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Archived COVID-19 Communications

5 Jul 2021


ARCHIVED COMMUNICATIONS

Here we will display the older communications regarding COVID-19. For the most recent updates click here.

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SA Health - COVID-19 Compliance Monitoring - Places of Worship FAQs (11/02/22)

From Saturday 12th March, the South Australian government has implemented changes to some COVID restrictions. Those that relate to churches are:

All density requirements have been lifted, for all venues, including private homes:

  • Dancing permitted
  • Singing permitted.

A reminder that the following easing of restrictions was announced on 25th February:

  • Buffets are now permitted. This means that morning teas / dinners etc,, can be self-service, with shared plates/ platters of food.

Please note the following restrictions that continue to apply to church activities:

  • Masks are required to be worn by attendees at all times, including when singing, except when eating or drinking
  • COVID Safe measures: QR check in, COVID Marshal, hand sanitising, frequent cleaning.

All existing directions, frequently asked questions and other information can be found here: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/emergency-declarations

If you would like further assistance, please contact your presbytery or:

Sue Page: spage@sa.uca.org.au or phone (08) 8236 4217 or 0430 666 959

Philip Gardner pgardner@sa.uca.org.au or phone (08) 8236 4268 or 0409 077 076.

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25th February 2022

On Friday, 25th February, the South Australian government announced changes to some COVID restrictions. Those that relate to churches are:

 Hospitality:

      • Buffets are now permitted. This means that morning teas / dinners etc. can be self-service, with shared plates / platters of food
      • The following density requirements apply for indoor venues:
        • Standing consumption – 1 person per 2 square metres
        • Seated consumption – 3 people per 4 square metres
        • Combined standing and seated consumption – 1 person per 2 square metres.
      • Seated consumption – 3 people per 4 square metres
      • Combined standing and seated consumption – 1 person per 2 square metres.

Private Activity:

A private activity means a gathering greater than 50 people and no more than 150 that is held at a place other than a relevant licensed premises or premises with an on-going liquor license. This refers to wedding receptions, parties or other functions – not church services – church services are public activities.

The following density requirements apply:

      • 1 person per 2 square metres
      • Maximum of 150 people
      • Dancing permitted (maximum of 50 people on the dance floor at any time
      • Singing permitted
      • Standing consumption permitted.

Outdoor Events:

The following density requirements apply to an entertainment activity that is not a hospitality activity:

      • Outdoor seated consumption – no density restriction
      • Outdoor combined standing and seated consumption – 3 people per 4 square metres.

Please note the following restrictions that continue to apply to church activities:

      • Masks are required to be worn by attendees at all times, including when singing, except when eating or drinking
      • COVID Safe measures: QR check in, COVID Marshal, physical distancing of 1.5m between household groups; hand sanitising, frequent cleaning
      • Density: no more than 3 persons per 4 square metres for seated worship (1 person per 2 square metres if there is standing)
      • Indoor fitness – 1 person per 4 square metres density requirement
      • Gathering at home cap: 50 people

All existing directions, frequently asked questions and other information can be found here: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/emergency-declarations

If you would like further assistance, please contact your presbytery or:

Sue Page: spage@sa.uca.org.au or phone (08) 8236 4217 or 0430 666 959

Philip Gardner pgardner@sa.uca.org.au or phone (08) 8236 4268 or 0409 077 076.

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14th February 2022

On Friday 11th February, 2022 the SA government eased some COVID restrictions.  Those that relate to churches are as follows:

      • At home gatherings cap raised from 10 to 50 people.

      • Hospitality: > 1 person per 2 square metres density for indoor seated hospitality activities. All food and beverage consumption must be seated. Masks must be worn in an indoor space – except for a bridal party during a wedding ceremony.

      • 3 people per 4 square metres density outdoors. Stand up food and drink consumption is allowed in an outdoor area. Masks are not required to be worn by attendees generally in an outdoor space. However, it is strongly recommended especially when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
      • Indoor fitness – 1 person per 4 square metres density requirement.

Please note the following restrictions that will continue:

      • COVID Safe measures: QR check in, mask wearing, physical distancing of 1.5m between household groups; hand sanitising, frequent cleaning.

      • Density: no more than 3 persons per 4 square metres for seated worship (1 person per 2 square metres if there is standing).

SA Health has updated their COVID Compliance FAQs for places of worship. They can be found here: SA Health - COVID-19 Compliance Monitoring - Places of Worship FAQs (11/02/22)

If you would like further assistance, please contact your presbytery or:

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25th January 2022

Congregations are encouraged to stay up to date with the latest COVID requirements via the Synod website, and via the SA Government and SA Health websites:

Since the last communication, the definition of a close contact has changed. Please see the current definition at this link.

For further guidance on COVID requirements please contact your Presbytery or:

The Synod office and Brooklyn Park campus remain closed to visitors until at least February 14th, 2021. Staff are still available via email or phone to support you.

