BUV Advice on Current Government’s Restrictions

23rd November 2020

On this page, you can find information and guidance from the BUV regarding the current Government’s restrictions. For Church resources and translated information, click here.

Update 23/11/20 

Source:
Statement from the Premier
Last Step – Summary of Changes
Restricted Activity Directions – 22 Nov
Stay Safe Directions – 22 Nov

Last Step restrictions apply across all of Victoria  from 11:59pm on Sunday 22nd November. 

 

Religious Gatherings and Ceremonies at a Place of Worship

  • Indoor: Cap of 150 with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm. No group limit but ensure reasonably capable of maintaining a distance of 1.5m from each other
  • Outdoor: Cap of 300 with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm. No group limit but ensure reasonably capable of maintaining a distance of 1.5m from each other
  • Can only have one religious gathering at a time, whether indoor or outdoor
  • This limit doesn’t include faith leader or infants under 12 months of age
  • No food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants
  • No wedding or funeral is held indoors or outdoors at or proximate to the place of worship at the same time

Weddings

  • Indoor or outdoor: Cap of 150 with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm; No group limit 
  • Weddings at private residences: private gathering limit applies – 15 people
  • This limit doesn’t include infants under 12 months of age, or the people required to conduct the ceremony (such as celebrant or wait staff)

Funerals

  • Indoor or outdoor: Cap of 150 with a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm. No group limit
  • Funerals at private residences: private gathering limit applies – 15 people
  • This limit doesn’t include infants under 12 months of age, or the people required to conduct the funeral (such as faith leader)

Social Gatherings/ Home church

  • Indoor: Cap of 15 from any number of households, including dependents. This limit doesn’t include infants under 12 months. Face masks recommended when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Keeping a record of visitors is advised
  • Outdoor: Cap of 50 from any number of households, excludes infants under 12 months

Work and business

  • staged return to the workplace for small, medium and large companies with staggered arrival and exit times. Up to 25 per cent of staff may attend onsite
  • work from home to continue for anyone else

Face coverings

  • Indoor: Mandatory, unless an exemption applies
  • Outdoor: no required except where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Requirement to carry masks at all times
Religion and Ceremony – FAQs
Best Practice Tips for Reopening

 

Update 9/11/20 

Source:
Statement from the Premier
Updated Third Steps pdf
Vic Gov – Religion and Ceremony
Restricted Activities Directions
Stay Safe Directions

Third Step restrictions apply across all of Victoria  from 11:59pm on Sunday 8th November. The same restrictions apply in regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.  

  • Outdoor religious gatherings can be held near a place of worship with up to 50 people plus a faith leader. 
  • Indoor religious gatherings can be held with up to 10 people per group (plus a faith leader), and 20 people per facility. 
  • Funerals: 50 people (outdoors) and up to 20 people (indoors). This limit doesn’t include infants under 12 months of age, or the people required to conduct the funeral. 
  • Weddings are limited to 10 people including the two witnesses. The couple, celebrant and photographer are not included in the 10-person cap. 
  • A wedding or funeral held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to two visitors, plus the people required to conduct the ceremony.
  • 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 can be on site to record and live stream services. 
  • Essential public support services continue to be open. Essential public support services include food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities. 
  • Pastoral visits/ Home and Prayer groups
    • 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 and may visit separately. This replaces the household and single social bubbles. 
    • It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask and keep a record for contact tracing
  • Can I sing at a place of worship? Yes, but small choirs or singers should only perform in well ventilated indoor settings and must be limited to a maximum of 5 singers or wind instrument players. Performers must be 2 meters apart and 5 meters from the audience.  Singing outdoors is strongly recommended.

Important notes:

  • A venue can only have one religious gathering at a time, whether indoor or outdoor and ceremonial participants other than faith leaders are included in the capacity limits.
  • The maximum duration of any religious gathering or ceremony is 90 minutes, with a recommendation for 30 minutes in between services to ensure that groups do not congregate in front of and around places of worship.
  • While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink or items.
  • You must also wear a face mask, unless you have a lawful exemption. 
  • Always keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
  • Outdoor proximity  – there are no clear definition on proximity but must be in ‘reasonable’ proximity to the church
  • Definition of a faith leader – Can be a Pastor, Assoc Pastor, Lay Pastor or even Volunteer  – but must be able to prove association with the church
  • You’ll need to have a nominated COVIDsafe responsible person for each gathering (and is part of the cap)
  • You must review and update your COVIDSafe plan regularly, especially when restrictions or public health advice changes. Churches with multiple campuses must complete a COVIDSafe Plan for each location.
  • Cleaningdensitysignage and record keeping requirements continue to apply
  • Click here for Baptist Insurance COVIDSafe Plan for Church Premises and other COVIDsafe resources
More FAQs

 

Update 30/10/20 

Metropolitan Melbourne will move from Second Step to Third Step. Regional Victoria continues in Third Step with further easing of restrictions. See the metropolitan Melbourne roadmap summary and the regional Victoria roadmap summary for details. This page will be updated as more information is made available.

