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Coronavirus Covid-19 Update: Level 2 Alert Information and Links to advice

Diocesan Office —

Level 2 began on Thursday 14 May. We will move to the maximum numbers allowed indoors at this Level (100) at Midday on Friday 29 May, but this must be handled with safety in mind. Level 2 Settings will be reviewed on 8 June and there may be a decision then around moving to Level 1 in the future. The main message is to play it safe so we can maintain all of our hard won gains.

We are aligning ourselves with advice-resources from Government sources, including the newly released information on Level 2 and have also developed our own Policy and Guidelines around Level 2 including our Pandemic Response Framework. This is an on-going situation where we need to plan carefully, follow guidance and not let our guard slip as it can only takes one contact to start a new cluster.

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Summary of Level 2 for Faith Communities

Groups of up to 10 can meet including weddings and funerals - tangihanga until Friday 29 May, increasing to 100 from this date.  For all group occasions appropriate public health measures include physical distancing and contact tracing measures. Regular worship services can recommence for Churches who have an approved Action Plan from the Bishop. 

Funeral directors can apply for dispensations to allow up to 50 people to attend a funeral, as long as the Ministry of Health is satisfied that a range of public health measures can consistently be met. No food and drink congregations are allowed after larger funerals. This will no longer be required after Friday 29 May.

We need to follow best practice and remain calm and confident as we continue to put our trust in Christ and be agents of joy and reassurance in our communities. 

Ours is the crucified God. Jesus himself cried out from the cross. We feel and lament. We hope and so reach out in solidarity and care. We seek not to explain or reason, but trust and work out together how our hope leads us towards life-giving responses.

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Directions for churches: Liturgical practice, hospitality, pastoral care, church activity groups and church office areas

All of our current advice is in our updated Diocese of Dunedin Pandemic Response Framework and the associated Diocese of Dunedin Policy for Ministry and Worship available here. This area now has extra resources to help with your planning for resumption of worship.  

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More Detail on our Current Alert Status

We are operating under the Government alert system from the government and are currently at Level 2 i.e. Reduce from 14 May 2020. We are following government directives which are ultimately working towards eliminating the COVID_19 virus. 

We have policies, guidelines and resources that will help you gradually restart activities under level 2.

Key information from the latest Level 2 guidance as it relates to Faith Communities is sumarised below:

Alert Level 2 requires that you

  • Keep your distance from other people in public i.e. ideally 2 metres for those we don't know outside the home and 1 metre in places where we know others and contract tracing measures are in place. 
  • Keep a note of where you have been and who you have seen.

Only controlled gatherings will be permitted  (a maximum of up to 100 in total indoors or outdoors) while maintaining public health hygiene, physical distancing and contact tracing requirements. This is to reduce the risk when people who know each other well socialise or fellowship together. 

Any small or larger church related groups or services must conform to public health measures including washing hands, keeping surfaces clean, limiting numbers to allow safe physical distancing and noting attendees for contact tracing. An Action Plan for these must be signed off by the Bishop. Smaller gatherings/groups can still take place on-line with no restrictions. 

We are working on guidance around hospitality but are also waiting for further Government clarification around this. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates.

More about Gathering and Events

You can have friends and family over to your home, but play it safe — keep surfaces clean, wash your hands, and keep the numbers low so you can practice safe distancing. Please note, home groups or any other church related small group can meet in private homes if an Action Plan around this has been prepared and signed off (see also a Small Group checklist to help you prepare your plan).

Please note we are not recommending you to offer hospitality at Level 2. If you intend to, it must be signed off in your Action Plan

Additional conditions on gatherings:

  • Physical distancing and infection prevention and control requirements must be met.
  • All gatherings should record attendees to ensure contact tracing can be conducted if necessary.
  • Hospitality guidelines regarding alcohol consumption need to be strictly adhered to.
  • You can’t participate in any gatherings or events if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you need to be in isolation/quarantine for any reason.
  • All gatherings outside of the home (indoors and outdoors) can have no more than 100 attendees, excluding staff like waiters. Indoor gatherings should be seated if possible, and should be approximately two hours long.


Are you potentially an at-risk person?

There is guidance for people at higher risk of COVID-19. It includes advice under the different Alert Levels, who is at higher risk, and how they can protect themselves. Information for at-risk people


Key points for all of us:

  • Maintain physical distancing of at least 1 metre
  • Keep a note of your own movements and contacts with others
  • Ensure you follow directives for places you visit or work in (see our posters on Church Safety and Church office areas)
  • Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses.
  • Wash and dry your hands. Wash often. Use soap. 20 seconds. Then dry. This kills the virus by bursting its protective bubble.Use a sanitiser if running water not immediately available. Wash and dry your hands: before eating or handling food; after using the toilet; after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses;after caring for sick people.
  • Be kind. Make a difference by checking-in on others, especially the elderly and vulnerable.
  • Look after anyone that needs help. Drop supplies to those at home sick and ensure you have no physical contact.
  • Keep up your new physical distancing habits and other ways of staying in touch with more vulnerable people i.e. the phone, a video messaging system or something similar 

Got symptoms or have health questions? 

Call your GP before you visit. Or call Healthline on 0800 358 5453. If you feel unwell, remain at home.

Not sure who to talk to? 

If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, or you don’t know who to contact for help, phone the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am – 10pm, 7 days a week). 

The Ministry of Health recommends that you should follow the usual precautions including:

  • If you feel unwell, remain at home, use Healthline’s dedicated 0800 number for COVID-19 health advice and information (0800 358 5453). 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing.
  • Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap and dry them thoroughly:
    • before eating or handling food
    • after using the toilet
    • after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose or wiping children’s noses
    • after caring for sick people.

Staying safe and well

At every alert level people should take measures to stay safe and well.

  • Regularly disinfect surfaces
  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly and regularly
  • Don’t touch your face
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Get tested for COVID-19 if you have flu like symptoms – call your GP or Healthline on 0800 358 5453. I
  • Continue to seek primary medical care.

Anyone who has returned to New Zealand from overseas must abide by NZ government requirements. Currently this is to remain at a Government organised quarantine facility. This involves self-isolating by staying indoors and avoid contact with other people for 14 days from the date of arrival and then follow lock down procedures until advised otherwise. 

Want to know more? See the Government's dedicated COVID-19 webpage

For more information, click here.

The Diocesan office is very happy to answer any queries you may have. Please contact Andrew Metcalfe.