Where you can sing at church in Australia - and where you can't

Singing will return to churches across New South Wales from midnight Friday, following the state’s 38-day run of no community transmission of COVID-19.

Announced today by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian among easing of other restrictions, the return to congregational singing still has limitations. Those wishing to sing at church must wear a mask and the place of worship needs to adhere to the 4-square metre rule.

Last week, some NSW church leaders and parishioners signed an online petition to bring singing back because the ban placed upon it “seems inconsistent with other industries, and disproportionate to the risk posed … given the lack of COVID transmissions in NSW.”

In case you are confused about where you can or cannot sing at churches across Australia, Eternity provides a quick stocktake of singing during a service in every state and territory.

Victoria

“Yes, singing or chanting can occur as part of a religious ceremony, wedding or funeral,” says Victoria’s COVID site. “A face mask must be worn unless there is a lawful reason not to.”

Suggestions for public singing include singing outside or in a well-ventilated room (with windows open), physical distancing of at least two metres, short performances (of less than an hour), and “singing softly”.

Queensland

Singing has been permitted in Queensland churches since October, and must be done with “the same physical distancing requirements … based on your venue size”.

South Australia

While not banning singing at a place of worship, South Australian COVID advice is to “avoid singing together as a congregation” as there is a higher risk of coronavirus transmission due to increased droplet spread.

“Consider designating one person, or a very small group of people who can maintain physical distancing, to sing at gatherings.”

Western Australia

No specific guidelines about singing at places of worship.

Northern Territory

No specific guidelines about singing at places of worship.

Tasmania

While the Tasmanian COVID-19 safety plans do not specifically mention choirs or singing in groups, they provide guidance on ensuring proper hygiene, physical distancing and cleaning during activities in places of worship.

ACT

Like South Australia, advice for places of worship is “congregational singing is discouraged. However, if congregations wish to allow singing they need to include this in their COVID Safety Plan and ensure members maintain a minimum of 1.5 metres from each other while singing.”

“Additional cleaning should be undertaken of areas or equipment in range of singers/performers.”

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