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Religion and ceremony

Find information about how COVIDSafe Settings affect religion and ceremony, including weddings and funerals, in Victoria.

Summary

From 11:59pm on Friday 9 April 2021, Victoria has further relaxed its COVIDSafe settings. These changes are designed to balance getting Victorians back to doing the things they love while keeping in place measures to protect all that Victorians have worked so hard for.

  • Religious gatherings, wedding and funerals can be held indoors or outdoors. There are no group limits and ceremonies can occur at the same time.
  • All venues must apply the two square metre rule and use electronic record keeping through the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital system (venues will have a 28-day compliance amnesty in place to 23 April 2021).
  • It is recommended you wear a face mask when at a gathering or when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people.
  • If you are planning to leave your home – take a face mask. 
  • For weddings, funerals and religious gatherings, if a service is conducted in a private home, the private gathering limit applies (100 visitors). You should not attend a wedding, funeral or religious gathering if you are feeling unwell. Stay home and get tested.

Before you leave home:

  • if you feel unwell and have any symptoms of COVID-19 stay home, seek medical advice and get tested. Stay home while you wait for your test result 
  • you must carry a face mask at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful exemption. 

When you are out of the home:

  • check in when you arrive at a venue or place of worship
  • do not share food, drink or other items
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  • cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow
  • keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and others that you do not live with
  • wash your hands when you get home.

Can I serve food and drink for Iftar and Eid celebrations? 

Yes, you can provide a buffet-style food service, but some extra precautions are recommended when food is served outside a restaurant setting: 

  • keep records of the people attending the venue 
  • make sure there is only one person per two square metres (for most venues) 
  • discourage crowding where people collect food and drink 
  • encourage COVIDSafe queuing. 

There must be no sharing of food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment. 

How can I perform prayers during Ramadan and Eid? 

When you and your family gather for religious practices including Maghrib prayers, Tarawih and Eid prayers, remember to follow these principles: 

  • do not attend if you are unwell 
  • wear a face mask if physical distancing of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained  
  • wash or hand sanitise your hands regularly 
  • use separate entry and exit points for entering and exiting the mosque 
  • do not share food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment during the performance of prayers 
  • bring your own Qur’an, tasbih and prayer mat to prayer 
  • encourage families and household members to sit together as much as possible 
  • imams should ensure that headsets or microphones are cleaned between prayers. 

Consider organising prayers in an outdoor location, where possible. If prayers are indoors, maximise ventilation by opening windows and doors. 

  • The performance of Itikaf in a mosque is not recommended at this time – Itikaf and Suhr should occur at home this year. 

Are there any restrictions for funerals and wakes?

  • The venue you hold a funeral in must apply the two square metre rule. The square metre rule doesn’t include the people required to conduct the funeral.
  • A funeral held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to 100 visitors. The people required to conduct the ceremony are not included in this limit as they are attending for the purposes of work.
  • You can have speeches, singing and chanting at a funeral.
  • You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 
  • You should not attend a funeral if you are feeling unwell.
  • All venues must use electronic record keeping through the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital system (venues will have a 28-day compliance amnesty in place to April 23).

Are there any restrictions on weddings?

  • The venue you hold a wedding at must apply the two square metre rule. This means the limit on the number of people who can attend a wedding is determined by the size of the venue. The square metre rule includes the couple, the celebrant, but not the photographer or other workers such as catering staff.
  • A wedding held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household and up to 100 visitors. The people required to conduct the ceremony are not included in this limit, as they are attending for the purposes of work. For weddings this is just the celebrant and the photographer.
  • All venues must use electronic record keeping through the Service Victoria app or a government API-linked digital system (venues will have a 28-day compliance amnesty, until April 23 2021).
  • Dancing is allowed at a wedding, with no dance floor caps but the two square metre rule applies depending on the venue type. 
  • You can have speeches, singing and chanting at a wedding.
  • You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 

Can I get married or host a wedding at my home?

You can get married at your house however the number of people attending is limited to the members of the household and up to 100 visitors, not including the celebrant and photographer. Babies under 12 months are not included in the cap.

  • These limits also apply if you hold your wedding in your backyard or outdoor area of your house. 

Are places of worship open?

Yes, all places of worship of all denominations are able to open. 

  • Religious gatherings can be held indoors or outdoors. Venues must apply the two square metre rule.
  • All venues must use electronic record keeping through the Service Victoria app or a government API-linked digital system (venues will have a 28-day compliance amnesty, until April 23 2021).
  • While attending a religious gathering there are steps you need to take to keep yourself and others safe including not sharing food, drink or other items. 
  • A venue can have indoor or outdoor religious gatherings at the same time. Ceremonial participants other than faith leaders are included in the two square metre rule.
  • You must carry a face mask with you at all times when you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason not to. 
  • It is recommended to wear a face mask when you cannot maintain 1.5 metres distance from other people. 
  • Places of worship can open to conduct weddings and funerals.
  • Places of worship are open for private worship, for example individual prayer.

If you are a faith leader or conduct ceremonies, see the industry restart guidelines.

Where can I hold an outdoor religious gathering?  

Places of worship may hold religious ceremonies outdoors that is proximate to the place of worship.

Can I sing at a place of worship?

Yes, singing or chanting can occur as part of a religious ceremony, wedding or funeral.

Group singing is safest when the following measures are applied:

  • singing outside or in a well-ventilated room (with windows open)
  • physical distancing of at least two metres between each person while singing
  • short performances (of less than an hour)
  • wearing a face mask when singing indoors
  • singing softly.

These measures are recommended to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Fans, free standing or ceiling, are not recommended for use in enclosed indoor spaces for singing. Performers should be five metres from the audience where practical.

Can food and drinks be served as part of, or after, a religious gathering?

Food or drink can be served as part of a religious gathering or after a religious gathering, however no food, drink, crockery, utensils, vessels or other equipment is permitted to be shared by participants. It is recommended that single use items are used to serve food or drink. It is recommended that one person serves or distributes food or drinks. For example, one person uses the urn for hot water for tea.

Can I attend a prayer group at a place of worship?

Yes, you can attend a prayer group at a place of worship. The following restrictions apply:

  • Religious gatherings can be held indoors or outdoors. Venues must apply the two square metre rule to ensure people have enough room to maintain 1.5 metres distance between them. There are no group limits.
  • All venues must use electronic record keeping through the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital system (venues will have a 28-day compliance amnesty in place to April 23).
  • Faith leaders can visit homes to provide religious guidance, to perform rituals or for care and compassionate reasons.
  • Religious gatherings and prayer groups held at a private residence are subject to the private gathering limit. This means the household itself plus up to 100 visitors per day (excluding any babies under 12 months old, and intimate partners of the household members).

If you are a faith leader or conduct ceremonies, see the industry restart guidelines.

Do I need to keep records?

All venues must use electronic record keeping through the free Victorian Government QR Code Service or Victorian Government Application Programming Interface (API) linked digital system (venues will have a 28-day compliance amnesty in place to April 23).

See 'Record keeping requirements' on the Business and industry page.

If you are a faith leader or conduct ceremonies, see the industry restart guidelines.

Reviewed 12 April 2021

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