It’s WA in the lead, and Victoria half a head of SA … the race to reopen churches and other gatherings is on.
Phase Three (or Step Three) of the Australian road map for lifting restrictions allows larger groups to gather but the states will get there at different times. The 4 square metre rule still applies everywhere except WA which has moved to a 2 square metre rule.
So, we list the states and territories in order of reaching Phase Three:
NT: Gatherings up to 500 can take place subject to 1.5 metre social distancing rules and a COVID safety plan. The NT reached stage three on June 5.
WA is well ahead of the other states: Phase 3 was reached on June 6. The 4 square metre rule has been revised to 2 square metres per person for all WA venues.
- Non-work indoor and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people per single undivided space – and up to 300 people in total per venue, across multiple spaces (100/300 rule).
- Weddings and funerals can have up to 100 people.
- For churches meeting in community facilities: Each facility may increase capacity to 100 patrons in each room, up to 300 per venue.
Queensland allows churches to go to 100: Places of worship can opt into a “COVID Safe Plan for Places of Worship” that allows 100 people to gather. Tight restrictions for those who do not sign up.
SA goes to Stage Two and a Half: From 19 June, density requirements will remain in place but more people may gather.
- A maximum of 300 people may gather at one venue.
- Any separate room or area may have a maximum of 75 people (subject to the one person per 4 square metre rule).
- Physical distancing measures should still be followed. Aim to keep 1.5 metres away from other members of the public.
ACT goes to “Stage 2.2”: From 12 noon Friday, 19 June, places of worship and religious ceremonies can have up to 100 people (including church leaders and others involved in the services or ceremonies), or one person per 4 square metres, whichever is lesser.
Choirs or musicians can perform if they can be included in the 100-person limit.
Wedding ceremonies can now have up to 100 people (excluding those conducting the service or assisting in the conduct of the wedding), or one person per 4 square metres, whichever is lower.
Victoria opens up a bit: From 11:59pm on 21 June, private worship or small religious ceremonies can include up to 50 people plus people reasonably required for the ceremony.
Group size limited to 20.
Tasmania will base limits on venue size: From June 26, restrictions on size of indoor gatherings to be determined by density limits (the 4 square metre rule) rather than headcount.
Outdoor gatherings limits will increase to 500.
NSW will base limits on venue size: From July 1, the number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the one person per 4 square metre rule, with no upper limit. This includes function centres. All activity must be seated only. Places of worship can register as a COVID-Safe business.