At the Orange traffic light setting, we can continue to do everyday activities, but we need to protect vulnerable communities from COVID-19 and other illnesses such as influenza.
COVID-19 information for specific audiences
COVID-19 Guidance for Places of Worship
The COVID-19 Protection Framework – Guidelines for places of worship outlines guidance to support places of worship to operate safely. Additional ideas and resources are given here to assist places of worship to help reduce transmission of illness while protecting vulnerable attendees at meetings and gatherings.
Vulnerable attendees include people aged 70 years plus, pregnant women, and those who have a health condition like diabetes or cancer. Further information about people who are considered at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can be found here.
Checklist for meetings and gatherings
- Remind people to stay home if they are unwell and take a rapid antigen test (RAT) if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
- Encourage vaccination to protect against COVID-19 and other illnesses, such as influenza.
- Encourage people to check with their GP if they are up to date with the vaccines they require.
- COVID-19 vaccine is free and available to anyone aged 5 years and over. Further information about vaccination is here.
- Continue to offer on-line meetings and gatherings so people have the option to stay at home.
- Encourage mask wearing when indoors.
- Face masks are not required for attendees but encourage them, especially for when people are moving about.
- Masks are required for workers at indoor events and gatherings, including volunteers.
- Keep a supply of masks at entry points.
- Performers and speakers can remove a mask if they are 2m from the audience/attendees.
- Keep physical distancing as much as possible (at least one metre). Space chairs apart and consider having smaller but more frequent meetings.
- Ventilate indoor spaces with open windows and doors (as appropriate) and air filtration systems.
- Make sure you have ways to contact people so if there are multiple cases at your venue or gathering you can ask others to watch for symptoms.
- Keep membership rolls up to date.
- Encourage your community to follow your social media.
- Remind people to let someone in charge know if they test positive for COVID-19 so that attendees can be advised to watch for symptoms.
- Ensure soap, paper towels and hand sanitiser are readily available, and that people wash hands before preparing food or eating.
- Hand sanitiser is a good option if soap and water aren’t available
- Free hand hygiene stickers can be ordered here and displayed in bathrooms and kitchens.
What to do if someone in your community has COVID-19 symptoms
If someone on in your community feels unwell and has one or more symptoms of COVID-19, it is important they get a COVID-19 test and stay at home.
For advice for people about symptoms and what to do see here.
What to do if someone with COVID-19 visits your place of worship
Attendees at your place of worship are considered close contacts and do not need to test or isolate. For more information on close contacts see here.
Encourage the person with COVID-19 to tell the people they live with (household close contacts) and people they have spent time with while infectious (close contacts): Advice on how to tell people you have COVID-19.
Contact Toi Te Ora Public Health if you need public health advice or support if:
- there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community of faith that is spreading quickly (i.e. lots of people are becoming sick with COVID-19).
- you have a large number of people who have been exposed to COVID-19 at your place of worship and who could be seriously affected by the virus (e.g., they have other health conditions, are pregnant, or are aged 70 years plus).
How to reach us:
- By email: TTOCRG-Events@bopdhb.govt.nz
- By phone: 0800 221 555; Ph 027 336 9159