COVID-19 Response Update 21 MARCH 2020

Our church service for 22 March will continue however will be held in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) limits introduced for organised gatherings.

These limits include restricting:

  • Non-essential indoor gatherings to fewer than 100 people;
  • Outdoor gatherings to fewer than 500 people.

These limits help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are especially important for vulnerable people, such as those over 60 and those with chronic disease.

If you have symptoms or are feeling unwell, please do not attend church, but contact health professionals, and when possible our pastors for ministry and assistance. If you are vulnerable or considered at risk, please consider staying at home.

The Department of Health has described those people who are most at risk of serious infection as:

  • people with compromised immune systems (such as people who have cancer);
  • elderly people;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (as they have higher rates of chronic illness);
  • people with chronic medical conditions;
  • people in group residential settings.

Meeting indoors is subject to change based on further recommendations from the Department of Health.

Indoor gatherings

As our current church attendance level falls under the internal gathering limit, we will continue to meet, however we will adhere to health guidelines on social distancing and good hygiene.

We are aware and constantly monitoring the Government restrictions on occupied space, specifically that there must be a density of no more than one person per four square metres of floor space. There is also a recommendation that individual attendances should be limited to two hours duration.

Social distancing and good hygiene practices include:

  • being able to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between people;
  • providing hand hygiene products and suitable rubbish bins, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal.

This might mean changing our seating and capacity by alternating or staggering seating arrangements or using other alternatives. Modified seating arrangements do not apply to family or household groups who may continue to sit together.

If we are unable to meet the safety considerations for indoor gatherings, we will (when possible) move our meetings outdoors. We are also exploring other options for the continuation of our church fellowship, including limited small groups, Bible studies and online streaming.

Outdoor gatherings

The Department of Health has stated that outdoor gatherings with less than 500 attendees can proceed, however we will still follow these precautions:

  • remain considerate of the size of the outdoor space, the number of people in it, and how much room people have to move around safely, keeping 1.5 metres apart;
  • making hand hygiene products and suitable rubbish bins readily available;
  • conducting frequent cleaning and waste disposal.

These limits help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are especially important for vulnerable people, such as those over 60 and those with chronic disease.

Our advice

We will be responsible members of our community by taking part in the National response to COVID-19. You can also play your part, and below are some things you can do:

  • stay informed through the Department of Health’s COVID-19 health alert, which is updated every day;
  • keep in touch with friends, family and church members to make sure they’re well;
  • take steps to protect yourself and others, such as practicing good hygiene and quarantining yourself if you’re sick.

Watch this space for regular updates.

We are also considering some alternative strategies including non-contact options for the church as we move forward.

We are facing this pandemic with our focus on faith and hope in Jesus and being a light and helping hand to the community. We do not confront this issue with a sense of fear or hopelessness.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Tim 1:7

God bless you!

Pastor Paul