COVID-19

Latest News Updates

14/12/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #24

From 12:01 am on 14 December 2020, the Emergency Management (Public Activities No 16) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 came into effect.

For churches that are having services, activities and meetings that the general public can come to (including Playgroups, Craft groups, counselling services, Christmas services), here are the updated requirements you must attend to:

What’s New?
  • The density requirement has now been set at 1 person per 2 sq metres, therefore the maximum number of people is now only limited by the room available at the church property.

How Do I Calculate the Total Number of People Able to Come To Church?

  • You need to calculate the area of all rooms to be generally used, add all the areas together and divide by 2. This will give you the total number of people allowed on the church property.

It is important to note that:

  • The total number of people present in the place as a whole must not exceed 1 person per 2 sq meters, AND
  • The total number of people present in any one room at the place must not exceed 1 person per 2 sq meters.

Your COVID-Safe Plan should be used as your primaty guide for determining the maximum number of people allowed on the church property. Your Plan should be updated with these new requirements shortly. If not, the easiest thing to do would be to create a new Plan.

 

What Stays the Same?
  • People must take reasonable steps to maintain 1.5m physical distancing.
  • A COVID-Safe Plan is required.
  • A COVID Marshal is required.
  • Electronic contact tracing is required.
  • Infants and children are still counted in the numbers.
  • Staff and volunteers with specific roles in the serves are not counted.

Click here for the latest Direction details, a link to Common Questions and a handy Public Activity Requirements Table.

 

Weddings and Funerals

Maximum people limits have now been lifted to 200 but need to maintained to a total number based on the new density requirement of 1 person per 2 sq metres. They are still to be invitation only events.

 

Food and Drinks at church

If you are serving morning tea at church all the usual hygene requirements still apply, and shared utensils or platters cannot be used.

However, people can now be standing to have their morning tea.

We acknowledge that morning tea is often a time for people to group and “huddle” while they chat. It is important that the church still makes every effort to guide people to manage the 1.5m physical distancing, and imperative that the density requirements of 1 person per 2 sq meters is managed.

 

For the latest information about your requirements at church, review your most recent COVID-Safe Plan, visit the COVID-Safe website, call the COVID-Safe Information Line (1800253787) or give us a call to chat.

Click here for the latest Direction details, a link to Common Questions and a handy Public Activity Requirements Table.

2/12/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #23

From 12:01 am on 1 December 2020, the Emergency Management (Public Activities No 14) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 came into effect.

For churches that are having services, activities and meetings that the general public can come to (including Playgroups, Craft groups, counselling services), here are the updated requirements you must attend to:

  • The maximum person limit of 100 for the site has been removed. The maximum number of people is now restricted by the density requirements of the rooms used and site in general.
  • The density requirement stays at 1 person per 4 sq metres.
  • People must take reasonable steps to maintain 1.5m physical distancing.
  • A COVID-Safe Plan is required.
  • A COVID Marshal is required.
  • Electronic contact tracing is required.

Click here for the latest Direction details and a handy Public Activity Requirements Table.

 New Contact Tracing App To Be Used

The new Direction stipulates that contract tracing must now be done through the new COVID SAfe Check-In feature of the mySA GOV app, which is freely available through Google Play or the Apple App Store. The Check-In feature is available on the front page of the app and does not require any sort of log in for the app to work.

The Direction specifically notes “The use of privately sourced or alternative electronic platforms or systems for capturing relevant contact details will not satisfy the requirement.

Every church who has already completed a COVID-Safe Plan will receive the required QR code from the SA Government and it must be displayed for attendees to scan on entry.

If an attendee does not have a smartphone, or there is no internet available on site, then a manual system must be offered. Children who are with their parents / carer are not required to check in either.

If an attendee declines to download the app, declines to scan the QR code and declines to use the manual system the church can be refuse them entry.

