The Tasmanian Government has announced places of worship can reopen for small religious gatherings and ceremonies of up to 10 attendees (plus those necessary to provide the ceremony), once COVID-19 Safety Plans are in place including physical distancing (1.5 metres and 4 square metres per person).
In Tasmania gatherings of up to 10 can restart from May 18, with gathering limits of 20 attendees from June 15.
However, before opening your doors to worship services, prayer groups and other meetings by other users, it is vital to consider not only all of the necessary physical requirements, but more importantly the ministry and mission implications. There are a number of additional factors which every church council should also consider including physical distance requirements, cleaning time and cleaning between events, and pastoral care.
It is a government requirement that a comprehensive COVID-19 Safety Plan is developed before any gatherings take place, as well as keeping records of all people in attendance in case contact tracing is required.
- Watch this short video from UCATas leaders on preparing to resume church gatherings.
- Use the Uniting Church Covid-19 safety Checklist and cleaning instructions (May 21) to assist local Church Councils in deciding if gatherings are able to be COVID-19 compliant.
- Complete the UCA Covid-19 checklist for congregations (a Microsoft Word template).
- Implement COVID-19 Safety Plans for every church property and all church events. More information is available from the Tasmanian Government’s COVID-19 Safe Workplaces Framework page.
The UCA safety checklist will assist you in deciding if you are able to be COVID-19 compliant and help develop your COVID-19 Safety Plan. The UCA checklist should be completed by the Church Council before making any plans to reopen your doors to ensure that you remain Covid-compliant.
Clockwise from lower-left, the video includes Rev Caro Field (Chairperson of the Presbytery of Tasmania), Rev Fee Morrison (Chairperson of Pastoral Relations Committee), Mr Rohan Pryor (Synod Liaison Minister for Tasmania), and Rev Walter Abetz (Chairperson of Resources and Development Committee).