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5th January 2022 - FAQs from Congregations

We have been getting a lot of calls from congregations seeking advice on whether to continue in person worship as the COVID case numbers continue to rise in SA.  This is a matter for each Church Council to decide.  Some of the factors to consider in making this decision are:

      • Current compliance with COVID Safe measures: QR check in, mask wearing, physical distancing of 1.5m between household groups; hand sanitising, frequent cleaning.
      • Density: the government requires no more than 3 persons per 4 square metres for seated worship (1 person per 2 square metres if there is standing)– how close are you to the density limit  (due to the size of the space and number of people some will be close to this limit, others may have much more space and hence a lower actual density)
      • Nature of activities: do you do a lot of singing, or only a little, how much movement is there around the space?
      • Vulnerability of members: do you have young children who cannot be vaccinated, elderly folk or those with compromised immune systems that make them more vulnerable

Church Councils will also need to think about at what point you will return to in person worship. How will you make that decision? If you would like further assistance, please contact your presbytery or Sue Page: spage@sa.uca.org.au or 8236 4217 or 0430 666 959

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27th December 2021

On Boxing Day, the South Australian Premier announced further changes to COVID restrictions to come into effect on 27th December 2021.

These changes are:

      • Gathering at residential premises cap reduced from 30 to 10 people
      • Density requirement for indoor fitness facilities reduced to 1 per 7 square metres
      • Category of Private activity and Private function removed (e.g. wedding, funeral or birthday party), relevant venue rules apply
      • Consumption of food and beverages seated only and density requirements: indoor 1 person per 4 square metres; outdoors 1 person per 2 square metres; no communal service areas.

Other relevant restrictions for churches that continue as before are:
The density requirement for seated activities is 3 per 4 square metres. This applies to church services.

The density requirement for standing (or mixed seating and standing) activities is 1 per 2 square metres.

Mask wearing
Wearing of masks remains mandatory in high risk settings, personal care and health care services, passenger and public transport, secondary schools, and indoor public places – this includes churches.

Singing
Attendees at indoor religious services may sing during worship and members of choirs or chorus groups may perform or rehearse indoors, if they wear masks while doing so.

(To ensure masks remain effective and protect you, you should change your mask as soon as it becomes damp and also after you have finished singing. Please ensure you bring spare masks, a bag to keep used masks in, and hand sanitiser to use before and after putting on, or taking off a mask).

The following exemptions from mask wearing during singing apply if:

      • The singer is performing individually (not including a karaoke performer)
      • The singers are members of a group of performers and they are performing or rehearsing in the indoor premises (not including karaoke performers or persons performing or rehearsing as part of a choir or chorus)
      • The premises are an educational establishment
      • The singers are undertaking or providing an individual lesson.

Please continue to monitor the SA Government’s COVID website for changes. We will provide further information as it comes to hand.

We understand that this is a very challenging time for the South Australian community and indeed for our churches. If you need support in navigating the COVID restrictions, please contact:

We are available during the Synod office closure period.

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24th December 2021

COVID Update from the Acting General Secretary 24/12/2021

On Friday, December 24th, 2021 the State Premier held a press conference announcing that due to the escalating case numbers of COVID-19 in South Australia, the changes to restrictions due to take effect on 28th December, 2021 will now not proceed.  

The change to restrictions has been postponed. This means that the new COVID-Safe Plans issued to churches this week, will not take effect. Your existing COVID-Safe Plan remains in place. This means that the current level of restrictions remains in place for now. These restrictions are:

Mask wearing
Wearing of masks remains mandatory in high risk settings, personal care and health care services, passenger and public transport, secondary schools, and indoor public places – this includes churches.

Singing
Attendees at indoor religious services may sing during worship and members of choirs or chorus groups may perform or rehearse indoors, if they wear masks while doing so.

(To ensure masks remain effective and protect you, you should change your mask as soon as it becomes damp and also after you have finished singing. Please ensure you bring spare masks, a bag to keep used masks in, and hand sanitiser to use before and after putting on, or taking off a mask).

The following exemptions from mask wearing during singing apply if:

      • The singer is performing individually (not including a karaoke performer)
      • The singers are members of a group of performers and they are performing or rehearsing in the indoor premises (not including karaoke performers or persons performing or rehearsing as part of a choir or chorus)
      • The premises are an educational establishment
      • The singers are undertaking or providing an individual lesson.

Density requirements and additional directions
The density requirement for seated activities is 3 per 4 square metres. This applies to church services.

The density requirement for standing (or mixed seating and standing) activities is 1 per 2 square metres.

For gyms and indoor fitness activities the density is 1 per 4 square metres.

Weddings and funerals, as well as private activities are capped at 150 people (at non-residential premises).

Food and beverage consumption remains seated (except for private activities), no communal service areas.

The Premier and Chief Public Health Officer have indicated that they will be monitoring the situation closely, and further changes to restrictions may be brought in. Please monitor the SA Government’s COVID website for changes. We will provide further information as it comes to hand.