“Should I use this for collecting contact tracing information for people visiting the office or kids coming to youth group?” These types of activities still require the church to obtain contact tracing information, so yes we would recommend using the new COVID SAfe Check-In for these purposes as well.

The SA COVID-19 website has a specific information page and FAQ document relating to the new contact tracing requirements. Please check it out.

Weddings and Funerals

Maximum people limits have been lifted to 150 with a new density requirement of 1 person per 2 sq metres, but they must be invitation only events.

If a private function (like a reception after the wedding or a wake after the funeral) is to be held on site, these new limits also apply. Dancing is allowed at weddings (Editor note – 😁).

Food and Drinks at church

If you are serving morning tea at church all the usual hygene requirements still apply, people must be seated to have their morning tea, and shared utensils or platters cannot be used.

 

For the latest information about your requirements at church, review your most recent COVID-Safe Plan, visit the COVID-Safe website, call the COVID-Safe Information Line (1800253787) or give us a call to chat.

22/11/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #22

We can now confirm that from 12:01 am on 22 November 2020, the Stay at Home Direction is revoked.

Also from 12:01 am on 22 November 2020, the Emergency Management (Public Activities No 12) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 is now in effect. See the notes below from 20 Nov 2020 for the general requirements for churches, or go to the COVID-19 Response website for all the specific details.

 

20/11/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #21

What a crazy 48 hours is has been.

Late this morning, Premier Steven Marshall announced a revision of the lockdown and restrictions based on new information received through the Contact Tracing efforts.

As of 12:01 am on Sunday 22 November (Midnight Saturday) SA will revert to similar restrictions that were in place on Monday 16 November 2020.

This includes:

  • 1 person per 4 square metres will apply.
  • All food and beverages will need to be consumed while seated.
  • No dancing. (Editors note – 🙁)
  • Updated gathering provision numbers being:
    • Religious ceremonies (not including a wedding or funeral)- 100 people maximum
    • Weddings – 150 people maximum and registration of all guests with SA Health
    • Funerals – 50 people maximum
    • Private residence – 10 people per house (unless more than 10 people permanently reside at the residence)

As per previous instructions:

  • The capacity at church is based on the venue as a whole.
  • Infants and children of any age are included in the head count.
  • People employed or engaged to work, or undertaking official duties, are not to be counted.
  • COVID Marshals and contact tracing will still be required.

We will be keeping a close eye on the COVID-19 Response website, as should you, and will update this page with any new and relevant information.

Remember though, for the rest of today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday) the current Stay At Home Directions still apply.

Much prayers, blessing and peace on you all as we look to best manage these changing conditions at such short notice.

19/11/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #20

The SA Government released the Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Stay at home) Direction 2020 this morning. This is a comprehensive document outlining what can and cannot be done from 12:01am 19 Nov 2020 through to 12:01am 25 Nov 2020 (known as the defined period).

For the full details go the the SA Government COIVD-19 website response page and the Stay at Home Q&A page.

The Direction itself can be accessed here.

The primary instruction of the Direction (slightly paraphrased) is:

On the commencement of this direction:

– all persons on South Australia must stay at home for the duration of the defined period unless they have a reason to leave home under Part 3; and

– all community activities must cease operations during the defined period (unless you can do it without leaving home).

It goes on to say “For the avoidance of all doubt, all gatherings are prohibited during the defined period.”

We would also interpret this to mean that no church staff or volunteers should be on church property for any reason (including live streaming). If your church provides an emergency food pantry service to the vulnerable people in your community, I would contact the COVID Infoline (1800 253 787) to confirm that this could still go ahead (and if so, utilise the minimum number of people possible).

The Direction has some exemptions for people without a “suitable premises to reside at” and for those whose premises “are unavailable because of risk of harm” or if you find yourself in an emergency. These people can move about to find a safe place to be.

The Direction also provides for a number of reasons to leave home to obtain essential goods or services (Part 3), and the places that are allowed to be open to provide these services. Instead of listing them here, go to the the SA Government COIVD-19 website response page and the Stay at Home Q&A page.

