Second Step

11.59pm on 13 September 2020

Second Step: Religion and ceremony - regional Victoria

What does this mean I can do?

  • You cannot attend a religious service – we encourage you to use online services instead to engage people in worship.
  • Weddings can have a maximum of five people (the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant).
  • Funerals will be restricted to 10 mourners plus people required to conduct the funeral. You can travel to attend a funeral.
  • Outdoor religious gatherings (not ceremonies) are allowed for up to five people plus one faith leader.

You should not attend a wedding or funeral if you are feeling unwell.
 

Your questions answered

Current restrictions

The following restrictions apply:

  • You cannot attend religious ceremonies, except weddings and funerals under the conditions specified below.
  • Places of religion and worship must close for both religious ceremonies and private worship. People required to conduct and stream a service can attend for these purposes. This is limited to up to five people.
  • Outdoor religious gatherings (not ceremonies) are allowed for up to five people plus one faith leader who is registered with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The location of the gathering must be on the grounds of or within 1km of the place of worship.
  • Weddings are limited to five people - the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant. You cannot travel to or from metropolitan Melbourne to attend a wedding as a guest.
  • Funerals are limited to 10 mourners plus those required to conduct the funeral. You can travel to attend a funeral.
  • A wedding or funeral held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household, plus the people required to conduct the ceremony. 
  • You should not attend a wedding or funeral if you are feeling unwell.
  • You must wear a face covering unless you have a lawful exemption. You should maintain your physical distance of at least 1.5 metres from others.

Can I attend a funeral?

Funerals are limited to 10 people plus those required to conduct the funeral. Children who are under one year of age are not counted in the 10 person limit. A funeral held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household, plus the people required to conduct the ceremony.

You must wear a face covering, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Even with a face covering, you should keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and others. You should not attend a funeral if feeling unwell.

Can I travel to a wedding if I am getting married, a witness or the celebrant?

The only people who can attend a wedding are the couple, two witnesses and a celebrant. All must wear face coverings, except the couple while they are in the process of getting married. If you live in regional Victoria, you can travel within regional Victoria to participate in a wedding.

People who live in metropolitan Melbourne are not permitted to participate in marriage ceremonies, unless there is an exemption on compassionate grounds.

Can I attend a wedding?

Weddings are limited to five people - the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant.

If the wedding is held in a private residence, then the number of people attending is limited to the members of the household, plus the people required to conduct the ceremony. Members of the household do not include extra people from a ‘single social bubble’ or a ‘household bubble’. The celebrant may attend under the provision of work and must wear a face covering. Witnesses will not be able to attend the wedding in a private residence unless they reside at the same address as the couple.

You should never attend a wedding if unwell. You must wear a face covering, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Even with a face covering, you should keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and others unless they are members of your household. The couple getting married does not need to maintain 1.5 metres distance from each other.

Can I hold a wake?

No. Wakes are a separate event to funerals. Wakes will not be able to be held until the Last Step of easing restrictions.

Are places of worship open?

All places of worship of all denominations are closed for private worship or religious ceremonies.

Ceremonies and services can still be recorded or broadcast live from the place of worship for viewing online. Those who are necessary to conduct the ceremony may be on site to record and live stream services, however this is limited to a maximum of five people. You should ensure those people wear a face covering. Always keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Places of worship may be opened for the purposes of conducting weddings or funerals, but there are strict limits on the number of people who can attend.

Places of worship can continue to be open for essential public support services. Essential support services include food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities. Face coverings must be worn. Keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Can I attend a prayer group?
Outdoor religious gatherings are allowed for up to five people plus one faith leader who is registered with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The location of the gathering must be on the grounds of or within 1km of their place of worship.

Can I visit a cemetery outside of attending a funeral?

Yes, you can visit a cemetery, however you can only visit with members of your household, or up to five people from a maximum of two households.

You must wear a face covering, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Even with a face covering, you should keep at least 1.5 metres distance between you and others.

Do I need to keep records?

A place of worship that is hosting a wedding or funeral must request the first name and contact phone number of the people who have attended. Keep a record for 28 days for the purposes of contact tracing. See 'Record keeping requirements' on the Business and industry page.

How is this enforced?

Directions continue to be enforced through spot checks by Victoria Police and use of emergency powers by DHHS Authorised Officers to ensure compliance with the Public Health Directions.

Industry bodies, Victoria Police, WorkSafe, and Authorised Officers will work together to inform Victorians about the directions, as well as undertake enforcement and compliance activities as needed.

Members of the public can raise concerns about venues through the Police Assistance Line (PAL) on 131 444.  Workers can raise concerns via WorkSafe on 1800 136 089. Employers can talk to their industry regulator or peak body for specific industry related support.

A Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak Joint Intelligence Unit has been established to support comprehensive preparedness and responses to outbreaks and identify and manage outbreak risks.

DHHS and WorkSafe is co-ordinating intelligence and information on businesses that are non-compliant.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Victoria Police can issue on the spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses for:

  • refusing or failing to comply with the emergency directions
  • refusing or failing to comply with a public health risk power direction
  • refusing or failing to comply with the Public Health Directions to provide information.

Fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for businesses are possible through the court system.

Individuals who do not wear a face covering and do not have a lawful reason can be fined $200.