Jodie McKay
Jodie McKay

‘Double standard’ COVID rules slammed

Labor has called on the government to take swift action to ease restrictions on places of worship with leader Jodi McKay calling out a "double standard" which has seen them left behind.

Ms McKay wants places of worship to be put on the same standard as entertainment venues, allowing them to fill congregations with one person per two square metres and to freely sing in the festive season.

It comes as NSW recorded 23 days in a row with no community transmission of the virus.

Ms McKay makes the call after attending church and the cricket on the weekend and saying she noted a "significant double standard".

NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

"I went to church where they are still restricted and everyone was doing the right thing. Then I went to the cricket and very few people were doing the right thing," Ms McKay said.

"You can go to the cricket and cheer and hug a mate when they score a six but at church you can't even sing a Christmas carol.

"The government has been very slow to react to the restrictions placed on places of worship and it's time to move.

"People need to reconnect with their faith and have family with them."

The government will meet tomorrow to finalise the next phase of restrictions to be moved.

There are hopes the state operations emergency command will move to one person per two square meters for large venues.

The group will also have the opportunity to consider religious rules.

Father Sam Lynch at St Patrick's Summer Hill. Picture: Adam Yip
Father Sam Lynch at St Patrick's Summer Hill. Picture: Adam Yip

 

Leaders of the state's major faith groups have commissioned a report from biosecurity and risk management expert David Heslop to argue the treatment of places of worship is no longer logical.

The religious leaders wrote to chief health officer Kerry Chant last week.

Currently, religious services inside are bound by the 4 sqm rule - with up to a maximum of 300 people. Outdoor services can cater for 500 people (under the 2 sqm rule if parishioners are assigned a seat).

Ms McKay said the outdoor opportunities were not suitable for older people in the heat of summer.

"If you have a 44 degree day or it's raining plans are gone by the wayside," she said.

She said currently places of worship were "not being treated fairly".

Originally published as 'Double standard' COVID rules slammed


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