MESSAGE TO NSW MINISTERS, HOME MISSIONARIES, SESSION CLERKS, TREASURERS, COM SECRETARIES AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS.Dear all, You will undoubtedly be aware of the new restrictions imposed across NSW announced by the Premier of NSW this evening. Please find attached the NSW Premier’s media statement for your information. In summary:
Greater Sydney Area
- A stay-at-home order is in place for the Greater Sydney area, including the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Shellharbour and the Central Coast. This restriction is in place from 6pm tonight, 26 June, until 11:59pm on 9 July, 2021.
- Places of worship are required to be closed during this period, until effectively Saturday morning 10 July.
- The restrictions state that weddings will not be permitted from 11.59pm, Sunday 27 June during this stay-at-home order period. Funerals will be limited to one person per four square metres with a cap of 100 people, and masks must be worn indoors.
- Under the current regulations, leaving home to assist in the task of videorecording or livestreaming would be considered “work which cannot be completed from home.” This means that Churches can continue to pre-record or livestream church services. However, those required to record or livestream will need to exercise precautions when doing so, including wearing a face mask when indoors, maintaining physical distancing, and checking-in (using the QR code or other means) to the church building. Please ensure the minimum number of people needed to assist in the videorecording or livestreaming are present at any time, and please ensure that your Safety Plan is up to date and available should a police officer or officer of NSW Health question those present.
- COVID-19 restrictions are in place once again in regional areas of NSW.
- People who have been in the Greater Sydney region (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong) on or after June 21 should follow the stay-at-home orders for a period of 14 days after they left Greater Sydney.
- Visitors to households will be limited to 5 guests – including children. This may effect the way that your Bible study group is conducted.
- Masks are now compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings, including places of worship.
- The 4sqm rule has been re-introduced for all indoor and outdoor settings, including religious services, weddings and funerals.
- Singing by audiences and choirs at indoor venues or by congregants at indoor places of worship are not allowed. Although not stated, we understand that it is permissible for those involved in leading the church service to remove their mask to ensure that they can be heard, but are required to replace their mask as they sit down. We also understand that this includes a singer. Again, we are not sure if this extends to up to five singers as during previous restrictions, but we suggest that the number of singers be limited to one or two, and that they be at least 1.5 metres from each other, and at least 5 metres from the congregants.
- Due to the need to wear masks, we suggest that morning teas and other meals be stopped during this period.
If necessary, we will provide a further Update as the Public Health Order becomes available.Please note that these changes relate only to churches in New South Wales, and our colleagues in the ACT will need to continue to refer to ACT Government Public Health directions.Please do not hesitate to contact Peter Merrick or Jeof Falls should you have any questions or require assistance in interpreting the restrictions to your local circumstances.Please uphold all those affected by these restrictions in your prayers, and encourage your members to hold to the love, grace and constancy of Christ during these anxious times.Grace and peace,Jeof Falls and Andrew Campbell (Moderator NSW)