The presence of COVID-19 in our community remains a threat to the health and safety of a broad swathe of people. It is likely that it will remain a threat for some time to come, essentially until a vaccine is available or until COVID-19 has been ‘eliminated’ from Australia.
The NSW Government is seeking to ease COVID-19 restrictions as quickly and as safely as is possible, and while we might wish it to be faster for any number of reasons, we need to be conscious of more than just ourselves. As Christians the concept of sacrifice is not something we are unfamiliar with, and we should be only too willing to embrace sacrifice for the great good, i.e. for the health and safety of the Australian community.
Easing announced 11 June and taking effect 13 June
The current Public Health Order was amended to clarify the number of people who can be inside a ‘place of public worship’. The calculation is in two parts, and the lower number of the two numbers is the limit allowed inside the church building:
The first calculation is reached by allowing 4 square metres within the building per person. On this basis, for example, Sacred Heart Cathedral has a capacity to have up to 100 persons inside.
The second calculation is reached by reference to the provisions of the current Public Health Order, i.e.:
- For weddings – 20 guests, plus the couple, the celebrant, one photographer, one videographer, and any others required for the wedding to take place.
- For funerals & memorial services – 50 persons, plus those necessary for the conduct of the funeral or memorial service (e.g. the celebrant, funeral directors, etc.)
- For religious services – 50 persons, plus those necessary for the conduct of the funeral or memorial service.
- For private prayer – 50 persons.
Such limits mean that for the time being, Sunday Masses in the churches of the City Pastoral Region will require careful management. For details about how this is being attended to in each of the churches, please see the Regional Bulletin by clicking here.