Updated advice from Dr Kerry Chant in respect of singing and wearing masks

MESSAGE TO MINISTERS, HOME MISSIONARIES, SESSION CLERKS, TREASURERS, COM SECRETARIES AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS

Dear all,

Apologies for this belated advice concerning singing and the wearing of masks while attending a worship service.  As indicated in the below email, we were expecting an updated Places of Worship Safety Plan checklist to be released, which may be released in the next day or so.

Rather than delay further, we attach Letter from the NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, providing the following updated advice:

  • Singing in groups (whether by choirs or by congregants) must not take place at this time, irrespective of whether singers are wearing masks.
  • The only COVID-Safe singing that is permitted is a solo singer distanced at least five metres away from other people and not directly above the audience.

These increased restrictions have arisen from several clusters of COVID-19 in New South Wales in recent weeks, including a cluster linked to a church choir and attendance at a variety of activities related to a funeral.

  • Dr Chant is also encouraging congregants to wear a mask during attendance at places of worship.  However, while highly recommended, especially in areas where there have been community transmission, wearing a mask is not mandatory.

Dr Chant concludes her letter by saying that the “spirit of the Public Health Order and our health advice is to protect each and every member of our community from the ongoing risk of COVID-19 transmission”.

We are receiving increasing queries from congregations, particularly in regional areas where there have been no infections, about the applications of the restrictions in their local community.  While we are responding directly to each query, we are presently drafting a further Update, which we will send with the updated Places of Worship Safety Plan checklist referred to below.  Hopefully, this will be by next Tuesday at the latest, otherwise I will email you.

In the meantime, and apart from the above changes, our last Update #17 remains current, which can be found on https://pcnsw.org.au/2020/07/30/covid-19-update-17/.

Kind regards,
Jeoffrey R Falls, General Manager, Chief Executive Officer