Something of note is that the Direction allows for leaving of home for care and compassionate reasons. In a church context, these include:

  • to provide care and support to a relative or other person who has particular needs because of age, infirmity, disability, illness or a chronic health condition.
  • because of matters relating to the relative or other person’s health (including mental health or pregnancy).

I think this is a great opportunity for us to serve those vulnerable people in our church and community with some practical support. If you have capacity in your church, encourage those who live nearby a vulnerable person to contact them and offer to do their shopping.

NOTE: Be aware that there are penalties that can be applied for not following the Direction. These can be found at the bottom of the Stay at Home Q&A page.

18/11/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #19

The SA Government has just announced a “circuit breaker” period of restrictions to apply to the whole of South Australia. The impact on the local church from 12:01am 19 Nov 2020 will be:

  • No church services on site will be able to take place on Sunday 22 Nov 2020. This is due to the fact that people will not be able to leave their houses except for the specific reasons listed by the SA Government.
  • No weddings or funerals to take place.
  • No youth, play group, small groups or other church activities/services are to take place in any gathered setting.

For all the details go the the SA Government COIVD-19 website response page. The Official Directions will be coming out shortly and we will update this page with any new information as it comes to hand.

So what can you do? Here are some thoughts for you to start with:

  • If you can live stream from home, have a go.
  • Your small groups or youth can go back to online only gatherings.
  • Contact those people in your congragation who are vulnerable to make sure that they are OK and have what they need in terms of household supplies.
  • Stay calm.
  • Pray for our State leaders and those who are in vulnerable situations.

We have all been here before (maybe not to quite the same extent) and we were able to manage it well then. We can certainly do it again.

In line with the “circuit breaker” restrictions, the Baptist Office will be closed from COB Tuesday 18 Nov 2020 with the expectation to reopen on Wednesday 25 Nov 2020. If you need to contact the office:

  • The best way will be to email info@sabaptist.asn.au and Jenny will pass on your message to the person best placed to handle your enquiry.
  • You can contact Baptist Office staff directly if you have their number.

We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates here.

For more specific details go the the SA Government COIVD-19 website response page.

17/11/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #18-a COVID-Safe Plans

The SA Government has just advised that your COVID-Safe Plan will be automatically updated in line with the new restrictions and sent to you by Wednesday 18 November 2020.

17/11/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #18

We can now confirm that the SA Government has implemented the responses noted below as Emergency Management (Public Activities No 11) (COVID-19) Direction 2020, effective from 12:01am 17 November 2020.

The changes listed below (yesterday) are what we considered to be the main ones affecting the local church. For a full list of all the changes, please go to the SA COVID-19 website here, and to review the Direction itself go here.

There is also a useful Common Questions page found here.

A couple of points to highlight from yesterdays update:

  • The maximum number of people attending a church service is to be calculated for the entire venue. IE: Adding up the number of people allowed in each room used at the church cannot exceed the total maximum allowed for the venue.
  • The maximum amount of people in each room and at the venue in total is based on the new density requirements of 1 person per 4 sq metres. So:
    • if all the rooms used at your church add up to 200 sq metres, then you can have 50 people.
    • if all the rooms used at your church add up to 400 sq metres, then you can have 100 people.
    • if all the rooms used at your church add up to 600 sq metres, then you can still only have 100 people.
  • Infants and children of any age are included in the head count.
  • People employed or engaged to work, or undertaking official duties, are not to be counted.

Please ensure that your COVID-Safe Plan is updated to allow for the new density requirements. This will help you figure out what your maximum capacity will be.

Also ensure that your COVID Marshals are aware of the new maximum number restrictions.

Not only will these new restrictions impact your Sunday services, you will also need to consider how they impact any other services or activities you hold at your church.