We have had a number of churches who have had a positive COVID case attend worship in the last week. It seems likely that this will occur more frequently in the coming weeks. Please be alert to what you need to do if you have a positive case. Please find the link to this information here

We understand that this is a very challenging time for the South Australian community and indeed for our churches. If you need support in navigating the COVID restrictions, please contact:

We are available during the Synod office closure period between Christmas and New Year.

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17th November 2021

On 17th December, 2021 the SA Government released the latest Covid-Ready Plan to apply from 28th December, 2021: 

COVID Ready Plan Update as at 17th December 2021

We are currently seeking clarification from the government around the restrictions on singing in worship when all in attendance are not fully vaccinated. The Synod’s guidance at this time is that unless you can be confident and compliant in ensuring all attendees at your services are fully vaccinated (consultation requirements and privacy legislation apply), congregations should plan not to sing in worship on 2nd January, 2022. This includes not having a person or persons at the front singing.

We believe that this is the most inclusive option to allow congregations to continue to meet at a time when visitor numbers are higher and the directions are still to be confirmed.

Further clarification will be provided as soon as it is available from the government. 

SA Health - COVID-19 Compliance Monitoring - Places of Worship FAQs

COVID FAQs (as at 7th December 2021) are available to download here.

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25th November 2021

On Tuesday, 23rd November, South Australia moved into the ‘COVID-Ready Plan.' The main focus of the plan relates to border controls. You can find the plan here.

Mandatory Vaccination

In recent weeks a number of Directions have been issued by the South Australian government mandating vaccination against COVID-19 in a number of settings. The following directions effectively require that ministry agents, as well as lay workers and volunteer visitors from congregations be vaccinated against COVID-19 when attending:

      1. Healthcare - any person, who attends a healthcare setting in the course of their work or duties. This came into effect on 1st November 2021. This direction is available here
      2. Residential aged care - any visitor to a residential aged care facility. This applies from 6th December 2021. This direction is available here.
      3. Education and early childhood settings* - any person who attends or volunteers in the course of their work. This applies from 11th December 2021. This direction is available here.

We continue to encourage all those attending worship and other groups on church sites to be vaccinated. This shows our care and concern for our community. It is putting Jesus’ command to love our neighbour into practice.

Activities

As the South Australian border opens and COVID-19 enters our community, churches will be required to follow the SA government’s Test, Trace Isolate and Quarantine system.  Please find that information here.

We encourage congregations to assess the risk of COVID-19 entering their church community, and to take action appropriate to protect children (those under 12 currently cannot be vaccinated) and vulnerable members. You will need to think about those in public facing roles like the church office, op-shop, emergency relief centre and café.

The only change in the Activities Direction is that from 23rd November, capacity at home gatherings will increase from 20 to 30 people.

COVID-Safe Practices

All existing COVID-Safe practices remain in place for the foreseeable future. These are:

Mask Wearing

Wearing of masks remains mandatory in high risk settings, personal care and health care services, passenger and public transport, secondary schools, and indoor public places – this includes churches.

Singing

Attendees at indoor religious services may sing during worship and members of choirs or chorus groups may perform or rehearse indoors, if they wear masks while doing so.

(To ensure masks remain effective and protect you, you should change your mask as soon as it becomes damp and also after you have finished singing. Please make sure you bring spare masks, a bag to keep used masks in, and hand sanitiser to use before and after putting on, or taking off a mask).

The following exemptions from mask wearing during singing apply if:

      • The singer is performing individually (not including a karaoke performer)
      • The singers are members of a group of performers and they are performing or rehearsing in the indoor premises (not including karaoke performers or persons performing or rehearsing as part of a choir or chorus)
      • The premises are an educational establishment
      • The singers are undertaking or providing an individual lesson.

Density requirements and additional directions

The density requirement for seated activities is 3 per 4 square metres. This applies to church services.

The density requirement for standing (or mixed seating and standing) activities is 1 per 2 square metres.

Gyms and indoor fitness activities is 1 per 4 square metres.

Weddings and funerals, as well as private activities are capped at 150 people (at non-residential premises).

Food and beverage consumption remains seated (except for private activities), no communal service areas.

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help clarify current directions available for download here.

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4th November 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

On Tuesday 26th October, the SA Premier announced and released a copy of South Australia’s ‘COVID-Ready’ plan. The main focus of the plan relates to relaxing border controls and therefore we expect that the majority of existing restrictions on churches will remain in place from the 23rd November. A copy of the plan can be downloaded at this
link

You may have seen what other states are implementing – requirements for vaccination before entry to certain activities, reduced numbers allowed if unvaccinated people are present etc. We do not yet know what level of restrictions will apply in South Australia, and when the changes will come into effect.

One area that we do have clarity on is the requirement for any person, who attends a healthcare setting in the course of their work or duties to have received at least one dose of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine, and has received, or have evidence of an appointment to receive a second dose of a TGA approved COVID-19 vaccine. This applies from 1st November, 2021 and will apply to ministry agents, chaplains, and lay visitors/volunteers from churches visiting hospitals. This was announced a couple of weeks ago.

One new announcement is that from 23rd November, 2021, home gatherings will increase from 20 to 30 people.

