New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard is standing firm behind plans to require churchgoers to show proof of vaccination when the state reopens. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
This is despite religious leaders pushing for an exemption on the grounds no one should be turned away from church.
Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Sydney Anglican Archbishop Kanishka Raffel and other faith leaders are lobbying Mr Hazzard directly on the issue, and some ministers have publicly contemplated civil disobedience if the Government keeps the requirement.
Archbishop Fisher said he and other religious leaders had told the Government worship was “an essential service, not mere recreation” for many people.
“We explained that all our faiths are inclined to allow all comers to worship, that many pastors and faithful would be uneasy with restricting worship to the fully vaccinated, and that doing so could prove very divisive,” he said.
The road map for the state announced last week allows places of worship to reopen to vaccinated people with capacity limited to one person per four square metre rule, once 70 per cent of NSW adults are fully vaccinated, estimated to be around the middle of October. Singing will not be allowed.
Mr Hazzard said the NSW Government was still working on the road map as vaccination rates climbed towards 70 per cent, but at this stage the vaccination mandate would remain.
‘Stand up and say no’: Churches fight government over vaccine mandate (By Michael Koziol with Tom Rabe, Sydney Morning Herald)