We would recommend you review your need to hold activities like Mainly Music, Playgroups or Craft groups at the moment. These could possibly be considered activities that are to be closed for the next 2 weeks (recreation / play cafes). Activities like Youth Groups should also be review to see if they need to be modified or closed for the next couple of weeks as well.

Consideration also needs to be given to morning tea at church, as the requirement to be seated for the consumption of food and beverages has been reinstated.

If you have any questions:

  • Consult your COVID-Safe Plan for directions. (A quick side note on this – the SA COVID-19 Website has just been updated to advise that this should be updated automatically by 18 Nov 2020.)
  • Check out the latest updates and information on the SA COVID-19 website.
  • Contact the Baptist Office to discuss your options.

16/11/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #17

Premier Steven Marshall has just finished a press conference this afternoon where he has announced the following state wide responses to the Northern suburbs COVID019 outbreak:

  • Church services are capped at 100 people maximum (subject to the density requirements of 1 person per 4 sq metres).
  • Funerals are now capped to 50 people attending (subject to the density requirements of 1 person per 4 sq metres).
  • Weddings will stay to 150 people attending (subject to the density requirements of 1 person per 4 sq metres). All guests must be registered through the CDCB (Communicalbe Diseases Control Branch) online form.
  • Home gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people in the house (inclusive of residents).

These restrictions will take effect from Midnight between Mon 16 Nov and Tues 17 Nov, and will be confirmed through Directions from the Police Commissioner shortly. We will confirm when this has happened.

Here is what has not changed:

  • A COVID-Safe plan is required. Please make sure yours is up to date with all the Public Activities your church wishes to hold.
  • Contact tracing is required.
  • 1.5m distancing still applies.
  • COVID Marshals are required.
  • Communal sharing or handling of objects is not allowed (this particularly impacts communion).

The Premier also announced the following advice items:

  • Work from home wherever possible.
  • Vulnerable people are to stay at home and avoid having visitors.
  • Avoid any unnecessary travel.
  • Wear a mask where it in not possible to physically distance, such as public transport.

Please note that the above 4 points are advice only, not directions, but this may change over the next few days/weeks.

27/10/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #16

Over the last couple of months there have been a limited number of updates from the SA Government about lifting restrictions for churches.

Here is what has changed:

  • Weddings may now have up to 150 people attending.
  • Funerals may now have up to 150 people attending.
  • The provision of food (morning tea, church lunch or BBQ) can happen within the boundaries of proper food hygiene and handling practices and COVID-Safe practices. See additional links below.

Here is what has not changed:

  • A COVID-Safe plan is required. Please make sure yours is up to date with all the Public Activities your church wishes to hold.
  • Contact tracing is required.
  • 1.5m distancing still applies.
  • 1 person per 2 sq meters still applies for maximum capacity (this includes attendance for Weddings and Funerals).
  • COVID Marshals are required.
  • Communal sharing or handling of objects is not allowed (this particularly impacts communion).

If your church if wondering how to hold morning tea, or if you are considering having a church lunch or BBQ, then I recommend visiting the SA Health web page specifically for food management which has information you can use including a great FAQ on Communal and Shared Food.

SA Health has also put out a guide for churches on how to continue to practice their faith, offer services and maintain connection with community members. Plus they have put out a Fact Sheet around singing in church. To access this information, go to the SA Health web page here and scroll down to the section titled Religious and Faith Organisations. Remember that these are guides and it is up to the local church to determine how this may be managed best.

27/08/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #15
Updates to COVID-Safe Plans

As you should already be aware, rules and restrictions regarding religious ceremonies and weddings have changed. It is most likely that you have already had contact from the SA Government COVID-19 group advising that you need to update your plan manually – due to the changes made, this can not be done automatically as per previous updates.