As we await further details on restrictions, we want to assure and encourage members of congregations in our Synod that we will do all we can to adhere to government restrictions. Living out our faith and being good neighbours invites us all to get vaccinated and follow whatever restrictions the government places on the community in order to keep everyone safe. It is our prayer that whatever decisions the government makes will not inhibit our ability as a church to gather and to serve our local communities.

When the SA government releases further details applicable to churches, we will communicate further guidance to you. In the meantime, as you think about what the coming months might look like in your context, you might like to take a look at some useful resources that can be found on the Assembly’s website at this link.  

Until then, all current restrictions remain in place.

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8th September 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

We note that there has been a further announcement to COVID-19 restrictions in South Australia. On Tuesday 7th September, the Police Commissioner indicated a change to the cap for weddings and funerals and other private activities at non-residential premises from 50 to 150.

The Police Commissioner did not announce the date at which these changes would take effect, although we expect it will be 12:01am on Thursday 9th September. We await the publication of the Activities-Associated Direction.

We understand that the main restrictions impacting churches will be as follows:

Singing

Attendees at indoor religious services may sing during worship and members of choirs or chorus groups may perform or rehearse indoors, if they wear masks while doing so.

(To ensure masks remain effective and protect you, you should change your mask as soon as it becomes damp and also after you have finished singing. Please make sure you bring spare masks, a bag to keep used masks in, and hand sanitiser to use before and after putting on, or taking off a mask).

The following exemptions from mask wearing during singing apply if:

      • The singer is performing individually (not including a karaoke performer)
      • The singers are members of a group of performers and they are performing or rehearsing in the indoor premises (not including karaoke performers or persons performing or rehearsing as part of a choir or chorus)
      • The premises are an educational establishment
      • The singers are undertaking or providing an individual lesson.

Density requirements and additional directions

      • The density requirement for seated activities is 3 per 4 square metres. This applies to church services
      • The density requirement for standing (or mixed seating and standing) activities is 1 per 2 square metres
      • Gyms and indoor fitness activities is 1 per 4 square metres
      • Private gatherings in homes remains limited to 20 people
      • Weddings and funerals, as well as private activities are now capped at 150 people (at non-residential premises)
      • Food and beverage consumption remains seated (except for private activities), no communal service areas
      • Wearing of masks remains mandatory in high risk settings, personal care and health care services, passenger and public transport, secondary schools, and indoor public places – this includes churches.

Churches are advised to continue to follow their updated COVID Safe Plan that they will receive from the government.

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August 23 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

Following the release of the Activities-Associated Direction (No 10) that came into effect on Saturday 21 August the current level of restrictions impacting churches are as follows:

Singing

Attendees at indoor religious services may sing during worship and members of choirs or chorus groups may perform or rehearse indoors, if they wear masks while doing so.

(To ensure masks remain effective and protect you, you should change your mask as soon as it becomes damp and also after you have finished singing. Make sure you bring spare masks, a bag to keep used masks in, and hand sanitiser to use before and after putting on or taking off a mask).

The following exemptions from mask wearing during singing apply if:

      • the singer is performing individually (not including a karaoke performer); or
      • the singers are members of a group of performers and they are performing or rehearsing in the indoor premises (not including karaoke performers or persons performing or rehearsing as part of a choir or chorus); or
      • the premises are an educational establishment; or
      • the singers are undertaking or providing an individual lesson

Density requirements and additional directions:

      • Density requirement for seated activities is now 3 per 4 square metres. This applies to churches services
      • Density requirement for standing activities remains at 1 per 2 square metres
      • Gyms and indoor fitness activities remains at 1 per 4 square metres
      • Private gatherings in homes remain limited to 20 people
      • Weddings, funerals and birthdays are capped at 50 people (at non-residential premises)
      • Wearing of masks remains mandatory in high risk settings, personal care and health care services, passenger and public transport, secondary schools, and indoor public places – this includes churches

Churches are advised to continue to follow their updated COVID Safe Plan that they will receive from the government.

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August 12 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

Following the release of the Activities-Associated Direction (No 8) that came into effect on Thursday 12 August the main changes impacting churches are as follows:

Singing

Attendees at indoor religious services may sing during worship and members of choirs or chorus groups may perform or rehearse indoors, if they wear masks while doing so.

(To ensure masks remain effective and protect you, you should change your mask as soon as it becomes damp and also after you have finished singing. Make sure you bring spare masks, a bag to keep used masks in, and hand sanitiser to use before and after putting on or taking off a mask).

The following exemptions from mask wearing during singing apply if:

      • the singer is performing individually (not including a karaoke performer); or
      • the singers are members of a group of performers and they are performing or rehearsing in the indoor premises (not including karaoke performers or persons performing or rehearsing as part of a choir or chorus); or
      • the premises are an educational establishment; or
      • the singers are undertaking or providing an individual lesson

Density requirements and additional directions:

      • Density requirement for seated activities is now 3 per 4 square metres. This applies to churches services
      • Density requirement for standing activities remains at 1 per 2 square metres
      • Gyms and indoor fitness activities remains at 1 per 4 square metres
      • Private gatherings in homes remain limited to 10 people
      • Weddings, funerals and birthdays are capped at 50 people (at non-residential premises)
      • Wearing of masks remains mandatory in high risk settings, personal care and health care services, passenger and public transport, secondary schools, and indoor public places – this includes churches

Churches are advised to continue to follow their updated COVID Safe Plan that they will receive from the government.

