Wearing Masks, Good Hygiene, Physical Distancing

16 Aug 2020 by Rev Dr John Squires in: Letters, Thoughts, News

Wear a mask, practice good hygiene, maintain physical distancing

From Rev Dr John Squires
Presbytery Minister - Wellbeing

We continue to live in a context of ongoing challenge because of the COVID-19 virus. We know that we all need to attend, personally, to the latest advice from informed authorities. We also know that, for any activity we plan as a church, we need to prepare carefully, submit our Safety Plan in advance, to Synod and to Presbytery, and we need to be prepared to modify and adapt in the light of the most recent expert advice. 

Changing the plans that have been made, to regather in worship, on the most recent advice from the Synod, has been a challenging moment for a number of Congregations. I am grateful for the news of those people who have responded with care and diligence to this latest advice. Let us continue to pray for one another, across the Presbytery, as our people yearn to gather, but refrain because of wise decisions taken, to minimise the risk of spreading infections.

Masks are now in the forefront of community discussion. Given that there appears to be some ongoing community transmission of the coronavirus in Sydney and some regional areas of NSW, the NSW Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, has recently issued her informed advice regarding wearing a mask. You can read this at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/face-masks

This advice applies within NSW. It also provides helpful guidance for people within the ACT, even though there is currently no community transmission within the ACT. The ACT government advice can be read at https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/stay-safe-and-healthy/protect-yourself#Using-masks-latest-advice

The key things to remember from this advice is that it is recommended that we wear a mask:

  • if it is hard to maintain 1.5 metres of physical distance from others 
  • in areas where there has been community transmission 
  • when in high-risk indoor areas such as public transport, supermarkets, shops, churches and other places of worship  
  • when caring for or serving vulnerable people 
  • if working in a cafe, restaurant, pub, club or other high-risk indoor areas.  

While wearing a mask in any of these settings is not mandatory, it is highly recommended. 

This video demonstrates how masks contribute to lessening the risk of infection. Please take the time to watch this—it is only three and a half minutes long.