Melbourne (From 28th October 2020)

Source:
Vic Gov: Melbourne
Summary of further easing – Melbourne
Statement from Premier
Restricted Activities – Melbourne

Places of Worship 

After further explanation on the Places of Worship restrictions and additional consultation with DHHS Hotline today we can confirm the following:

Religious Gatherings and Ceremonies 

  • Indoor:  10 people + 1 faith leader^
  • Outdoor within proximity* to the place of worship : 20 people  + 1 faith leader^ 
  • There is a firm limit on only 1 gathering at any time indoor or outdoor – this means, unlike earlier in the year, there is no scope for holding multiple gatherings in different parts of the building or church premises if you have different spaces
  • Each religious gathering or ceremony must be limited to 90mins
  • *Outdoor proximity  – there are no clear definition on proximity but must be in ‘reasonable’ proximity to the church (And within 25km of home)
  • No sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment by participants
  • Face masks must be worn by all attendees and leaders except those presenting at the time
  • You’ll need to have one faith leader or a nominated COVIDsafe responsible person for each gathering 
  • Cleaningdensitysignage and record keeping requirements continue to apply
  • Click here for Baptist Insurance COVIDSafe Plan for Church Premises and other COVIDsafe resources.

Baptism

  • See guidelines here but note that Baptism is not specified so err on the side of not baptising indoors.
  • Must adhere to restrictions relative to the location (25km)
  • 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

Social Gatherings at a church eg playgroups

^Faith Leader

  • Definition of a faith leader – Can be a Pastor, Assoc Pastor, Lay Pastor or even Volunteer  – but must be able to prove association with the church

Live streaming / Broadcasting

  • Ceremonies and services can still be recorded or broadcast live from the place of worship for viewing online
  • Live Streaming  broadcasting limit is still set at 5 people (this has not changed and 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)   
  • Those people must wear a  face mask  at all times, unless you have a lawful exemption. Always keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
  • Live streaming/ broadcasting can include worship and singing*
  • No live audience is allowed *

  *Singing at religious gatherings

  • Singing – indoor/outdoor  – currently NOT Permitted 
  • Singing with or to a live audience  (congregational or from worship leader)  – currently NOT Permitted 

*This information, although not listed on DHHS website, was confirmed to us by Coronavirus Hotline. They also advised that any activities that are not clearly stated as permitted should be considered as not permitted.

Weddings and Funerals

  • Weddings: up to 10 people outdoors, including couple and two witnesses, celebrant and one photographer excluded from cap
  • Funerals: Indoors – 20 people allowed, Outdoors – 50 people allowed;  infants under 12 months and people to conduct funeral not included in cap

Essential public support services

  • Food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities are allowed.  Face masks must be worn, unless you have a lawful exemption. Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others. 

Pastoral visits/ Home and Prayer groups

  • 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
  • At the current time, it is the household itself + up to 2 visitors (from the same household) 
  • It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask and keep a record for contact tracing

Property Maintenance

General Restrictions

  • There are no restrictions on the reasons to leave home.  If you live in metropolitan Melbourne you can still only travel 25kms. 
  • If you can’t work from home, you can go to work, and you do not need to carry a permit. However, you still need a permit to travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria for work or study. If you can work from home, you must continue to work from home. 
  • You can see friends and family outdoors in a public place in a group of up to 10 people.  
  • You can have up to two people from the same household 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. It is strongly recommended you keep your mask on when visiting friends and family. By wearing a mask, you can help keep them and you safe.
  • 25k radius remains in place and regional border remains in place until 8/11/20
More FAQs

 

From 8/11/2020 Places of Worship 

  • Indoor religious gatherings: Allowed for up to 20 people, plus one faith leader. Strict requirements to be contained in a COVIDSafe Plan
  • Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies: up to 50 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship
  • Can only have one gathering at a time whether indoor or outdoor
  • No sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment by participants. 
  • Private worship: allowed for a household, and two adults and any of their children or dependents, plus a faith leader
  • Weddings: up to 10 people outdoors, including couple and two witnesses, celebrant and one photographer excluded from cap
  • Funerals: Indoors – 20 indoors; Outdoors – 50 outdoors; Infants under 12 months and people to conduct funeral not included in cap

 

Regional Victoria (From 28th October 2020)

Source:
Vic Gov: Regional
Summary of further easing – Regional Victoria
Statement from Premier
Restricted Activities – Regional Victoria

Places of Worship 

After further explanation on the Places of Worship restrictions and additional consultation with DHHS Hotline today we can confirm the following:

