Latest health advice on face masks
On 2 August 2020, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant strongly recommended wearing a face mask:
if it is hard to maintain 1.5 metres of physical distance from others
in places of worship
in indoor venues with a higher risk of transmission, where practical.
Wearing a face mask in any of these settings is not mandatory but is highly recommended, especially in areas where there has been community transmission.
Under Public Health Orders, you must:
- have a COVID-19 Safety Plan for how your place of worship will keep your staff, volunteers and visitors safe
- register as COVID Safe.
You can either:
- use the COVID-19 Safety Plan: places of worship (PDF, 209.07 KB) NOTE: this safety plan incorporating new compliance measures for places of worship will be in force from 12:01am Friday 24 July.
- develop your own plan to address the checklist of matters required on this page.
Multiple places of worship
If a place of worship has more than one building on the premises, each building can have up to 100 persons (or 150 persons for a wedding) provided there is enough space to ensure one person per 4 square metres, and:
- each building has its own separate ingress/egress to the outdoors
- staff and volunteers are designated to work in only one building
- reasonable steps are taken to ensure staff, volunteers and congregants of each building do not interact with each other
- services have staggered start and finish times
- each building has its own COVID-19 Safety Plan and registers this through nsw.gov.au.
Updating your plan
You may need to update the plan in the future, as restrictions and advice changes.
The plan available on this page will always be the most recent.
If you have registered as a COVID Safe business online and you update your safety plan, you do not need to register again.
Checklist of matters to be addressed in your COVID-19 Safety Plan
- Exclude staff and congregants who are unwell from the premises.
- Provide staff with information and training on COVID-19, including when to get tested, physical distancing and cleaning.
- Make staff aware of their leave entitlements if they are sick or required to self-isolate.
- Display conditions of entry (website, social media, venue entry).
- Consider offering online services or alternative arrangements for people in high-risk categories (e.g. over 70 years).
- Ensure COVID-19 Safety Plans are in place, where relevant, for:
- Capacity must not exceed 100 people, or one visitor per 4 square metres of space (excluding staff), whichever is lesser.
- Group singing or chanting is particularly high risk and so should continue to be avoided.
- Wedding services can have a maximum capacity of 150 people, and funeral services can have a maximum capacity of 100 people. See the NSW Government website for wedding and funeral service COVID-19 Safety Plans.
- Move or remove tables and seating as required where possible. Household or other close contacts do not need to physically distance.
- Reduce crowding wherever possible and promote physical distancing.
- Where reasonably practical, ensure staff maintain 1.5 metres physical distancing at all times, including at meal breaks and in office or meeting rooms.
- Use telephone or video for essential meetings where practical.
- Review regular deliveries and request contactless delivery and invoicing where practical.
- Have strategies in place to manage gatherings that may occur immediately outside the premises, such as at the conclusion of services. This may involve suspending or adjusting the practice of greeting congregants as they arrive or depart to ensure appropriate physical distancing.
- Coordinate with public transport, where reasonably practical, around strategies to minimise COVID-19 risks associated with transportation to and from the venue if crowding on public transport may occur.
- Take measures to ensure drivers of courtesy vehicles minimise close contact with passengers where possible.
- Solo singing and wind instruments, can spread COVID-19 if a participant is infected. Additional planning around these activities should be undertaken from a work health and safety perspective, including ensuring 5 metres distance from the audience.
- Education programs should be conducted in accordance with the NSW Government guidelines on Schools and Childcare. Students do not need to follow strict adult physical distancing guidelines but should follow good hygiene practices. Staff should continue to maintain 1.5m physical distancing from students where practical.
- Adopt good hand hygiene practices.
- Ensure bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap and paper towels or hand dryers.
- Consider modifying religious rites or rituals to avoid direct contact where practical, such as communion or other similar practices. Where this is not practical, ensure hands are washed before and after each interaction with soap and water or hand sanitiser.
- Avoid sharing books, drinking cups or other shared objects used during the service such as collection plates. Also consider putting barriers around frequently touched objects of worship, such as shrines, relics or fonts, to prevent people frequently touching these.
- Clean frequently used indoor hard surface areas (including children's play areas) at least daily with detergent/disinfectant. Clean frequently touched areas and surfaces several times per day.
- Disinfectant solutions need to be maintained at an appropriate strength and used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
- Staff are to wear gloves when cleaning and wash hands thoroughly before and after with soap and water.
- Keep a record of name and a mobile number or email address for all staff, volunteers, visitors and contractors for a period of at least 28 days. For households, one contact is sufficient to support contact tracing. Ensure records are used only for the purposes of tracing COVID-19 infections and are stored confidentially and securely.
- All places of worship must register their COVID-19 Safety Plan through nsw.gov.au.
- Make your staff aware of the COVIDSafe app and its benefits to support contact tracing if required.
Register as a COVID Safe organisation
Download your COVID-19 Safety plan
Download, print and complete the COVID-19 Safety Plan: places of worship (PDF, 222.35 KB) NOTE: this safety plan incorporating new compliance measures for places of worship will come into force at 12:01am Friday 24 July.
Register for free as a COVID Safe organisation
Once you've completed and downloaded your COVID-19 Safety Plan, you need to register your organisation as COVID Safe.
Last updated: 30 August 2020