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COVID-19

Latest News Updates

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:

  • Closing of communal areas, like changing rooms.
  • Record of attendance for church only activities (services, youth groups, small groups, etc. There is a form available on the COVID-19 website)

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