If you have missed the advice or you are only just starting to plan your return back to onsite gatherings, you need to manually update/create your COVID-Safe Plan to ensure your Plan is correct.

https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/recovery/create-a-covid-safe-plan

The main points to make note of:

  • Weddings and Funerals are now their own separate categories that you need to manually add (if you wish to hold them).
  • COVID Marshalls are now included in the Obligations for General operations, Indoor Public Meetings and Ceremonies.
  • There is new / updated information for churches around physical distancing (1.5m) and singing/choirs in church services.

Please remember that there are three main sections to the document:

  1. The site / room capacity for people gathering there.
  2. The Obligations of the church – these are the things that the church must do to be compliant with the SA Government Directions. Penalties can apply if these are not met.
  3. The Recommendations to the church – these are the things that the SA Government would like the church to implement to help keep their people safe. It is acknowledged that it may not be possible to achieve all of the recommended actions, but the church should attempt to comply to the best of its ability.

I have had a few discussions recently with churches where there has been some robust discussion at Members Meetings / AGMs around what a requirement might mean to them. For example: “How far apart should we put the chairs?”, or “Can we sing in church?”.

In all cases and discussions, your church’s COVID-Safe Plan should be the guiding document on what the church should be doing. The church Leadership Team should know this information thoroughly and provide a united front to any discussion / questions by the congregation.

To create or update your COVID-Safe Plan, click the link below:

https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/recovery/create-a-covid-safe-plan

26/08/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #14
SA Health Resource for Churches – Singing in church

SA Health has put together an advice resource to help churches manage COVID-19 risks in their communities. One item specifically mentioned in the resource is around singing in church. Unlike other practices, singing in church is still an allowable activity and the information provided here is a recommendation only. It is up to the local church to determine how this may be managed best.

Here is the link to the SA Health Information page, scroll to the “Religious and faith organisations” section and click on the link to the guide.

26/08/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #13
SA RECOVERY STEP 3 Updated

The new Emergency Management (Public Activities No 7) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 came into force on Friday 14 August 2020. One of the big things Direction 7 has implemented is the new role of COVID Marshal.

A COVID Marshal will be required at a place of public worship from 21 August 2020.

The COVID Marshal web page on the SA GOV COVID-19 web site has all the information you need and includes a handy FAQ PDF. But I thought I would ask and answer some urgent questions for you – click here to read.

30/07/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #12
SA RECOVERY STEP 3 Updated

A new Public Activities Direction (no 5) has been announced by the SA Government effective from 12:01am Wednesday 30 July 2020.

The full updated Direction and how this affects Activities and Gatherings can be found on the links at the end of this article.

The main point in this updated Direction that affects churches is:

  • a cap of 100 people for funerals (including wakes) and weddings

Before we determine how this applies to churches, following are a few definitions taken from the Direction:

ceremonies means religious or faith based ceremonies (other than wedding ceremonies or funeral services).

defined public activity means any of the following:
(d) ceremonies;
(e) weddings (including wedding ceremonies and receptions);
(f) funeral services (including a wake).

density requirement is—
(a) the requirement that the total number of persons present at a place must not exceed 1 person per 2 square metres; and
(b) in relation to a defined public activity at a place, the requirement that—
(i) the total number of persons present for the purposes of the defined public activity at the place (as a whole) must not exceed 1 person per 2 square metres; and
(ii) the total number of persons present in any single room or enclosed area within the place (including where the place only consists of a single room or enclosed area) must not exceed 1 person per 2 square metres;

What does this mean for the local church?

  • The new cap only affects weddings and funerals.
  • Regular gathering services (Sunday, midweek, youth, etc) are not affected by this Direction except for the need to continue following the density requirement.
  • Density requirements affect both the rooms used and overall capacity of the church building.
    For example: In the church, there are 2 rooms being used. Room 1 is 100 sq metres and Room 2 is 50 sq metres. In total, the church can hold 75 people based on the density requirement of 1 person per 2 sq metres. At a maximum, Room 1 can have 50 people, and Room 2 can have 25 people. Numbers cannot be averaged over the rooms, nor can a single room have more people that the density requirements allow.

