Building use under Level 2

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We have now entered the most dangerous stage of the pandemic. We think we are safe. We dodged the bullet. Life can go back to normal. Even the government says so as we move into Level 2. No need to stockpile enough loo paper to get us through 2025. Raising the number who can gather to 100 has only strengthened this illusion.

But read the fine print. We still need to maintain physical distance. Wash our hands. Keep a diary of where we have been for contact tracing purposes. It is recommended we wear a mask when using public transportation or in any public situation where maintaining physical distance is challenging. Businesses, including churches, have to log via the contact tracing app or on paper forms those who have accessed their facility. Provide hand sanitiser. Businesses need to do deep cleaning whenever facility is used.

I am beginning to get inquiries about when we will open the church again for worshipping in person. Small church groups and renters are asking if they can now meet in the church.

I’m afraid at this time the answer is no, for we do not have the capacity or resources to comply fully with the fine print.

Worship services in the church would be greatly reduced in numbers due to physical distance requirements. We might have to ask you to book that you will be attending the service in advance. Unlike a restaurant or other businesses, we do not have a staff to monitor building use or assure compliance with present requirements.

Due to a significant loss of income the Management Committee has approved a bare bones budget for this year. The cost of cleaning the church after each building use is greater than the income generated through rent. We have a duty of care to maintain a building that is appropriately clean. Even if this was not a government expectation, it is an ethical and moral one. Expecting those using the building will meet these requirements in a consistent manner is unrealistic.

When the government issues notice of going to Level 1 and what will be required, this decision will be reviewed in terms of our ability to comply.