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August 10 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

On the weekend, SA Health provided an update to the restrictions on singing in places of worship.  The update says:

If singing is essential to your practice of worship or faith based service, this is permitted, but masks must be worn at all times. To ensure masks remain effective and protect you, you should change your mask as soon as it becomes damp and also after you have finished singing. Make sure you bring spare masks, a bag to keep used masks in, and hand sanitiser to use before and after putting on or taking off a mask.

This morning, the Premier announced the easing of restrictions to come into effect on Thursday 12 August as follows:

      • Density requirement for seated activities is now 3 per 4 square metres. This applies to churches services
      • Density requirement for standing activities remains at 1 per 2 square metres
      • Gyms and indoor fitness activities remains at 1 per 4 square metres
      • Private gatherings in homes remain limited to 10 people
      • Weddings, funerals and birthdays are capped at 50 people (at non-residential premises)
      • Wearing of masks remains mandatory in high risk settings, personal care and health care services, passenger and public transport, secondary schools, and indoor public places – this includes churches

Churches are advised to follow their updated Covid Safe Plan that they will receive from the government before Thursday.

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August 4 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

Earlier this week, the Premier announced that from 12:01am Thursday, 5th August, 2021, COVID-19 restrictions in South Australia will be eased slightly. The Emergency Management (Activities - Associated Direction No.7) has now been published. The main easing of restrictions is the density requirement. Other restrictions introduced last week remain. The new level of restrictions that come into effect on Thursday, 5th August 2021 are as follows:

      • Density requirements of 1 person per 2 (two) square metres
      • Seated consumption of food and beverages both indoors and outdoors and no communal food or beverage facilities
      • Singing by worshippers is not permitted. At indoor places, only an individual singer is currently allowed to sing.  We understand this to mean that musicians who regularly rehearse together are also allowed, suitably distanced from one another
      • Weddings and funerals are capped at 50 attendees. The cap also applies to the wedding reception or funeral wake refreshments after the service
      • Private gatherings in households are limited to 10 people (this would apply to small groups/ bible study groups in homes)
      • Gyms/fitness classes have a density requirement of 1 person per 4 (four) square metres. This will affect some hirers of church halls
      • Wearing of masks is mandatory in high risk settings, personal care and health care services, passenger and public transport, secondary schools, and indoor public places – this includes churches, and office foyers.

The Premier also stated that masks are still recommended to be worn in open plan work-places, and particularly in common areas like the lunch-room and photocopy areas. This may impact church offices, as well as church meetings, for example, Church Council meetings. Planning for all of our church activities should take this into account. With this in mind, if you are attending any of the Synod sites: the Pirie Street office, the Brooklyn Park campus, or Uniting Venues, please wear a mask, particularly in public spaces.

Churches should be sent an updated COVID Safe Plan from the government before the new restrictions come into operation. We encourage congregations to follow their COVID Safe Plans, as they will contain all the information you need.

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August 3 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

The Premier has announced that from 12:01am Thursday 5 August 2021, COVID-19 restrictions in South Australia will be eased slightly. The main easing of restrictions is the density requirement. Other restrictions introduced last week will remain.

We will send out a detailed update in coming days when we receive the government Activities Direction with the details of the new restrictions. 

Churches will be sent an updated COVID Safe Plan from the government before the new restrictions come into operation. We encourage congregations to follow their COVID Safe Plans, as they will contain all the information you need.

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July 29th 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

The Premier has announced that from 12:01am Wednesday 28 July 2021, COVID-19 restrictions in South Australia will be eased from Level 5 to Level 3 restrictions. This means the lockdown will end, but there will still be some restrictions in place. The new level of restrictions that come into effect on Wednesday 28th July are as follows:

      • Density requirements of 1 person per 4 (four) square metres
      • Seated consumption of food and beverages both indoors and outdoors and no communal food or beverage facilities
      • Singing by worshippers is not permitted.  At indoor places, only an individual singer is currently allowed to sing.  We understand this to mean that musicians who regularly rehearse together are also allowed, suitably distanced from one another.
      • Weddings and funerals are capped at 50 attendees. The cap also applies to the wedding reception or funeral wake/ refreshments after the service.
      • Private gatherings in households are limited to 10 people (this would apply to small groups/ bible study groups in homes)
      • Gyms/fitness classes have a density requirement of 1 person per 8 m2.  This will affect some hirers of church halls.
      • Wearing of masks is mandatory in high risk settings, personal care and health care services, passenger and public transport, secondary schools, and indoor public places –this includes churches.

