NSW faith leaders plead for easing of restrictions

A socially-distanced Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in July (Sydney Archdiocese/Facebook-Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP)

The leaders of major faith groups in New South Wales have come together to ask the state Government to ease restrictions on religious ceremonies. Source: Daily Telegraph.

Leaders of faiths representing 90 per cent of the state’s religious believers have commissioned a report from biosecurity and risk management expert David Heslop to argue treating places of worship differently to hospitality venues or concert halls is “not logical”.

In a letter sent to chief health officer Kerry Chant and government ministers last week, leaders including Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP called for rules to be relaxed so more people can worship together.

Faith leaders want capacity for places of worship increased to allow one person per two square metres indoors, similar to rules coming into effect today for small hospitality venues.

Currently, religious services inside are bound by the 4 sqm rule — with up to a maximum of 300 people. Outdoor services can cater for 500 people (under the 2 sqm rule if parishioners are assigned a seat).

Religious leaders commissioned Dr Heslop to assess the risk of easing restrictions on places of worship, following the associate professor’s work in getting the NRL back up and running in a COVID-safe way.

FULL STORY

Faith groups unite in plea for COVID relaxations on religious ceremonies (By James O’Doherty & Danielle Gusmaroli, Daily Telegraph)

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