for COVIDSafe Churches and Ministries
FAQs on Religion and Ceremony

 

Update 17/02/21  COVIDSafe Summer (from 11:59pm)

Source:
Statement from Premier
Full list of restrictions

From 11:59pm tonight, most of the restrictions will be eased, getting us back to our COVIDSafe Summer. There are no restrictions on reasons to leave home or travel limit.

  • Public gatherings:
    – up to 20 outdoors 
    – infants under 12 months not included in cap

  • Visitors to home:
    – up to 5 visitors
    – infants under 12 months not included in cap

  • Face masks
    – must be carried at all times and mandatory indoors and outdoors when cannot maintain 1.5m
    – strongly recommend to wear when visitors attend your home

  • Ceremonies and Religious gatherings:
    – Density quotient of 1 per 2sqm applies. Venues using the density quotient of 1 per 2sqm must use electronic record keeping.
    – In venues not using electronic record a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies.
    – Indoor and outdoor ceremonies can occur at the same time.

  • Weddings:
    – No maximum attendee caps indoors or outdoors, density quotient of 1 per 2 sqm applies when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies.
    – For weddings held at a private residence, the private gathering limit of 5 people applies.

  • Funerals:
    – No maximum attendee caps indoors or outdoors, density quotient of 1 per 2sqm applies when using electronic record keeping. In venues not using electronic record a density quotient of 1 per 4 sqm applies.
    – For a funeral held at a private residence, the private gathering limit of 5 people applies.

  • Work and Education:
    – Schools open
    – Onsite office work capped at no more than 50%

Best Practice Tips for COVIDSafe Churches and Ministries
FAQs on Religion and Ceremony

 

 

Update 12/02/21  Circuit breaker lockdown restrictions 

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a state-wide circuit breaker lockdown from 11:59pm tonight, Friday 12th February, until 11.59pm Wednesday  17th February, 2021.  We know that for many churches that have only just had their first on-site services, this will be a disappointing blow.  However, it appears that it is the best option to avoid further spread and avoid a third wave.

We know that by now, you are all well aware of lockdown scenarios – but here’s a quick refresh of the current restrictions.

Circuit Breaker Restrictions
Source: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/

The lockdown includes only 4 reasons for Victorians to leave home :

  • for essential supplies
  • for care and care-giving
  • for exercise (2 hr per day limit) 
  • and for essential work only

Masks must be worn everywhere in Victoria other than in your home.

A travel limit of 5km applies from place of primary residence.

If you can work from home, you must. 

All private and public gatherings are not permitted. 

Circuit Breaker Information PDF
Exposure Sites


Places of religion

  • From 11:50pm tonight, all Places of religion will be closed other than for broadcasting of services (up to a maximum of 5 people)
  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies are not permitted
  • Funerals can involve no more than 10 people (indoor and outdoor) 
  • Weddings are not permitted unless on compassionate grounds

FAQs on Religion and Ceremony

 

 

Update 04/02/21

Source: DHHS

New statewide restrictions come into effect from 11:59pm, 3 February:

  • The limit on the number of people gathering in a household will be reduced from 30 to 15, meaning the household members plus 15 visitors (excluding children under 12 months of age).
  • Masks will be mandatory in public indoor spaces. If you have visitors in your home, it is strongly recommended that masks are worn during the visit. Masks must be worn in indoor public spaces apart from when eating or drinking. If you are planning to leave your home – take a mask. 
  • The 75 per cent ‘return to work’ cap in both public and private sectors scheduled for Monday 8 February will be paused and the current cap of 50% will remain in place.

More updates, including exposure sites and possible changes to public health directions, will be provided throughout the evening and tomorrow. Exposure sites will also be published on the Case locations and outbreaks page.

To ensure your church is keeping its people and programs COVIDSafe, please refer to our latest recommendations below which includes up-to-date guidelines for singing, serving food/drink, kids ministry etc. As always, if in doubt, please ring the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline 1800 675 398 and seek advice specific to your circumstances.

Best Practice Tips for COVIDSafe Churches and Ministries

 

 

 

Previous Advice:
BUV COVID-19 Advice (Dec/Jan21)
BUV COVID-19 Advice (Oct/Nov)
BUV COVID-19 Advice (Sept)
BUV COVID-19 Advice (Aug)
BUV COVID-19 Advice (July)
BUV COVID-19 Advice (June)
BUV COVID-19 Advice (May)
BUV COVID-19 Advice (April)
BUV COVID-19 Advice (March)

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