COVID-19 Implications for the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne
Information Updated: Tuesday 4 August 5.00pm
As of 11.59pm 2 August 2020, everyone in Victoria aged 12 years and over must wear a face covering when they leave home. This directive will apply to all areas of the Archdiocese for Masses and liturgies whether streamed or in person. If essential work is being undertaken in offices, masks must also be worn.
- All places of worship including churches, adoration chapels and other church buildings used for public prayer and religious services. are to be closed.
- WEDDINGS: No weddings are permitted unless an application is made to the DHHS for an exemption on compassionate grounds. If compassionate reasons permit a marriage ceremony to proceed, then only 5 people are allowed, comprising of the couple, the two witnesses and the celebrant.
- FUNERALS: will be limited to 10 mourners plus the minimum number required to conduct the funeral.
- BAPTISMS: are to be postponed, unless there is an and grave pastoral need. (Can. 857; 860).
- LIVESTREAMING: a limit of 5 in total may be present, including the celebrant.
- VISITATIONS: home visitations are not permitted unless for grave reasons. Only Clergy (Priests and Deacons) may visit. All hygiene precautions must be adhered including the wearing of face coverings. Holy Communion is not to be given to anyone in their homes or care facilities, including the sick and homebound, except as Viaticum for the dying, which may be administered only by Priests and Deacons, and complying with all hygiene precautions and the protocols of the relevant hospitals or aged-care facilities (washing hands, etc.) as appropriate.
Any parish employee or volunteer who needs to attend parish facilities to perform an essential task (something which cannot be undertaken at home) or permitted service (e.g. live streaming of Mass) must have a Permitted Worker Permit.
Parish priests and parish administrators are required to carry Permitted Worker Permit with them when undertaking permitted work away from their residence.
Cleaning services at parishes
The Victorian Government has outlined that any ancillary business is permitted where it is necessary to provide a service on a permitted worksite, or ensure safety obligations on a closed worksite. As parishes may continue to host funeral services and conduct Mass for broadcasting purposes, it is reasonable that these areas will need to be cleaned to ensure health and safety obligations are met. This however, is only the case in parishes that are livestreaming Mass and funerals take place.
Gardening and maintenance services
Gardening and grounds maintenance will only be permitted where it prevents or addresses some hazard (e.g. removing a fallen branch form a footpath) to employees or the general public.
Domestic services, gardening and maintenance at presbyteries
Further to what is noted above, it may be reasonable to continue providing cleaning and shopping services at presbyteries where necessary for the care and support of vulnerable and ageing priests. The Victorian Government allows community based services which are required to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of vulnerable people. This does not include ironing and gardening services (unless there is some hazard) to be permitted under Stage 4 restrictions.