Frequently Asked Questions
It is possible that more than one industry plan may be applicable for the activities on site or that an organisation might have the option of selecting from one or two different plans. It is recommended that the activity the certificate is referred to (e.g. the cafe) and the industry plan (e.g. Food Services Industry Plan) are included on the statement of compliance before it is posted in the building. The statement of compliance and the compliance checklist must be publicly displayed
No. Unless the group has adopted an Industry Plan that is appropriate for their activities the restrictions around gatherings found in the public health direction apply.
The Industry COVID-19 Safe Plan for Places of Worship says that a service may be held for more than 20 people, provided that there is one person per four square metres and that individuals are in groups of 20. For example, this might mean that if the service was held in a room that was 400 square metres, 100 people could attend the service, provided there is no singing and that the individuals were in groups of 20, with 1.5 metres between each group. Within the group of 20, 1.5 metres is required between individuals who are not from the same household (i.e. same residential address).
If the congregation has not signed up to the Industry COVID-19 Safe Plan for Places of Worship, they must follow the Safety Management Plan for church services and the Public Health Direction, which have a maximum of 20 people attending services, 20 people attending weddings and 100 people attending funerals, providing adequate space exists in the building when applying one person per four square metres.
A premises is defined in the Public Health Act 2005 as a building or other structure and a part of a building or other structure.
Venue or site are both terms used in public health directions and advice but are not defined within the Public Health Act 2005 or in the public health direction. A site is defined as the spatial location of an actual or planned structure or set of structures (Merrim-Webster Dictionary). A venue is defined as a place where events of a specific type are held (Merrim-Webster Dictionary).
For the purposes of this definition each building on the site can be considered a separate premises.
The Presbytery Ministers and Synod office have been working together to find a way for our vulnerable volunteers to return to serving the church, whilst caring for and considering their safety. The Moderator was recently in a meeting with the Chief Health Officer and the issue of vulnerable volunteers was raised. The Chief Health Officer emphasised those that have been identified in the vulnerable group need to limit the amount of interaction they have with other people. It was also acknowledged that we must keep our volunteers safe and limit any harm.
The definition of volunteers that has been adopted is “a person who, in a church activity, is rostered for a duty, involved in running the activity, and/or directed to perform specific tasks other than to join in communally”. A procedure document Assessing work for volunteers deemed vulnerable to COVID-19 and the Vulnerable worker risk assessment form have been developed collaboratively between the Synod office and Presbytery Ministers. A risk assessment needs to be completed and approved by the church council before a vulnerable volunteer is able to return to service. We care and value all those that serve in the church and encourage church councils to continue to consider the safety of all workers including those that are classed as vulnerable.
The Industry Safe Plan for Places of Worship is clear that vulnerable members of the community should be encouraged to stay home and engage with the church community through non-physical means. If a vulnerable person chooses to attend a church activity they are to be welcomed and cared for as a valued member of the community.
It is preferable to conduct organisational meetings via phone or online, if possible. In addition, the Industry COVID Safe Plan for Places of Worship notes that when a congregation adopts the plan they should encourage vulnerable community members to stay home and engage with the community through non-physical means.
If a risk assessment is completed and approved by the church council however a vulnerable volunteer may be able to return to an in-person meeting. We care and value all those that serve in the church and encourage church councils to continue to consider the safety of all workers including those that are classed as vulnerable.
The Industry COVID-19 Safe Plan for Places of Worship says that singing is allowed but that the space allocation should be one person per seven square metres. This means that if the service is being conducted in a space that is 140 square metres, 20 people would be permitted to attend, rather than 35 without singing.
If the congregation decides to not follow the Industry COVID-19 Safe Plan for Places of Worship, then they must follow the Safety Management Plan for church services and the Public Health Direction. The Safety Management Plan indicates that in-person choir performances and rehearsals are not permitted.
Safety management plans should be approved by each congregational Church Council. The Synod office is able to provide advice and guidance on these plans on an as needed basis. This advice can be sought by emailing the plan and any concerns to COVID19@ucaqld.com.au.
Yes, contact details for all people, excluding retail customers entering an op shop / book shop only, entering the premises must be kept for 56 days, irrespective of whether they have downloaded the COVIDSafe app. A congregation may choose to use the UCare program available through the Business Development Unit to help store this information, or the template available on the Synod coronavirus website.
It is the responsibility of the hirer to clean the area which they have used after each instance. However, the Church Council should communicate the cleaning expectations and requirements, have them documented in the safety management plan and ensure that cleaning requirements are adhered to.