Religious Gatherings and Ceremonies

  • Indoor:  up to 20 people + 1 faith leader^ BUT must only be up to 10 people per group and maintain a distant of at least 10m from each other group or be in a separate indoor space at all times
  • Outdoor within proximity* to the place of worship : up to 50 people + 1 faith leader^ 
  • There is a firm limit on only 1 gathering at any time indoor or outdoor – this means, unlike earlier in the year, there is no scope for holding multiple gatherings in different parts of the building or church premises if you have different spaces.
  • Each religious gathering or ceremony must be limited to 90mins
  • *Outdoor proximity  – there is no clear restrictions on proximity but must be in ‘reasonable’ proximity to the church
  • No sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment by participants. 
  • Face masks must be worn by all attendees and leaders except those presenting at the time.
  • You’ll need to have one faith leader or a nominated COVIDsafe responsible person for each gathering or indoor group or indoor space where gathered. This is in addition to the max number of members of public permitted. eg. If you have a group of 10 in one room and another group of 10 in another, you need two faith leader/ nominated COVIDsafe person present.
  • Cleaningdensitysignage and record keeping requirements continue to apply. 
  • Click here for Baptist Insurance COVIDSafe Plan for Church Premises and other COVIDsafe resources.

Baptism

  • See guidelines here but note that Baptism is not specified so err on the side of not baptising indoors.
  • 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

Social Gatherings at a church eg playgroups

^Faith Leader

  • Definition of a faith leader – Can be a Pastor, Assoc Pastor, Lay Pastor or even Volunteer  – but must be able to prove association with the church

Live streaming / Broadcasting

  • Ceremonies and services can still be recorded or broadcast live from the place of worship for viewing online
  • Live Streaming broadcasting limit is still set at 5 people (this has not changed and 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)   
  • Those people must wear a  face mask  at all times, unless you have a lawful exemption. Always keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.
  • Live streaming/ broadcasting can include worship*
  • No live audience is allowed*

  *Singing/ Worship at religious gathering

  • Singing – indoor/outdoor  – currently NOT Permitted 
  • Singing with or to a live audience – currently NOT Permitted 

*This information, although not listed on DHHS website, was confirmed to us by Coronavirus Hotline. They also advised that any activities that are not clearly stated as permitted should be considered as not permitted.

Weddings and Funerals

  • Weddings: up to 10 people outdoors, including couple and two witnesses, celebrant and one photographer excluded from cap
  • Funerals: Indoors – 20 people allowed, Outdoors – 50 people allowed;  infants under 12 months and people to conduct funeral not included in cap

Essential public support services

  • Food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities are allowed.  Face masks must be worn, unless you have a lawful exemption. Keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others. 

Pastoral visits

  • Each households can have up to two visitors (from different households) 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. This replaces the household bubbles. It is strongly recommended that you wear a face mask and keep a record for contact tracing with Pastoral visits.

  • I’ve had two visitors to my home today – can I go and visit another person?  Yes, you can visit someone, even if you have had visitors to your home. The person you visit can only have up to two visitors per day (one at a time).  By limiting the number of people we see, we help limit the potential spread of the virus. The more people you interact with, the higher the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.   

More FAQs

 

 

Update 20/10/20
Melbourne and Regional Victoria

Source:
DHHS
Premier’s Statement
Melbourne Summary of Easing of Restrictions – 18 Oct and 1 Nov
Regional Summary of Easing of Restrictions – 18 Oct and 1 Nov
Restrictions – Log of changes to the Permitted Work Premises List

From Sunday 11:59pm 18 October 2020 changes are being made to restrictions in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. Over the coming days more information about the changes to restrictions will be added based on information from Victoria’s restriction level page and coronavirus Victoria website.

 

Changes for metropolitan Melbourne – 2nd Step Restrictions

From 11:59pm 18 October 2020, the 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 two 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 ten people from a maximum of two 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 five people from a maximum of two households.
  • You can exercise in a group of up to ten people from a maximum of two households outdoors in a public place (personal training is limited to two people plus the trainer). This replaces the limit of five people from a maximum of two households.
  • Repairs and maintenance can occur at a Permitted Work Premises if they are required for the operations of that premises. It is up to the operator of the workplace to determine whether repairs and maintenance are required for this purpose. Places of worship is considered a permitted work premise for the following reasons:
    • outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies
    • 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.
  • Landscaping and gardening services businesses with a valid ABN can operate from the Second Step, under the conditions that work can be safely conducted entirely outside, contact-free, and by one person operating alone at all times. Permitted landscaping and gardening services:

