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NSW Opposition Leader Jodi Mckay calls for easing up church attendance restrictions

NSW Labor is urging the Government to ease COVID-19 health restrictions in places of worship in the lead up to Christmas, one of the holiest days for Christians, said a statement from NSW Opposition Leader Jodi Mckay MP.

As the Christmas countdown begins, there remains a number of unfair and unreasonable discrepancies in restrictions between places of worship and other venues.

The NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay has joined with religious leaders in calling for amendments to the Public Health Order, including applying the two square meter rule in places of worship and an end to the ban on congregational singing and chanting.

Ms McKay said: “It’s been a challenging and difficult year and religious worship provides an anchor for many in times of adversity and isolation.

“The current restrictions are unfair and it’s taking a toll on people of faith. Forty thousand people were allowed to attend the footy grand final and 11 thousand attended the Everest horse race but there is still a maximum of 300 people for some of the most important religious gatherings. People are allowed to sing at karaoke bars and concerts but only five people can sing carols in a church. It doesn’t make sense.

“This year religious events such as Ramadan, Diwali, Buddha’s birthday and Easter were disrupted. The upcoming festive season, Hanukkah, Lunar New, Orthodox New Year, Gurpurabh, Bodhi, Sankranti and Pongal celebrations will also be times of renewal and hope. New Year’s Day is both culturally and religiously significant for many people of faith.

“It is so important for families to come together in churches, mosques, temples and Synagogues to reflect on the past twelve months. Getting people back to work is critical but we also need to support places of worship.”

The Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park added: “People of faith have done the right thing this year, we need to let them finish the year together as a faith community. The move would address existing anomalies where the 2 square metre rule applies to most cafes, bars and restaurants but the 4 square metre rule applies to places of worship