Information about easing of restrictions for places of worship and ceremonies.

Key points

Current restrictions on gatherings at places of worship and ceremonies are:

  • Places of worship can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies for up to 20 people in each separate area.
  • Up to 20 people, in addition to the celebrant and couple getting married, can attend a wedding. If a wedding is held in a private residence, it will be limited to the members of the household, five attendees, plus the celebrant.
  • Up to 50 people can attend a funeral in addition to the person leading the funeral and other funeral staff. A funeral held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household, five attendees, plus the person leading the funeral and other funeral staff.

As always, we are urging Victorians to use common sense when carrying out activities. If you feel unwell, you should stay at home. If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, you should get tested. It’s up to all of us to make this work.

On this page

Summary of restrictions

Currently:

  • Places of worship can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies for up to 20 people, plus the minimum number of people reasonably required to perform the service or ceremony.  The one person per four-square metres rule needs to be followed.
  • Up to 20 people, in addition to the celebrant and couple being married, can attend a wedding.  The one person per four-square metres rule needs to be followed.
  • If a wedding is in a home, it will be limited to the members of the household plus a maximum of five visitors, plus the celebrant.  If a wedding ceremony is in a restaurant or café, the group maximum is 20, plus the celebrant and the couple.
  • Up to 50 people can attend a funeral, plus the person leading the funeral and other funeral staff. The one person per four-square metres rule needs to be followed.
  • If a funeral is in a home, it will be limited to the members of the household plus five visitors, plus the funeral staff. If a funeral is held in a restaurant or community facility the group maximum is 50, plus the funeral staff, however a wake or other gathering following a funeral would be limited to a maximum of 10 people.

What measures are being put in place to keep people safe?

In order to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), restrictions have been placed on venue capacity to ensure that physical distancing requirements are met, including total gathering numbers and no more than one person per four-square metres.

Venue operators or the celebrant at a wedding or funeral are required to request the first name and contact phone number of each person attending the wedding, funeral, or ceremony, and keep records for 28 days for contact tracing purposes.

Attendees should maintain 1.5 metres physical distance between themselves and people they do not live with, practice good hand hygiene, and stay home if they feel unwell.

For more information about the four square metre rule and other safety measures visit the Business and industry page.

What actions should I take when attending a ceremony, wedding or funeral?

Everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Before you leave home:

  • If you feel unwell or have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), you must stay at home. If you have symptoms, you should get tested.

When you attend the service:

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Wash or sanitise your hands regularly.
  • Keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others. Be patient in areas where people congregate like entrances/ exits and while waiting in line.

After you get home:

  • Wash your hands.

Can a recreational facility such as a community hall be used for wedding or funeral services?

A recreational facility, such as a community hall, can be used for a wedding or funeral. Wedding ceremonies held at a community hall can have up to 20 people in attendance, in addition to the couple and the celebrant.  The venue must apply the one person per four-square metres rule. Wedding receptions may have up to 10 people, in line with public gathering limits.

A recreational facility can also be used for a funeral service for up to 50 mourners - as well as the people required for the funeral, such as the officiant or staff from a funeral company. The venue must apply the one person per four-square metres rule. A wake or other gathering following a funeral may have up to 10 people, in line with public gathering limits.

Are places of worship open?

Currently, all places of worship of all denominations can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies of up to 20 people, subject to the one person per four-square metres rule, as well as the minimum number of people reasonably required for the service.

Places of worship can also be used for a funeral service for up to 50 mourners, plus the people required to conduct the funeral.

Are there any activities that should be avoided during services?

While a number of religious activities traditionally require close proximity or the sharing of cups or plates, it’s vital we maintain our physical distance. That includes not sharing utensils and limiting the use of highly-touched objects.

What kind of services or ceremonies can be held at a place of worship?

Multiple services or ceremonies can be held on the same day, but cleaning needs to occur between services or ceremonies. Enough time should be allowed between services or ceremonies to reduce the risk of crowds at entrances and exits and to enable cleaning. The one person per four-square metres rule applies, which limits the number of people who can be in each separate space.

Places of worship can also be used for a funeral or wedding service.In these instances the restrictions for weddings and funerals apply, for example for a funeral service that may be up to 50 mourners - as well as the people required to conduct the funeral.

Are there any other kind of activities that can occur at a place of worship?

Places of worship can continue to be open for hosting essential public support services such as food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities, ensuring appropriate physical distancing is maintained by keeping at least 1.5 metres between people you don’t live with.

Ceremonies and services can be recorded or broadcast live from the place of worship for viewing online. You can have people on site to record and live stream services, however you must ensure those people maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between those from other households at all times.

Places of worship may host essential community services, including leasing church halls or other spaces for community support groups. Physical distancing requirements are be the responsibility of the group or organisation leasing the space.

Can I attend a wedding?

20 people can attend a wedding in addition to the couple and the celebrant. Children are counted in the person limit.

If a wedding is held in a home, the restrictions on private gatherings apply. This means that a maximum of five visitors are allowed in the private residence in addition to the members of the household. The celebrant, who is required for the service, is not included in the limit.

If a wedding is held in a restaurant or pub, 20 guests can attend the wedding, plus the celebrant and the couple. However, a wedding reception at a restaurant or café would be subject to the group limit of 10 as well as the other requirements in place for restaurants and cafes.

Why is there a limit for weddings given that funerals can have 50?

Weddings have a high risk of transmission due to the nature of the celebration.

Can I attend a funeral?

Currently, 50 mourners can attend a funeral as well as the people required to conduct the funeral, such as the officiant or funeral company staff. This applies to both indoor and outdoor funerals.

If a funeral is held in a home, the restrictions on private gatherings apply. This means that a maximum of five visitors are allowed in the private residence, in addition to the members of the household. The officiant and funeral staff are not included in the limit of 5 visitors.

How many people can attend a wake after a funeral?

Wakes are a separate event to funerals. The gathering limits apply based on the venue the wake is held.

Currently, if a wake is held in a restaurant up to 10 people may attend. If a wake is held in a community hall, up to 20 people may attend. If a wake is held in a private residence, up to five visitors plus the members of the household may attend, in line with limits on public and private gatherings.

Can I attend a prayer group?

Currently, up to 10 people can gather for a prayer group if the prayer group is held at a place of worship or another public place. A prayer group can meet if it is held in someone’s home as long as there are no more than five visitors in addition to the normal residents of the household.

You should maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people.

Can I visit a cemetery outside of attending a funeral?

You can visit a cemetery but there should be no more than 10 people (including you) gathered. 

You should maintain physical distance of at least 1.5 metres between people not in your household.

Do I need to keep records?

A place of worship that is hosting a wedding, funeral or ceremony must request the first name and contact phone number of the people who have attended, and if provided, 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 and Authorised Officers to ensure compliance with the directions of the Deputy Chief Health Officer.

Industry bodies, Victoria Police, WorkSafe, DHHS and Authorised Officers work together under both the Directions and existing legislative and regulatory frameworks to boost education and remediation, in addition to driving enforcement and compliance with the Directions.

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 03 9641 1555. And 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 noncompliance?

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 a direction by the Deputy Chief Health Officer to provide information.

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