    • basic landscaping
    • mowing, edging and lawn care
    • plant fertilising, pruning and watering
    • stump grinding and other arborist services  
  • The following services must operate solely outdoors with up to five people (with an additional supervisor) where physical distancing can be maintained at all times, for businesses with an ABN:
    – Outdoor maintenance, repairs, cleaning and other building work, including at occupied premises
    – Home renovations and installations (outdoor only)
    – Home solar panel installations (only for outdoor work or in roof cavities with external access) 
  • Indoor religious ceremonies: not allowed; 5 people can attend a place of worship to conduct a ceremony being broadcast.
  • Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies: permitted for a limit of five people, plus one faith leader. Must be adjacent to the place of worship with only one group permitted at a time.
  • Weddings: permitted in outdoor public spaces with a maximum of 5 attendees (including the couple and two witnesses, but not including the celebrant). Weddings
    can be conducted indoors if one or both persons being married are at the end of their life only.
  • Funerals: allowed up to 10 people (infants under 12 months of age are not included in the cap) and people required to conduct funeral.
FAQs – Melbourne

 

From 11.59pm, 1 November:
– Indoor Religious ceremonies: not allowed; 5 people can attend a place of worship to conduct a ceremony being broadcast.
– Private worship: allowed for households or household bubbles, plus a faith leader.
– Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies: up to 20 people, plus 1 faith leader.
– Weddings: up to 10 people (including couple and two witnesses), celebrant excluded from cap.
– Funerals: up to 20 people, infants under 12 months and people to conduct funeral not included in cap. If weddings or funerals are held at private residence, private gathering restrictions apply, including the household bubble.
– Places of worship (including the conducting of ceremonies): subject to caps and existing workplace requirements, including but not limited to record keeping, cleaning requirements, and having a COVIDSafe plan in place.

 

Changes for regional Victoria – Third Step Restrictions

From 11:59pm 18 October 2020, the changes to restrictions include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Indoor swimming pools can open exclusively for those aged 18 and under. There is a limit of 20 customers in the pool or the one person per four square metre rule (whichever is the smaller number of people). One parent/guardian/carer per child is permitted for supervision purposes and not included in the limit. Swimming classes can resume.
  • Indoor pools can open for one-on-one hydrotherapy sessions with a limit of 10 people in the pool at one time.
  • Licensed tourism services that use open-air vehicles only are permitted to operate. A vehicle, inclusive of roofed vehicles, is considered an open-air vehicle if at least two sides are open to airflow at all times.
  • Indoor Religious ceremonies: not allowed; 5 people can attend a place of worship to conduct a ceremony being broadcast
  • Private worship: allowed for households, plus a faith leader
  • Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies: up to 20 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship. This replaces the limit of ten people. This includes ceremonies, with no sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment by participants.
  • Weddings: up to 10 people (including couple and two witnesses), celebrant excluded from cap
  • Funerals: up to 20 people, infants under 12 months and people to conduct funeral not included in cap. If weddings or funerals are held at private
    residence, private gathering restrictions apply
FAQs – Regional Victoria

 

FROM 11.59PM, 1 NOVEMBER: Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies: up to 50 people, plus 1 faith leader, proximate to a place of worship

 

Update 02/10/20
Metropolitan Melbourne Second Step 

Source: DHHSStatement from the Premier

From 11:59pm 27 September, metropolitan Melbourne has moved to the Second Step of easing restrictions. 

The curfew is lifted in metropolitan Melbourne from 5am on Monday 28 September. There will be higher on the spot fines for breaching rules about visitors to your home and outdoor gatherings

The four reasons that you can leave home remain, however some changes have been made to restrictions:

  • shopping for food or other essential items
  • exercise and outdoor social activity with members of your household or up to five people (including you, and from a maximum of two households) as long as you do not travel more than 5km. This must be in a public outdoor space, and does not apply to people’s backyards or outdoor spaces connected to a home.
  • permitted work, and for the purposes of education. That includes taking children to school, childcare or outside school hours care service in which they are enrolled.
  • caregiving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment

Religious Gatherings and Ceremonies

  • Religious ceremonies broadcast: a maximum of 5 people can attend a place of worship to conduct ceremony being broadcast.
     
  • Outdoor religious gatherings and ceremonies: permitted with a limit of five people, plus one faith leader. Must be adjacent to the place of worship (5km rules still applies) with only one group permitted at a time. Sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment by participants is not permitted.
     
  • Weddings: permitted in outdoor public spaces with a maximum of 5 attendees, including the couple and two witnesses, but not including the celebrant. Weddings do not need to occur proximate to a place of worship.
     
  • Funerals: up to 10 people, plus infants under 12 months and people to conduct funeral

As much as you can, you must stay at home. When you leave home, you must use a face mask, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so.

Summary of Second Step

 

Third Step Metro Melbourne  – It is anticipated that the move to the third step for Metro Melbourne will happen prior to the original date of end of October.  The easing of restrictions to the third step will be based on case numbers and it is expected to be around 19th October. 

 

 

 

Previous Advice:
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)