On Monday night the NSW government introduced new rules about people gathering and a partial ban on leaving our homes. Both measures have been introduced to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.
This note is a brief summary of the new rules and what they mean for The Lakes Church. If you’d like to see a detailed analysis of the rules, please contact Allan Asher (his details are in the church directory).
From today most indoor and outdoor non-essential gatherings are to be limited to two people. This is in addition to the announcement made last week that church services were determined to be non-essential. Members of the public are not permitted to come to our ministry centre and from tonight no gatherings of more than two (excepting members of the same family) are permitted in a public place. The restriction does not apply to our homes (they are not public places) but the measures restricting travel mean no meetings of Growth Groups at the ministry centre or in homes, so we will be meeting online only.
The policy is that, except for essential gatherings (explained below), everyone should stay at home, unless:
- going to work or education (if you are unable to do so at home)
- shopping for essential supplies such as groceries, after which you need to return home without delay
- going out for personal exercise in your neighbourhood, on your own or with one other
- attending medical appointments or compassionate visits
Essential gatherings for which leaving your home is OK are:
- workplaces which includes the ministry centre where the Sunday service live-stream is produced (these are regarded as essential because this function can not be performed from home – worship services and places of worship are closed to members of the public but not to staff and volunteers working on church business)
- health care settings
- food shopping
- schools and universities (where you cannot study from home)
- public transport and airports
These essential gatherings must apply social distancing and good hygiene practices, including:
- maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres between people
- providing hand hygiene products and suitable rubbish bins, with frequent cleaning and waste disposal
The intentions of the policy restricting gatherings is a good one and we are following both the rules and their intent. Those on our team working at the office and those producing the live-stream Sunday service will keep social distancing and hygiene practices and work with the minimum necessary numbers of workers.
People not engaged in the work of the church (that is, members of the public or church members who do not have a specific job to do) are not permitted into the ministry centre.
We want our staff and volunteers working on essential activities to be safe and feel safe with the measures we have adopted. We’re urging anyone working at the ministry centre who is concerned about their personal welfare to let a staff member know so that other measures which may eliminate or reduce any risk to safety or wellbeing can be put into place immediately. In addition, we encourage our staff and volunteers to feel free to leave the site at any time.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Allan Asher, our go-to man for all things coronavirus (his details are in the church directory).