Weddings, funerals and worship

Step 3.2 of Canberra’s Recovery Plan came into effect at 9am Friday 9 October 2020. To find out more check the Business and Work page.

What can I do?

From 9am on Friday 9 October 2020:

Weddings and Funerals

  • The maximum number of people who may attend weddings and funerals is 200 people, excluding staff and anyone involved in the service (eg. celebrants, catering staff, photographers, etc).

Venue capacity:

Venues need to comply with the following density requirements:

  • one person per four square metres of usable space for each indoor space; and
  • one person per two square metres of usable space for each outdoor space.

Note: Businesses and venues must not exceed the capacity limit that applies under standard liquor or fire occupancy loading and regulatory conditions of the venue. Maximum capacity excludes staff.

  • Usable space is defined in the Public Health Direction as the space that people can freely move around in, but not including the following areas:
    • stages and similar areas,
    • restrooms, changerooms and similar areas,
    • areas occupied by fixtures, fittings, and displays, and
    • staff only areas and areas that are closed off or not being used.
  • Businesses, venues and facilities that are required to collect information for contact tracing are strongly encouraged to use an electronic method to collect information. The free Check In CBR app is available to fulfill this requirement.
  • Wedding parties and their guests are permitted to dance at their private celebratory function. Noting that dancing is a particularly high risk activity due to close and physical contact, the following suggestions are provided for wedding organisers:
    • Consider limiting close dancing to the wedding party only.
    • Consider asking the venue to provide an oversized dance floor to provide additional space for guests.
  • Wedding celebrations and wakes should be held in accordance with rules for the hospitality sector.

Places of worship

  • All venues can have 25 people (excluding staff) across the entire venue; OR
  • If venues want to have more than 25, and a COVID Safe Plan is in place, venues can use the sum of:
    • one person per four square metres of usable space for each indoor space (up to a maximum of 200 people); and
    • one person per two square metres of usable space for each outdoor space (up to a maximum of 200 people).

Notes on options above:

  • Businesses must not exceed the capacity limit that applies under standard liquor or fire occupancy loading and regulatory conditions of the venue.
  • Maximum capacity excludes staff.
  • No modifications can be made to venues.
  • Where no COVID Safety Plan is in place the maximum amount of people permitted in the venue is 25.
  • Usable space is defined in the Public Health Direction as the space that people can freely move around in, but not including the following areas:
    • stages and similar areas;
    • restrooms, changerooms and similar areas;
    • areas occupied by fixtures, fittings, and displays; and
    • staff only areas and areas that are closed off or not being used.
  • Businesses, venues and facilities that are required to collect information for contact tracing are strongly encouraged to use an electronic method to collect information. The free Check In CBR app is available to fulfill this requirement.

What can't I do?

  • A person who owns, controls or operates a non-essential business or undertaking under the Public Health Direction must not temporarily divide any usable indoor space or usable outdoor space for the purposes of calculating usable space.
  • If a COVID Safety Plan isn’t in place, gatherings within a place of worship should be limited to a maximum of 25 people.
  • Due to recent learnings from other jurisdictions, congregational singing and choirs are discouraged, or should be minimised where possible.

What are my responsibilities?

Weddings and funerals

  • Wedding and funeral organisers must have a COVID Safety Plan.
  • Venues must clearly display occupancy allowance at the entrance to the venue.
  • Wedding and funeral organisers must keep a record of the names and contact numbers of individuals attending. Details should be securely destroyed after 28 days. Consider using the Check In CBR app.

Places of worship

  • Places of worship must have a COVID Safety Plan if gatherings are greater than 25.
  • Venues must clearly display occupancy allowance at the entrance to the venue.
  • Carefully manage the entry, exit and flow of people through the premises.
  • While first name and contact number of attendees can be sought voluntarily in a visitors book, including details of the date and time at which the person attended, places of worship are encouraged to consider using an electronic method to collect information.  The free Check In CBR app is available to assist with this requirement.
  • Physical distancing of 1.5 metres between each group or household is required.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning for high touch areas and restroom facilities.
  • The use of collection plates and other shared equipment should be avoided during services.
  • Limit the use of books, if possible. If not, ensure they are cleaned between each use.
  • Church leaders and others involved in the service should be kept to a minimum and are to be physically distanced from the congregation.
  • If choirs are performing to congregations they are to remain at least 2 metres away from the congregation and those involved in the service.
  • Choir members are to be kept to an absolute minimum and are to maintain physical distancing of at least 2 metres from each other when singing.
  • Try to keep to a minimum number of musicians in each service, and they should remain physically distanced from the congregation or audience. There should also be 2 metres of distance between each band member.

What are the community responsibilities?

  • Avoid gathering in communal areas.
  • Maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres from other people where practical (other than when dancing).
  • Maintain personal hygiene, including regular hand washing.
  • Stay home if unwell.
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Download the Check In CBR app and sign into participating Canberra venues you visit.

What does the public need to know?

  • Continue to practise good hand and respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, stay home if you are unwell and get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Ensure you provide your first name and contact number to any businesses that are required to ask for contact tracing purposes. Download the Check In CBR app to use at participating venues across Canberra.
  • Be sensible when you have people over at your residence and have your own control measures in place. Know who is there and at what times, download the COVIDSafe app, join Flu Tracker and participate in important YourSay Community Panel engagements and health surveys that will help the ACT respond the best that it can.
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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: October 09 2020