Weddings, funerals and worship

Current restrictions in force as part of Step 3.1 of Canberra’s Recovery Plan are outlined in the page below.

A minor change to capacity numbers for smaller sized venues, facilities and businesses is scheduled to come into effect at 9am Friday 18 September, pending a successful COVID Safe Check point on Thursday 17 September. To find out more check the Summary of key changes page.

Hints on how to prepare your business, venue or facility for this change is available in our How to manage patron numbers under 25 person rule fact sheet..

What can I do?

From 9am on Friday 18 September 2020:

Places of Worship

  • Places of worship and religious ceremonies can have a maximum of 25 people (excluding staff and those conducting the service) across the whole venue.
  • Venues that want to have more than 25 people must apply the ‘one person per 4 square metres of usable space’ rule.  The maximum number of patrons permitted is 100.
  • A COVID Safety Plan must be in place otherwise the maximum number of people permitted is 20.
  • 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.

Weddings

  • All wedding ceremonies can have a maximum of 25 people (excluding staff and those conducting the service) across the whole venue.
  • For wedding ceremonies with more than 25 people, the one person per 4 square metres of usable space applies, up to a maximum of 100 people (excluding staff or those assisting with the conduct of the wedding).
  • Usable space for an indoor or outdoor space means the space that people can freely move around in, taking out divisions such as stages and similar areas, restrooms, changerooms and similar areas, staff only areas, areas occupied by fixtures, fittings and displays and areas that are closed off or not being used.
  • Wedding parties and their guests are permitted to dance at their private celebratory function.
  • Wedding celebrations should be held in accordance with rules for the hospitality sector.

Funerals

  • All funerals can have a maximum of 25 people (excluding staff and those conducting the service) across the whole venue.
  • For funerals with more than 25 people, the one person per 4 square metres of usable space applies, up to a maximum of 100 people (excluding staff or those assisting with the conduct of the funeral).

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 will need to remain at a maximum of 20 people with one person per 4 square metres.
  • Due to recent learnings from other jurisdictions, congregational singing and choirs are discouraged, or should be minimised where possible.

What are my responsibilities?

Places of Worship

  • Places of worship must have a COVID Safety Plan if gatherings are greater than 20.
  • Venues must clearly display occupancy allowance at the entrance to the venue.
  • Carefully manage the entry, exit and flow of people through the premises.
  • First name and contact number of attendees should be sought voluntarily in a visitors book, including details of the date and time at which the person attended.
  • 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.

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.

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: September 18 2020