The Premier also stated that masks are strongly recommended to be worn in open plan work-places, and particularly in common areas like the lunch-room, photocopy area, lifts and foyer. This will impact church offices, as well as church meetings, for example, Church Council meetings.

Professor Spurrier, the Chief Public Health Officer stated that the rule of thumb for South Australians is that if you can wear a mask, then you should wear a mask. This means that planning for all of our church activities should take this into account. With this in mind, if you are attending any of the Synod sites: the Pirie Street office, the Brooklyn Park campus, or Uniting Venues for meetings or other events, please wear a mask.

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July 28th 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

The Premier has announced that from 12:01am Wednesday 28 July 2021, COVID-19 restrictions in South Australia will be eased from Level 5 to Level 3 restrictions. This means the lockdown will end, but there will still be some restrictions in place. The new level of restrictions that come into effect on Wednesday 28th July are as follows:

  • Density requirements of 1 person per 4 (four) square metres
  • Seated consumption of food and beverages both indoors and outdoors and no communal food or beverage facilities
  • No singing unless:

the person is performing individually (not including a karaoke performer); or

the person is a member of a group of performers performing or rehearsing in the premises (not including karaoke performers or persons performing or rehearsing as part of a choir or chorus); or

the premises are an educational establishment; or

the person is undertaking or providing an individual lesson.

  • Weddings and funerals are capped at 50 attendees. The cap also applies to the wedding reception or funeral wake/ refreshments after the service.
     
  • Private gatherings in households are limited to 10 people (this would apply to small groups/ bible study groups in homes)
     
  • Gyms/fitness classes have a density requirement of 1 person per 8 m2.  This will affect some hirers of church halls.
     
  • Wearing of masks is mandatory in high risk settings, personal care and health care services, passenger and public transport, secondary schools, and indoor public places –this includes churches.

The Premier also stated that masks are strongly recommended to be worn in open plan work-places, and particularly in common areas like the lunch-room, photocopy area, lifts and foyer. This will impact church offices, as well as church meetings, for example, Church Council meetings.

Professor Spurrier, the Chief Public Health Officer stated that the rule of thumb for South Australians is that if you can wear a mask, then you should wear a mask. This means that planning for all of our church activities should take this into account. With this in mind, if you are attending any of the Synod sites: the Pirie Street office, the Brooklyn Park campus, or Uniting Venues for meetings or other events, please wear a mask.

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July 20th, 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

The Premier has announced that from 6pm Tuesday 20 July, South Australia will be under Level 5 restrictions. This means a state-wide, 7 day lockdown in South Australia.  From 6pm on Tuesday 20 July 2021, there will only be 5 reasons to leave your home:

      • Care and compassion reasons such as caring for a loved one
      • Essential work
      • Medical reasons including vaccination and testing
      • Purchase of essential goods such as food
      • Exercise –  with people in same household, within 2.5km from home, once a day for maximum 90 minutes.

The Premier has made clear that this is a stay at home order. This is a greater level of restriction than we have experienced up until now, due to the current outbreak being the Delta strain of COVID-19.

This means that all activities at churches need to be cancelled for the next 7 days. There is NOT an option for a small group to gather at church to pre-record worship for Sunday. The Emergency Management Direction provides that, ‘faith leaders broadcasting services or ceremonies at places of worship’ are considered essential workers. This means that only the Minister or person in placement in the Ministry of Pastor is authorised to go to the church to broadcast worship.

We encourage you to be creative about how you worship together this Sunday. 

The only other reason that someone may attend the church site is in the event of an emergency (e.g. the alarm goes off; a weather event causes damage)

The Emergency Management Direction also considers to be essential workers those who are providing  ‘care services for people with particular needs because of homelessness, age, infirmity, disability, illness…. Or other essential support services’. This means that churches who are designated UnitingCare SA Emergency Relief Centres may continue to operate. For further information contact UnitingCare SA. 

All Synod sites (Pirie Street office, Brooklyn Park campus and Uniting Venues) will be closed for the next 7 days, with staff working from home. Please continue to be in touch with staff as you need to.

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July 15th, 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

The Premier has announced new restrictions applicable to churches effective from midnight (12:01am) Friday, 16th July 2021. These changes include:

      • Density requirements for ceremonies (which includes church services, weddings and funerals) revised back to 1 person per 2sqm
      • We encourage masks in contexts where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
      • No congregational singing this Sunday (18th July), even wearing masks.

This means that there is to be no congregational singing, chorus singers or choirs until further notice - even wearing masks.

We strongly encourage congregations to consider the intent of this restriction and to seek to find other ways to worship together. Please pay special attention to the SA Government website as you prepare for worship and other events this weekend.

We expect that as per the previous direction, a small worship group of musicians and singers who regularly rehearse and perform together may be permissible.

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July 5th 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

The Premier and Police Commissioner announced on July 5th, 2021, a relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions applicable to churches which were enacted last week. Restrictions have now been revised back (effective immediately) to the following:

Density requirements for churches:

      • where worshippers are in fixed seating - the requirement that worshippers wear masks when more than 75% of the seats are occupied

      • where worshippers are not in fixed seating - the requirement that worshippers wear masks if the total number of persons present at the place exceeds 3 persons per 4 square metres.

