Information updated 27 September 2021

The following Guidelines are approved by Most Rev Peter A Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, to assist Clergy and Faithful with questions pertaining to specific areas of liturgy and ministry in the Archdiocese of Melbourne during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The restrictions in place are compulsory as issued under lawful direction of the Chief Health Officer of Victoria, where a State of Emergency remains in place until 16 December 2021.

As of 11:59pm Friday 17 September 2021, the following measures will be applied across Regional Victoria and Metropolitan Melbourne. These will be in place until otherwise advised.

Regional Victoria comprises those areas outside the 31 designated local government areas (LGAs) of Metropolitan Melbourne as follows: Banyule, Hume, Moreland, Bayside, Kingston, Mornington Peninsula, Boroondara, Knox, Nillumbik, Brimbank, Manningham, Port Phillip, Cardinia, Maribyrnong, Stonnington, Casey, Maroondah, Whitehorse, Darebin, Melbourne, Whittlesea, Frankston, Melton, Wyndham, Glen Eira, Monash, Yarra, Greater Dandenong, Moonee Valley, Yarra Ranges and Hobsons Bay. Check your region here

ADDITIONAL: As of 11.59pm Sunday 26 September 2021 Geelong and Surf Coast areas moved out of lockdown with restrictions now consistent with Regional Victoria. Mitchell Shire remains in line with restrictions for Metropolitan Melbourne until further advised.

Regional Victoria (including Surf Coast and Geelong)

Curfew

  • No curfew.

Face coverings

  • Must be carried at all times.
  • Must be worn indoors and outdoors by Victorians aged 12 years or over except if at home, or if an exception applies.
  • Recommend primary school aged children wear face coverings indoors and outdoors except at home or if an exception applies.
  • Exception for food and drink limited so that face coverings can only be removed to eat and to drink non-alcoholic beverages (in reference to hotels and bars)

Religious Gatherings and Ceremonies

  • Permitted with up to 20 persons per venue (plus those workers necessary to conduct the ceremony)

Funerals

  • Indoors and Outdoors: Permitted with no more than 20 mourners (and those necessary to conduct the funeral). Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Weddings

  • Indoors and Outdoors: Permitted with no more than 10 people (and those necessary to conduct the wedding). Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap.

Leaving Home

  • No Stay-at-Home requirement.
  • Removal of 5km travel limit.
  • Movement between Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria restricted to specified purposes:
    • Necessary goods and services (provided the facility is the closest to the place of residence).
    • Care or compassionate reasons.
    • Authorised work/education Other specified reasons/moving home.

Permits will be required if entering Metropolitan Melbourne for work purposes.

Private Gatherings in the Home

  • Private gatherings are not permitted except for partner and single person bubbles.

Public Gatherings (park, beach etc.)

  • Permitted for up to 10 people

Care Facility Visitors

  • For permitted purposes only. (Refer Govt Guidelines)

Schools

  • Open for Prep to Grade 2 and Year 12 only

Hospital Visitors

  • For permitted purposes only. (refer Govt Guidelines)

Work

  • If you can work from home, you should work from home. Office work permitted up to 25 per cent return or up to a limit of 10 people if the workplace is 40 or less, whichever is greater. Density quotient of 1person per 4sqm rule applies.

QR Contact tracing

  • All venues attendees must register.

Metropolitan Melbourne

Curfew

  • As of 11:59pm Monday 16 August, a Curfew will be in place from 9pm to 5am, whereby a person is not permitted to leave their home except for limited reasons.

Face coverings

  • Must be carried at all times.
  • Must be worn indoors and outdoors by Victorians aged 12 years or over except if at home, or if an exception applies.
  • Recommend primary school aged children wear face coverings indoors and outdoors except at home or if an exception applies.
  • Exception for food and drink limited so that face coverings can only be removed to eat and to drink non-alcoholic beverages (in reference to hotels and bars)

Religious Gatherings and Ceremonies

  • No in-person gatherings permitted. Broadcast permitted for up to 5 people. The members of this cohort may be changed, but the cap remains at 5.

Funerals

  • Indoors and Outdoors: Permitted with no more than 10 people (and those necessary to conduct the funeral).
  • Children under 12 months old are not counted towards this cap. Refer to email sent to Parishes and Clergy 18 August 2021 confirming the allowance of 10 mourners only. Pall Bearers must either be part of the 10 permitted mourners or be provided by the Funeral Service provider.
  • No catering - service of food or drink, may be held afterwards on church property.

Weddings

  • Indoors and Outdoors: Not permitted unless end-of-life or for deportation reasons. Involves only 5 persons (including the two persons being married, celebrant, two witnesses).

Leaving Home

  • There will be 5 reasons to leave home (NOTE CURFEW INFORMATION ABOVE). Travel limit of 10km from place of primary residence.
    • Shopping for necessary goods and services (one person per household, once per day, a support person can accompany if required; within 10km);
    • Caregiving or compassionate reasons;
    • Authorised work or permitted education, or work interstate (if you can work from home, you must work from home);
    • Socialise or exercise (up to four hours, with one other person plus dependents if they cannot be left unsupervised; within 10km). Up to five people may gather from two households and may socialise or exercise if everyone over the age of 18 has had two vaccination doses.
    • Receive a vaccination

Other specified reasons (specific exemptions refer DHHS website).

Private Gatherings in the Home

  • Private gatherings are not permitted except for partner and single person bubbles.

Public Gatherings (park, beach etc.)

  • Permitted for personal training for up to two people plus the trainer.
  • Public gathering for social interaction for up to two people from separate households.
  • Public gathering of up to five people from two households if all persons aged over 18 years have received two vaccine doses.

Care Facility Visitors

  • For permitted purposes only. (Refer Govt Guidelines).

Schools

  • Remote learning.

Hospital Visitors

  • For permitted purposes only. (refer Govt Guidelines).

Work

  • If you can work from home, you must work from home. Authorised workers are permitted to travel to and from work even when curfew is in place. A permit is required when leaving the home for authorised work or permitted higher education.

Under no circumstances should anyone awaiting a COVID-19 test verification, including Clergy (even without presenting symptoms) attend a church or parish setting until a diagnosis is confirmed. Additionally, under no circumstances should anyone attend who is closely connected to people who are awaiting test results or who have tested positive.

VICTORIA

We welcome the opening up of our places of worship and opportunities for gathering but remain mindful and respectful that many in our community remain feeling cautious and anxious, and that density quotients will prevent our full communities gathering as they would wish.

For the time being, all Catholics in Melbourne continue to be dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further directed by the Archbishop. We continue to carry the happy obligation to keep Sunday holy, whether we can attend Mass or not, and can do so by any kind of prayer with members of our household and parish, reading holy scripture, and encouraging one another in our faith. Prayerfully watching an online Mass continues to be a great source of comfort on Sundays.

Vatican COVID-19 Commission

In 2020, Pope Francis asked the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD) to create a Commission, in collaboration with other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and other organisations, to express the Church’s solicitude and care for the whole human family facing the COVID-19 pandemic. In announcing the commission, the Pope said:

'I am thinking of what comes after; of the future and of the social and economic consequences. The future has a memory. I ask you to prepare the future in two ways; with science and imagination to rise above the challenge in front of us.'

Drawing on a wealth of expertise from local communities, global platforms, and academic experts, the Commission seeks bold, broad changes: dignity in work, new structures for the common good, solidarity at the heart of governance, and nature in harmony with social systems. The goal is not only to alleviate immediate suffering, but also to usher forth the transformation of hearts, minds, and structures toward a new model of development that prepares a better future for all.