THE Church has welcomed a major easing of COVID-19 restrictions for gatherings in Queensland, and will put together an industrial plan hoping permission will be granted for even larger numbers of faithful to return to enter places of worship.
The Queensland Government has agreed that gatherings in churches can increase from 10 to 20 from Friday, June 5, with people needing to sign in and follow distancing and health guidelines.
Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge said he was delighted with the easing of restrictions and would push forward with a plan to allow church gatherings of 50 people, while acknowledging it would require “a lot of hard work” and commitment to adhere to strict protocols.
“We’ve got COVID safe plans all over the place and we’re going to make sure we stick to them,” Archbishop Coleridge said.
“We’re trying to look at the possibility of putting together an industrial plan – I’ve never thought of the Church as an industry, but apparently we need an industrial plan if we want 50.
“Now we are certainly going to look at that for bigger places like the cathedral.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state was able to move forward with a planned Stage Two ahead of the original June 12 date because “Queenslanders have listened to the advice, acted on that advice and done an outstanding job of helping to smash the COVID-19 curve”.
Alongside the easing of restrictions for churches, people will have greater access to both food and beverage service.
From today, June 2, restaurants, cafes and pubs that continue to operate under a COVID safe checklist , will be permitted to increase the total number of patrons from 10 to 20, Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said.
“And from Friday this week, with a COVID safe industry plan, venues with more space will be able to go further and allow up to 20 people in each separate area, seated for meals or drinks,” Mr Miles said.
“For example, some surf clubs, pubs and RSLs may have four or five defined separate indoor and outdoor areas – they can have 20 people in each of these areas if the areas are big enough.
“The same restrictions will apply to gyms and other health clubs, parks, museums and art galleries, in churches and places of worship and other public facilities such as libraries.
“In relation to community sporting events where clubs have more than one field, limits of 20 spectators per field will apply.
“The Government will work with bodies still subject to restrictions around preparing COVID Safe Industry Plans.”