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).

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