Q&As Amended Public Health Order: COVID-19 Safety Plan for Places of Worship

Dear all,

Please find below a clarifying email from the NSW Government in respect of the most recent changes to NSW Public Health Orders.

Although we are pleased to assist any enquiries, please note Service NSW also has a hotline for community enquiries 13 77 88.

To assist congregations, please find a link below to a Word version for the NSW Places of Worship Safety Plan.

With the General Assembly next week, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our NSW Moderator, Rev. Richard Keith, who will be stepping down from the role next week.  Richard has provided blessed leadership of the Moderator’s COVID-19 Steering Committee over recent months, which has been highly valued by all those involved in responding to the changes wrought on our society by the Coronavirus.

I welcome our incoming Moderator, Rev. Andrew Campbell, into the leadership role from the rising of the Assembly next week.

Kind regards,

Jeof Falls


Download COVID-19 Safety Plan for Places of Worship

Dear Religious Communities Forum members,

Thank you to all of those who joined the Acting Minister for Multiculturalism, Multicultural NSW and NSW Health for our forum on the latest changes to the public health orders today.

We have compiled some Q&As below based on today’s discussion and advice received on some of your questions. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us or the Service NSW hotline provided below.

Are outdoor gatherings subject to the 4 square metre rule?

Yes. An outdoor gathering for a wedding, funeral, memorial service or religious service must comply with any restrictions relevant to the premises on which it is held. This will generally be 4 square metres of space per person.

For more information about the four square metre rule, see here.

Are gatherings at a place of worship for an educational purpose exempt from the 4 square metre rule?

Gatherings at a place of worship for an educational purpose such as the provision of language or religious classes are subject to the 4 square metre rule.

Persons working on the premises, such as staff providing classes, do not need to be included when calculating the space available per person on the premises and the number of persons on the premises. Students and other adults are to be included in the calculation.

How is the four square metre rule calculated?

The four square metre rule does not apply per individual room. Under the order, the calculations for the space available for each person on a premises depends on the size of the premises.

If the premises is smaller than 200 square metres of floor space, the entire premises is calculated. If the premises is bigger than 200 square metres of floor space, only the areas that are open to the public are to be calculated.

For more information about the four square metre rule, see here.  

Is contact record keeping required for outdoor religious services?

Yes.

Do places of worship require a COVID-19 Safety Plan?

Yes. Under the order, places of public worship must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan to keep staff, volunteers and visitors safe. Places of worship can register their organisation as COVID Safe via nsw.gov.au.

For more information, see here.

Which COVID-19 safety plan applies to my activity?

Occupiers of public places of worship must comply with their COVID-19 Places of Worship Safety Plan. However, if your venue is being used as a community or educational facility, organisers of the activity should also comply with the relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan requirements for that activity to keep staff, volunteers and visitors safe.

For a list of COVID-19 Safety Plans by industry, see here.

What is the best number to contact if I have any questions?

If you have any questions about the new public gatherings rules, and advice about COVID-19 safety at your organisation, the Service NSW hotline is still available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to community queries. The hotline is available on 13 77 88.

Thida Yang
Community Resilience Officer
NSW Government.  Multicultural NSW