New Covid-19 guidelines for SA churches

The Provincial COVID Advisory Team has drawn up, and Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has endorsed, new guidelines for congregations as a consequence of the stricter Level 3 lockdown announced by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on December 28, 2020. The guidelines follow:

  1. The President of the Republic of South Africa announced that with effect from midnight on the 28th of December 2020, SA would revert to Level 3 restrictions.
  2. In addition, the President also announced further hotspot areas affecting Western Cape, the Garden Route, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
  3. With immediate effect all social gatherings, including faith-based gatherings, are prohibited until the 15th of January 2021. The situation will be reviewed then.
  4. A new curfew from 21:00 until 06:00 was imposed.
  5. The wearing of face masks is compulsory. Failure to do so constitutes an offence punishable by law.
  1. Implications for church and worship:
  1. ALL places of worship are closed with immediate effect.
  2. Places of worship may only be opened for purpose of conducting a funeral.
  3. The prohibition on gatherings, both social and faith-based, means we are not able to worship, conduct weddings, baptisms, confirmations or ordinations until further notice but at least for the next two weeks. The Advisory Team is working on other implications for ministry and will update these.
  4. Funerals must be held in full compliance of all health protocols.
  5. A designated compliance officer must be appointed in writing.
  6. Attendance at funerals is restricted to 50 if the venue can accommodate 50, while maintaining a social distance of 1.5 m between all attendees.
  7. Smaller venues are restricted to 50% of capacity of the venue.
  8. These numbers to include ministers and altar parties.
  9. Masks must be worn at all times.
  10. No singing is permitted, although a soloist may perform, observing social distance and health protocols.
  11. Recorded music may be played.
  12. Funerals to be completed within two hours – one hour for the actual service and the next hour for the committal or cremation service.
  13. No night vigils or prayer meetings are allowed.
  14. When going to sympathize with or express condolences to the family, please keep visits short, observe social distance, sanitize and wear a mask. These are hard asks of us all, but are needed to save lives.
  15. No social gatherings to be held in our homes too.
  16. No after-tears gatherings, including lunch or tea etc.
  17. In order to reduce pressure on mortuaries, every effort to be made to conduct funerals within five days.

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