NOTE 1: People employed or engaged to work, or undertaking official duties, for the purposes of a defined public activity are not to be counted.

NOTE 2: Infants and children of any age are to be counted.

NOTE 3: Contact tracing is still required for all services held at a Place of Public Worship.

 

Click here for access to the updated Step 3 FAQ document and the SA Recovery Roadmap.

Click here for the Current Direction details for Public Activies, which includes documents for the Direction 2020 No 5, the associated FAQ and a template Contact Tracing form.

29/06/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #11
SA RECOVERY STEP 3

Following is the Recovery Step 3 information directly from the SA Gov COVID-19 website as of 29 June 2020:

From 29 June
Step 3 will be a simplified principle-based approach, except for some high-risk activities.

While physical distancing of 1.5 m is still encouraged, social distancing requirements within venues will be reduced to one person per two square metres.

All businesses, activities and gatherings allowed under Step 3 are listed in the Public activities direction no 3.

Businesses and defined public activities with an existing COVIDSafe Plan do not need to complete a new plan and will be emailed an updated version of their existing plan before 29 June.

Businesses and defined public activities that do not have a COVIDSafe Plan must complete a plan before they can commence – create a COVID-Safe Plan.

Click here for access to the new Step 3 FAQ document and the SA Recovery Roadmap.

Click here for the Current Direction details for Public Activies, which includes documents for the Direction 2020 No 3, the associated FAQ and a template Contact Tracing form.

Please note, contact tracing is still required for all services held at a Place of Public Worship.

24/06/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #10
SA RECOVERY STEP 3

Following is the Recovery Step 3 information directly from the SA Gov COVID-19 website:

This information has been removed, and can now be found in the updated News Item for 29/06/2020 above.

It has been confirmed directly by Premier Steven Marshall on his Facebook account that the new rules apply to places of public worship.

Maximum limits for rooms and venues have been removed. Appropriate 1.5m physical distancing is still encouraged.

For more information or if you need to complete your COVID-Safe Plan before opening, click here for the SA Govt COVID-19 website.

A new Recovery Roadmap is also available on the above website.

We will advise you of any further updates from this page as they come to hand.

16/06/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #9
SA RECOVERY STEP 2 PLUS
As of Friday 19 June 2020, gathering restrictions will be eased once again. As you consider how many people may gather at your church, the main consideration is that the density requirement of 1 person per 4 square meters is the primary calcuation for determining how many people can be in a single room. Click here for more information on what Recovery Step 2 PLUS looks like. Public gatherings A maximum of 300 people may gather at a venue (this could be using multiple rooms). Any separate room or area (inside or outside) may have a maximum of 75 people (subject to the 1 person per 4 square metre rule.) If your room is:
  • 40 square metres, then a maximum of 10 people can be in the room;
  • 100 square metres, then a maximum of 25 people can be in the room;
  • 300 square metres, then a maximum of 75 people can be in the room;
  • 301 square metres and above, then a maximum of 75 people can be in the room.
Physical distancing measures should still be followed. Aim to keep 1.5 metres away from other people when entering / leaving the building and when seated. COVID-Safe Plan updates If your church has not yet created a COVID-Safe Plan you will need to do this before you can open the doors for your first gathering. If you have already done your plan and you are not adding new rooms or increasing the amount of available floor space, you may not need to update your plan. A new certificate will be automatically sent to the church with the new number of people who can gather at your venue. If you are planning on offering more rooms or space for people to gather, then you will need to update your plan. Click here for more information on what Recovery Step 2 PLUS looks like. Click here to create a COVID-Safe Plan. Things to consider Contact tracing records need to be kept for each person attending a gathering at the church property. The number of people noted above exclude volunteers with identified roles and church staff. Density requirements and rules apply the same to Kid’s Ministries. Entry and exit movement needs to be well managed to reduce lines and general gathering / bunching of people in small areas like foyers. People need to avoid gathering in non-family groups inside and outside the building.  

