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Coronavirus (COVID 19) - Update

10 Feb 2021


The Synod of SA is adapting and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We continue to support our communities, congregations and presbyteries across the state, and this remains our highest priority, while adhering to the latest Government advice.

As we have updates to this topic, they will be detailed on this page.

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LATEST COVID-19 UPDATES: SYNOD

March 31st: 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.

 

March 26th: 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

 

February 10th: 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

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


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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.

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