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27 November 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
On Wednesday, 25 November 2020 the Western Australian Government announced that from Saturday, 5 December 2020 identified Western Australian businesses and venues will be required to maintain mandatory Contact Registers for staff and patrons for the purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing by the WA Department of Health, should it be required. Places of Worship are specifically identified in this directive and therefore all Catholic churches, chapels and Mass centres are required to comply with this government directive. Any person aged 16 years and over who attends a place of worship, including patrons, staff, volunteers and contractors will be required to register their contact details. Records are not required to be collected for children under 16 years. More information regarding the WA government’s directives concerning the reintroduction of Contact Registers can be found at:
Current WA Government Restrictions
The Western Australian and Federal Governments continue to issue ongoing public health advice in relation to COVID–19. The Archdiocese of Perth is guided by this advice through our ongoing commitment to monitoring any threat posed by COVID–19 to Catholic communities across our Archdiocese.
The following restrictions from the WA government are still in place:
• The 2 square metre rule (except for seated and ticketed performances at seated entertainment spaces within selected venues)
• Capacity limits for WA’s major venues – Optus Stadium, HBF Park, HBF Stadium – Main Arena, and RAC Arena
• Restricted access to remote Aboriginal communities
• WA’s controlled interstate border
Latest information about current restrictions can be found at: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-what-you-can-and-cant-do
Frequently Asked Questions
Latest frequently asked questions relevant to Religious Practices can be found at: https://www.wa.gov.au/government/publications/phase-4-easing-of-restrictions-frequently-asked-questions#religious_practices
It remains incumbent upon each of us to continue to exercise responsibility in adhering to government health advice and directives through diligent citizenship as well as Christian concern and charity. The virus will probably continue to shape and challenge our responses for many months yet. I continue to be very grateful to you all for your endurance and unwavering persistence in supporting me and the clergy of the Archdiocese in providing for the needs of the faithful during this time of pandemic.
Contact Registers for Churches, Chapels and Mass Centres within the Archdiocese of Perth
This following information specifically addresses the reintroduction of Contact Registers. The WA government directive for Contact Registers will come into effect on Saturday, 5 December 2020 and will apply across the Archdiocese of Perth to all places of worship. The website of the Archdiocese of Perth has a dedicated COVID-19 web page on which all statements from the Archdiocese of Perth in relation to COVID 19 can be found: http://perthcatholic.org.au/COVID19.htm
The following directives are required to be in place at each place of worship within the Archdiocese of Perth from Saturday, 5 December 2020:
Churches, chapels and Mass centres are required to keep Contact Registers as part of their COVID Safety Plans. This is mandatory.
Any person aged 16 years and over who attends a place of worship, including patrons, staff, volunteers and contractors will be required to register their contact details. The details required for the contact register include:
• contact number;
• date, and
• arrival time at the venue.
Churches, chapels and Mass centres are required to keep the information provided on the Contact Register for twenty eight (28) days. The WA government will accept information that is either manually recorded or entered electronically onto a digital device or via the SafeWA App. SafeWA can be downloaded from Apple App Store or Google Play. This will allow venues which choose to use the SafeWA app time to implement it for Saturday, December 5, 2020. More information can be found at https://www.wa.gov.au/SafeWA
The Government has developed the SafeWA App for the purposes of contact tracing. SafeWA is provided by the Department of Health in Western Australia as part of WA’s measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.
SafeWA is a contactless and convenient way for people to check-in at Western Australian venues and events. It lets people check-in by scanning a SafeWA QR code (a special type of barcode) that is displayed at a venue or event to confirm the date and time they were there.
The information is then sent to WA Health to help with faster COVID-19 related contact tracing – this helps to keep the community safe.
This is a voluntary app. You do not have to use SafeWA to check in at a venue or event. Alternative formats for mandatory contact registers are available, including other electronic tools or a paper-based system, depending on what is suitable for the venue or individual. Information provided by the SafeWA App will be deleted after twenty eight (28) days.
Information regarding the registration process for the SafeWA App can be located at https://safewa.health.wa.gov.au and a short video can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/482943535
A Toolkit has also been developed by the WA government to assist you with various templates for paper-based contact registers, videos, information sheets, how to guides and social media tiles and is available at this link:
Registration of Venues/Businesses and Individuals using the SafeWA App
There is a registration process for venues/businesses and individuals. Parishes wishing to register their church, chapel or Mass centre should refer to the instructions at https://safewa.health.wa.gov.au/files/SafeWA_Health_User_Guide.pdf
Please note: When registering your church, chapel or Mass centre do so using the “Business” registration button (see page 5 of the Health User Guide in the weblink immediately above). Register the primary church of the parish as ‘the Business’ and then any other churches, chapels of Mass centres of the parish as ‘Venues’. A separate QR code will be provided for each location/venue.
Compliance and Penalties
Parish priests/priests-in-charge/administrators and rectors are responsible for organising the collection of the required information in each church, chapel of Mass centre and ensuring implementation of the government directives. Respective leadership groups in each community are encouraged to be involved in supporting their priests.
If Contact Register data is collected manually (paper/electronic data based) the information must be able to be provided to Government Health Department representatives within three (3) hours of a request being received. The SafeWA App will provide information directly and automatically to the Health Department.
All churches, chapels and Mass centres are required to set up controlled entry point(s) through which attendees pass where their details are taken or confirmation of ‘sign- in’ via their SafeWA App is sighted.
A contact template has been made available by the Western Australian Government for manual data collection. These resources can be located at: www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-11/Paper-based-contact-register-template-Single-sheet_0.pdf or www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-11/Paper-based-contact-register-template-multi-sheet_0.pdf
Given potential delays affecting services, it is suggested that each church, chapel or Mass centre facilitate the entry of manual data by implementing an orderly and streamlined process for those who may wish to avail themselves of manual contact registration.
Compliance and Penalties
The WA government has specified fines and penalties for non-compliance with these processes. Failing to comply with the new requirements to maintain a contact register could result in fines and penalties of up to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a body corporate or 12 months’ imprisonment.
Yours sincerely in Christ
Most Rev. Timothy Costelloe SDB
Archbishop of Perth