3/06/2020

Letter from SA Health for churches

In a recent letter to the Leaders of Christian Churches SA, the SA Department for Health and Wellbeing has made the following statements to help clarify the requirements for the local church:

  • Section 9 (4) of the Emergency Management (Public Activities) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 states ‘People employed or engaged to work, or undertake official duties, for the purposes of a defined activity are not to be counted for the purpose of this clause’; therefore, if the leaders out the front are undertaking official duties they will not be considered in the gathering limitation of 20 people per room.
  • Please note that section 19 (1) (a) of the Emergency Management (Public Activities) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 requires that ‘the person conducting or who organised the ceremony makes and retains contact tracing records for each person attending the ceremony.’
  • Further, section 19 (1) (b) states that when ‘undertaking ceremonies that involve the service of any food or beverages or provision of a liquid or edible items, no shared utensils are to be used for that purpose.’
    Our understanding of this is that no shared cups or shared loaves should be used in communion.
  • In regards to the op shops, they are exempt under the Emergency Management (Public Activities) (COVID-19) Direction 2020 as a retail store, and are not required to comply with the direction. However, it is important that for the safety of staff and members of the public, social distancing and density requirements are maintained.
  • Under section 14 (1) of the Emergency Management (Public Activities) (COV/O-19) Direction 2020 community cafes are able to serve food; however, cafes must ensure that there are only 20 people inside (each room) at any one time, and 20 people outdoors (if density requirements allow).

3/06/2020

RENTING OUT CHURCH SPACE

Before these crazy times, a number of our churches rented out available space to other groups for things like dance classes, choirs and music lessons. With the restrictions put in place in March, most (if not all) of these groups had to close and therefore cancel their bookings. But now with the easing of restrictions, churches are now getting enquiries from these groups wanting to restart their programmes.

So, what should be done?

  • For a church to be able to open and lease out their space again, the church needs to complete a COVID-Safe Plan.
  • For any group that was previously restricted and now wants to start classes again in the church, they need to complete a COVID-Safe Plan. (NOTE: dance schools are in this category and need to limit the classes to 10 per room.) The local church should cite the COVID-Safe Plan Certificate before the facilities can be used.
  • For any group that voluntarily closed and now wants to start classes again in the church, they are encouraged to complete a COVID-Safe Plan. It is up to the local church to determine, but we would suggest this be a requirement.

The renting group needs to manage:

The church needs to manage:

There needs to be agreement between the church and the renting group around:

  • Who is responsible for the cleaning of facilities before and after usage.
  • Communication between each other in case of a COVID-19 notification.

The above information was collated after discussion with a representative from the SA COVID-19 Information Line on 3/06/2020.

2/06/2020

COVID-SAFE ONLINE TRAINING
As part of completing your COVID-Safe Plan, you are required to make sure staff and volunteers have undertaken COVID-Safe online training. We are doing this at the moment, and have found the resources by a group called Sentrient very helpful. They have provided a number of free training modules – the most likely one that you would use is “Safety At Work”. Click here to access online training by Sentrient. If you know of other useful training resources, please let us know and we will add them here. Apart from the above training, please also ensure that your staff and volunteers are also made aware of any church specific requirements and protocols around managing people on site as we start gathering together. Things like one way aisles, in only / out only doors, identifying hand sanitising stations, registering attendance, and gently reminding people of social distancing will be a few of the new things we need to think about.

1/06/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #8
SA RECOVERY STEP 2

On 1 June 2020 the announced further easing of restrictions started. The SA Government has made a number of updates to their COVID-19 advisory website.

Click here for information on what Recovery Step 2 looks like.

Click here for information on what the some specific requirements about our activities and gatherings. On this page, scroll down to the “Defined Activities” section and click on “Ceremonies” to see how this applies to churches.

