Hundreds of people will be able to attend the ordination of four priests at Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral on Saturday, after New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard granted a COVID-19 exemption. Source: The Daily Telegraph.
The move came after NSW Health was accused of “double standards” for granting Auburn Gallipoli Mosque a special exemption to allow 400 worshippers to attend Friday Eid al-Adha prayers six weeks ago while twice rejecting requests from St Mary’s Cathedral to relax the 100-person cap.
In an email earlier this month, NSW Health claimed that “a specific exemption for St Mary’s would create a precedent that could lead to widespread relaxation of the gathering rule”.
NSW Health said the exemptions were only considered under “exceptional circumstances” and the mosque had developed a comprehensive COVID-19 safety plan.
Previous applications from the mosque, similar to one of the requests made by St Mary’s Cathedral, had also been rejected, according to NSW Health.
A NSW Health spokesperson said a temporary exemption had been granted “in light of the importance of the priests’ ordination”.
The spokesperson said the cathedral had a COVID safety plan that addresses social distancing, cleaning and record keeping.
Strict rules will be enforced throughout the three-hour service, with the cathedral ensuring the one person per four square metre rule is complied with a maximum number of 300 attendees, who must sign in and socially distance.
A spokesperson for the Sydney Archdiocese said all attendees would be required to wear a face mask, including clergy.
St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney, to host 300 at priest ordination (By Adella Beaini, The Daily Telegraph)
NSW Health grants Auburn Gallipoli Mosque special COVID exemptions (The Daily Telegraph)