In addition, the following restrictions apply:

      • Reasonable steps must be taken to maintain 1.5m physical distancing
      • COVID-Safe Plans, QR codes (contact tracing) and COVID Marshals required
      • Residential gatherings limited to a maximum of 50 people unrestricted (51-200 requires a COVID-Safe Plan)
      • Private gatherings (such as wakes and receptions) 3 person per 4sqm, limited to a maximum of 200 people
      • Food and beverages may be consumed whilst standing (no communal service areas such as buffets).

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July 2nd 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

Following the release of the Public Activities Direction (No 27) enacted late yesterday afternoon (1st July 2021) a further revised restriction relating to singing has been included. The revised guideline for congregations now states that singing is not permitted at indoor premises that are non-residential unless:

      • the singer is performing individually (not including a karaoke performer); or
      • the singers are members of a group of performers and they are performing or rehearsing in the indoor premises (not including karaoke performers or persons performing or rehearsing as part of a choir or chorus); or
      • the premises are an educational establishment; or
      • the singers are undertaking or providing an individual lesson.

There is to be no congregational singing, chorus singers or choirs until further notice - even wearing masks. It is understood that a small worship group of musicians and singers who regularly rehearse and perform together may be permissible.

We strongly encourage congregations to consider the intent of this restriction and to seek to find other ways to worship together.

The density restrictions for ceremonies (which includes church services, weddings and funerals) continues to be revised back to 1 person per 2sqm.

In addition, the following restrictions apply:

      • Reasonable steps must be taken to maintain 1.5m physical distancing
      • COVID-Safe Plans, QR codes (contact tracing) and COVID Marshals required
      • Residential gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people (Greater Metropolitan Adelaide, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Fleurieu Peninsula Council areas only)
      • Private gatherings (such as wakes and receptions) 1 person per 2sqm, limited to a maximum of 150 people
      • Food and beverages to be consumed whilst seated (no communal service areas such as buffets)
      • Face masks mandatory in health care and personal care settings such as residential care, hospitals, hairdressers and beauty salons
      • Face masks strongly recommended in indoor public places and on public transport where social distancing is difficult to achieve.

Further information is available directly from the Government of SA website at this link.

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July 1st 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

Following the release of the Public Activities Direction (No 26) enacted late yesterday (30th June 2021) a revised restriction relating to singing has been included. The revised guideline for congregations is now:

There is to be no congregational singing, worship groups with more than one singer or choirs this Sunday (4th July) - even wearing masks. Singing is limited to an individual ‘performer’ only.  We understand that an individual singer may be accompanied by an instrumentalist(s).

We strongly encourage congregations to consider the intent of this restriction and to seek to find other ways to worship together.

The density restrictions for ceremonies (which includes church services, weddings and funerals) continues to be revised back to 1 person per 2sqm.

In addition, the following restrictions apply:

      • Reasonable steps must be taken to maintain 1.5m physical distancing
      • COVID-Safe Plans, QR codes (contact tracing) and COVID Marshals required
      • Residential gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people (Greater Metropolitan Adelaide, Adelaide Hills, Barossa and Fleurieu Peninsula Council areas only)
      • Private gatherings (such as wakes and receptions) 1 person per 2sqm, limited to a maximum of 150 people
      • Food and beverages to be consumed whilst seated (no communal service areas such as buffets)
      • Face masks mandatory in health care and personal care settings such as residential care, hospitals, hairdressers and beauty salons
      • Face masks strongly recommended in indoor public places and on public transport where social distancing is difficult to achieve.

Further information is available directly from the Government of SA website at this link.

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June 30th 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

Government guidelines indicate that there is to be no congregational singing this Sunday (4th July) - even wearing masks. Where the guidelines have referred to a 'worship group' this means 'performance’ singing by a small worship group or choir with accompanying instrumentalist(s) which is permissible as per normal practice.

We strongly encourage congregations to consider the intent of this restriction and to seek to find other ways to worship together.

The density restrictions for ceremonies (which includes church services, weddings and funerals) continues to be revised back to 1 person per 2sqm.

In addition, the following restrictions apply:

      • Reasonable steps must be taken to maintain 1.5m physical distancing
      • COVID-Safe Plans, QR codes (contact tracing) and COVID Marshals required
      • Residential gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people
      • Private gatherings (such as wakes and receptions) 1 person per 2sqm, limited to a maximum of 150 people
      • Food and beverages to be consumed whilst seated (no communal service areas such as buffets)
      • Face masks mandatory in health care and personal care settings such as residential care, hospitals, hairdressers and beauty salons
      • Face masks strongly recommended in indoor public places and on public transport where social distancing is difficult to achieve.

Further information is available directly from the Government of SA website at this link.