27/05/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #7
SA RECOVERY STEP 2

On 25 May 2020 the SA Government announced that the state would be moving into Recovery Step 2 with further easing of restrictions from 1 June 2020. This heralds some good news for our churches as we can start thinking about how we might gather together in our church buildings in appropriately sized groups.

Click here for information on what your church needs to do to prepare for reopening, including links to important COVID-19 resources and guides.

11/05/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #6

On 8 May 2020 the Prime Minister announced the careful easing of restrictions around Australia using a 3-step plan starting 11 May 2020.

Click HERE to read the full media release

While the Prime Minister and National Cabinet have released a national framework, state and territory governments must develop their own plans for moving towards a COVID safe society and economy. Be aware that South Australia has developed a plan which does not include all the items found in the national framework.

Click HERE to go to the SA Recovery Plan Step 1 website.

Key points to to consider in these steps are around Places of Worship in general, and Funerals and Weddings in particular. Each activity topic on this page has a general information section which also contains a Fact Sheet for that activity.

As these steps and guidelines will change or develop, please ensure that you regularly check the SA Recovery website to access the most current version.

Click HERE to go to the SA Recovery Plan Step 1 website.

As we all look into ways of how we can implement these new plans, it is important to note that current recommendations around social distancing (1.5m) and density requirements (1 person per 4 sq m) still apply in all cases.

6/04/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #5

On 3 April 2020 the Prime Minister provided some clarification updates on coronavirus measures. Of particular interest is that “churches and other places of worship will be considered places of work.”

Click here to read the full media release

The Federal Government has lowered the threshold of some of the requirements for charities to be eligible for the JobKeeper subsidy. Any church registered with the ACNC will now only need to show a reduction of 15% to revenue could now be eligible. The legislation to enable this still needs to be passed – schedule for Wed 8/04/2020.

Click here to read the ABC News report

Click here to read our Admin & Finance Blog article

2/04/2020

BFS INFORMATION & RESOURCES
BFS appreciates that for churches and ministries, financial giving may be impacted during the COVID‐19 crisis. In response to this, BFS has put together an information page on their website to help the local church understand the potential impacts, the support options that BFS have in place, and links to the different Government Support Packages that churches may have available to them. Click here to visit the BFS site.

25/03/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #4

On 24 March 2020 the Prime Minister announced more measures designed to further reduce the spread of COVID-19 by further restricting social interactions. The following statement identifies factors most relevant to churches and their communities.

Click here to read statement

25/03/2020

BCSA COVID-19 FAQ’s

As information is being distributed and we are gaining some clarity on matters, so other questions are being raised. The following FAQ document seeks to provide some answers to the common questions we are being asked.

Click here to read the FAQ document

24/03/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #3

On Monday 23rd March at 4:15pm, SAPOL Commissioner Stevens issued a direction to close businesses and venues. Having contacted SAPOL to seek some clarity on how this applies to “places of worship” we can confirm that this applies to all gatherings.

Click here to read statement

23/03/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #2

Last night’s announcement from the Prime Minister has stimulated lots of questions. Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals will be restricted from opening.

Click here to read statement

19/03/2020

COPYRIGHT LICENCING FOR LIVESTREAMING

If you are planning to incorporate songs into your stream, please be aware that the standard CCLI structure DOES NOT ALLOW for the transmission of songs or their words.

Click here to read full communication

19/03/2020

BAPTIST CHURCHES OF SA EASTER CAMP UPDATE

We announce with deep sadness that Easter Camp 2020 has been cancelled.

Click here to read full communication

16/03/2020

COVID-19 UPDATE #1

The Australian Government has announced a limitation on gatherings. How might this look for your church?

Click here to read statement

12/03/2020

BAPTIST CHURCHES OF SA : COVID-19 RESPONSE

The World Health Organisation (WHO) have officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. In the midst of this, we want to encourage our church family to respond well.

Click here to read statement