Mar 19, 2020
Resumption of services
While the situation is still a bit uncertain, the Church Council has set a target date of the 26th of July to resume our worship services. The purpose of this communication is to highlight some of the differences we will face while worshiping and meeting in a COVID world. The recent events in Victoria highlight for us the need for discipline and diligence as we resume. Please read the summary below and contact 30639528 if you have any questions.
COVID-19, if contracted has the potential to affect vulnerable members of our congregation very seriously. None of us want that, and we must all work together to ensure that we minimise any harm to each other. The State Government has also issued health directives and has an industry safety management plan for Places of Worship which we must comply with. The objective of the church council is to provide a safe environment for worship, and that involves your cooperation.
What will be different?
• Recording contact details - This is a condition of attendance.
We, like all venues, have to record the attendance, and retain those records for 56 days (by law), to enable contact tracing should one of our congregation come into contact with someone who has COVID-19. You will be asked to confirm or supply your contact details, and sign the attendance sheet. This will be required each week. Please bring your own pen.
• Self assessment of your health and contact history – also a condition of attendance
To manage the health of the congregation we will ask you to excuse yourself if you are unwell, or may have come into contact with someone with COVID-19. These questions are on the attendance register, and in signing the attendance register, you are agreeing that you have no potential symptoms and have not come into contact with travellers likely to have COVID-19. If you are displaying symptoms of any illness it is our preference that you don’t attend for the sake of others. The Church Council has the authority to ask anyone obviously unwell to leave.
• Social distancing – required
We are all used to this in shopping centres and other venues, and similarly it is a condition of the health service directive that it apply in and outside the church buildings. We have created a seating and movement plan to minimise interaction as we enter and exit our small building. As people enter they will be directed to seats. If you want to have an appropriately distanced chat with a friend we ask that you do it outside prior to, or after, the service where the 1.5m is easily obtained without obstructing movement. As we queue up to sign the register we will need to maintain 1.5m separation between household groups. Getting there early might be a good idea. As part of this we are also required to monitor the population of the building against its maximum capacity (you may have seen this at shopping centres or Bunnings). As such entry will be via the front door and exit via the deck. If we reach capacity the overflow will be directed to the deck.
• Personal hygiene – required
We must minimise the potential of transfer through person to person contact, or common touch points. We require therefore that you use hand sanitiser prior to entering the building prior to, and after signing the attendance register, and as you leave after the service is finished. Past practices of circulating clipboards for rosters and prayers will no longer occur. Our cleaning regime also changes.
• Post service refreshments – in recess for the moment
At the moment buffet style/common plate serving of food or beverage is not allowed. We are exploring the idea of a post church picnic (self supply of cake and thermos) but any ideas are welcome. Initially it is conversation only.
• Singing – still some questions on this topic
There is quite some evidence that singing produces fine aerosols that are capable of transmitting the virus over quite large distances (if it is present). The church council is moving cautiously in this space and will definitely have music as part of the service for you to listen to, but for the moment we are asking you to hum along and not sing.
• COVID wardens
We would like you all to assist and remind each other to follow the requirements, but it is a requirement that specific people are allocated the responsibility of monitoring our compliance. To that end all church council are by default COVID wardens and are authorised to bring any non compliance to your attention.