Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for the latest advice regarding COVID-19. Updates as of 5am 17 December 2021.

The significant change announced this week was that all workers in early childhood and schools will be required to have received their first dose by December 17 and hold a vaccination certificate by January 23.

Restrictions remain the same across Queensland for places of worship, and how these will change on December 17 is unclear. The COVID team has reached out and asked ten questions of Queensland Health, seeking answers to some of the questions being asked. These questions have been posted to the website.

If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your congregational COVID Advisor or contact the Synod COVID-19 team via email at COVID19@ucaqld.com.au.
We asked the following questions:

Occupant Density can now be calculated at one person to two square metres (50%) 

100 per cent capacity is permitted with ticketed allocated individual seating is being used up to a maximum of 200 people. 

Occupant Density does not need to be applied to outdoor gatherings.  Attendees do need to be reminded to physically distance to the extent possible.  

A maximum of 100 people can currently attend a home group or gathering in a private residence.  

Funerals can be held with the greater of: 

  • a density of one person per two square metres (50%), or  
  • 100% capacity with allocated and ticketed seating to a maximum of 500 people.   

Wedding capacity depends on the vaccination status of attendees, officials and the bridal party.  If all attendees and those involved are vaccinated, the wedding can proceed with no occupant density. 

If one or more persons attending the funeral are yet to be vaccinated, the maximum number of people that can attend the funeral, including the bridal party, person officiating the service, and volunteers is 20 in total 

All industry plans were revoked on the 25 June 2021 and replaced by standard COVID Safe Checklists. 

 The industry plans are no longer a requirement adherence to the Public Health and Social Measures linked to vaccination status Direction apply. 

 Congregations are required complete and display the COVID Safe Checklist: Public Health and Social Measures – Unvaccinated staff and patrons permitted 

Yes.  It is a requirement of the COVID Safe Checklists that a place of worship demonstrate how they are meeting the checklist obligations.  A safety management plan outlines how the place of worship is addressing the requirements of the checklist.  

The Check-in QLD App became mandatory for Places of Worship from 1am on Friday 9 July 2021. Persons attending a place of worship are required to check in as they enter the building.  It is required for all gatherings at a place of worship including worship services, weddings and funerals. It is currently required for outdoor gatherings.   

The Check-in QLD App is also mandatory for community halls, and it is the responsibility of the congregation to ensure the appropriate signage and access to business profile is available for the hirer. It is not the responsibility for the congregation to ensure that the hirer is making all people check in – this is the hirer’s role. It is important congregations clarify this with their hirers. 

Each congregation will need to register via the Check-in QLD App website to receive their QR Code, posters and business number.   

It should be noted that congregations are required to have a “back-up” in place for an instance that the internet or the App is not working.  

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. 

Broadly speaking, Yes, vulnerable people are able to volunteer, however, a church council is obligated to take all reasonable precautions to ensure their volunteers can perform their duties safely.  The vulnerable volunteer risk assessment form needs to be completed and approved by church council. Vulnerable volunteers in the impacted areas should consider their own health and safety and, in conjunction with their doctor, make a call on whether it is safe to leave the house. 

A volunteer 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 safely. 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. 

Yes, choirs and carolers can perform. There must be no more than one person per 2 square metres in the space you are performing (including the choir and the audience). A choir should be at least 4 metres away from your audience. 

Performances that are not choirs can perform 2 metres away from your audience. There must be no more than one person per 2 square metres in the space you are performing (including the performers and the audience). 

There is no longer a requirement for people to be served during morning tea as individuals can now help themselves to tea, coffee and food. Training for those involved in the preparation and setting out of morning tea is still a requirement and the cleaning requirements remain: 

  • Regularly clean touch points, which now may mean utensils and urn taps 
  • Re-usable crockery and cutlery will still need to be washed in a commercial dishwasher or in water hotter than 70 degrees 
  • Continue using single use if unable to clean at these temperatures safely.  

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. 

From December 18, everyone in Queensland is required to wear a mask in a retail store or shop, hospital or aged care facility, public transport, ride share vehicles and at the airport and whilst on a plane.  There is no requirement for masks to be worn in places of worship however Queensland Health strongly advise Queenslanders to wear a mask when they are unable physically distance from others.  

No, as such the restrictions that will apply to cafes and restaurants will not apply to places of worship, unless your congregation has a café on site.  

According to the Queensland Health direction, yes. However, it is up to each individual church council to determine whether they will allow non-vaccinated members of the community to attend a service.  

Unvaccinated persons can attend unticketed, outdoor, community events (i.e. carols in the park or new year eve fireworks) as these are not captured in the rules around events and entertainment.  

A person who is yet to be vaccinated is not permitted to attend and indoor event or a ticketed outdoor event. 

It is possible to serve all persons in your café however only the vaccinated will be permitted to sit down for a meal.  Unvaccinated persons will be able to enter and order a takeaway meal/coffee and immediately leave the café after receiving their drink.  All café staff and volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated after December 17 or once the 80% double dose rate is achieved. 

If these activities have been approved by church council and they are not specifically listed as non-essential leisure activities, it is in order for these activities to continue to take place. 

Yes.  If you do have a commercial café or coffee shop, it will be necessary to restrict table service to vaccinated persons however those who are yet to be vaccinated can order takeaway food and drink. 

Yes.  The difference between a community meal and running a café is that the community meal is an essential service.  Vaccinated and unvaccinated persons can attend but we would strongly recommend that any volunteers involved in the community meal are fully vaccinated before serving when borders open. 

If it is not a celebratory service (Easter, Christmas, etc) being held in lieu of a normal Sunday service, it would be considered comparable to a concert and would therefore only be able to welcome vaccinated persons.  If the concert is an unticketed, outdoor concert all persons would be able to attend the concert. 

A hirer will not come under the place of worship definition in the public health directionA hirer may be a restricted business such as a dance school or an unrestricted business such as a training organisation.  Each will need to be determined before occupant density and other safety measures can be determined. 

Occupant Density can now be calculated at one person to two square metres (50%).  Ticketed and allocated seating is not an option when hiring your hall. 

If the hall has been hired for a private party, wake, wedding reception, conference or presentation and all persons attending have been vaccinated 100% capacity is permitted without ticketing. 

If there is anyone in attendance that is yet to be vaccinated, the number of people that can attend drops to the lesser of one person per four square metres or 20 people in total. 

Restrictions have been imposed on conference centres and outdoor education settings by the public health directions.  Please contact the conference centre or campsite to establish whether there are any restrictions that will impact your camp. 

If the event is planned for outdoors, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can attend.  If wet weather prompts the leadership group to want to move attendees into the buildings, only vaccinated persons are able to enter the buildings.  

Queensland Synod office contacts