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June 29th 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

The Premier and Police Commissioner have announced a further change to COVID-19 restrictions applicable to churches effective from midnight (12:01am) Tuesday, 29th June 2021. These changes include:

      • Density restrictions for ceremonies (which includes church services, weddings and funerals) revised back to 1 person per 2sqm
      • Reasonable steps must be taken to maintain 1.5m physical distancing
      • COVID-Safe Plans, QR codes (contact tracing) and COVID Marshals required
      • Singing to be restricted to worship group only (includes services and rehearsals)
      • Residential gatherings up to 50 maximum unrestricted (51-150 max with COVID-Safe Plan)
      • Private gatherings (such as wakes and receptions) 1 person per 2sqm, limited to a maximum of 150 people
      • Food and beverages to be consumed whilst seated (no communal service areas such as buffets)
      • Face masks mandatory in health care and personal care settings such as residential care, hospitals, hairdressers and beauty salons.

Please continue to follow the specific restrictions provided in your updated COVID-Safe Plan. Further information is available directly from the Government of SA website at this link.

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March 31 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

We recently reported that the South Australian Government updated its COVID-19 restrictions which come into effect on 31st March 2021 as follows:

      • The density requirement will move from 1 person per 2 square metres to 3 people per 4 square metres (equivalent to 75%)
      • The capacity for cinemas, live theatres, performance venues and places of worship with fixed seating will increase from 75% to 100% provided attendees are wearing a mask.

We have now been able to clarify this information as it relates to churches, as follows:

Density requirements for churches:

      • where worshippers are in fixed seating - the requirement that worshippers wear masks when more than 75% of the seats are occupied
      • where worshippers are not in fixed seating - the requirement that worshippers wear masks if the total number of persons present at the place exceeds 3 persons per 4 square metres.

Churches must take reasonable steps to maintain 1.5m physical distancing

Contact tracing is required

Churches must continue to have a COVID Marshal

COVID Safe Plans will be updated and sent to churches automatically.

There does not appear to be any specific mention in the updated guidelines in regards to weddings and funerals and our best interpretation is that an 'open to the public' wedding or funeral ceremony at a church would only be restricted by density requirements.  However, any associated event following this, such as a reception or wake would be a private event and still capped at 200.

We have updated the COVID-19 Guidelines for Uniting Church Congregations document to reflect these changes and it is available for download at this link.

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March 26 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

The Premier and Police Commissioner have announced a further relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions applicable to churches effective from midnight Tuesday, 30th March 2021. Some of the changes include:

      • Density restriction incresed to 3 per 4sqm (75%)
      • 100% capacity allowable in churches with fixed seating provided attendees are wearing a mask
      • Wedding and funeral ceremonies will be relaxed in line with density
      • COVID-Safe Plans and QR Codes remain
      • Residential gatherings remain the same (up to 50 maximum unrestricted and 51-200 max with COVID-Safe Plan.

We have been advised by the Government of SA that further work is being done to provide clarity about the new COVID restrictions. We have been told that this guidance will be provided by Tuesday, 30th March 2021.

Churches are encouraged to plan their Holy Week and Easter services on the existing COVID restrictions which we have been operating under for quite some time.

The SA Government’s COVID website is: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities/activities-and-gatherings

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February 10 2021: Update to COVID-19 Restrictions in SA

We continue to listent to the latest advice of both SA Police and SA Health and we strongly encourage congregations to follow their COVID-Safe Plans and continue to apply the following guidelines:

      • The provision for indoor church services stands at one person per 2sqm density (this includes the total number of persons in any single room or enclosed area)
      • Must take reasonable steps to maintain 1.5m physical distancing
      • COVID Marshal required (online training course mandatory)
      • Contact tracing must be in operation at each church site using the SA Government supplied QR Code or where this is not possible (e.g. person has no smartphone) then paper form applies
      • No communal food or beverage service areas, including buffet style
      • Private functions, weddings and funerals are capped at 200 people with one person per 2sqm density requirement and invitation only. Standing consumption and dancing is allowed
      • Gatherings at residential premises permitted for up to 50 people (51-200 permitted only with COVID Safe Plan, COVID Marshal and QR Code).

If you have further questions, please continue to work with your presbyteries or contact:

Rev Sue Page – Associate General Secretary
Email: spage@sa.uca.org.au
Phone: (08) 8236 4217

Rev Philip Gardner
Email: pgardner@sa.uca.org.au
Phone: (08) 8236 4268

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LETTER FROM THE GENERAL SECRETARY (Thursday, 10th Dec 2020)

COVID-19 Resources


                                                       

           COVID-19 Guidelines                            Checklist for Congregations                  Government Contact Tracing Record 
                   (26 Oct 2020)                                             (28 May 2020)                                          Attendance Register
                                                                                                                                                             (1 June 2020)

As the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly provide COVID-19 updates, they will be detailed below:


For all enquiries about Coronavirus, please contact:

Please note that we may experience a heightened number of enquiries. Your patience and understanding are greatly appreciated.
Please email us in the first instance, leave a message with your name and phone number, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Get the latest updates from the Uniting Church in SA regarding COVID-19 and weekly newsletters, subscribe below!

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