Most religious services in Sydney will remain online-only for another two weeks as faith leaders grapple with the state’s public health orders regarding coronavirus that exclude unvaccinated people. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Churches, mosques and synagogues can now open and hold services under the New South Wales road map out of lockdown, but only those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are meant to attend. Once the 80 per cent Sydney target is reached – likely by October 18 or 25 – then anyone can attend places of worship regardless of their choice to have a vaccine.
The vexed issue of vaccination status stands as the main barrier for places of worship to reopen this weekend.
Churches, mosques and synagogues are run mostly by volunteers and faith leaders and are keen to avoid awkward encounters at the door where members and believers have to potentially be turned away.
A spokesman for the Sydney Archdiocese said Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has decided to wait because he believes “churches should be open to all”.
“He wanted to ensure that everyone can attend Mass in person,” the spokesman said. “He didn’t want to discriminate against anyone based on whether they are fully vaccinated or not.”
The majority of Sydney’s synagogues are returning to in-person services this Saturday, while mosque leaders have decided to wait to avoid shutting anyone out who hasn’t chosen or been able to get vaccinated.
‘We can’t turn people back’: Religious services wait until all can attend (By Josh Dye, Sydney Morning Herald)