The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst, Michael McKenna, believes strict restrictions to churches are worth it if they help halt the spread of COVID-19.
From 6pm on Saturday, restrictions for the greater Sydney region (which also includes Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour) required all churches to remain closed until at least next Friday.
For churches outside the greater Sydney region, services can go ahead, however, there are tighter restrictions such as a return to the four square metre rule, no singing and face masks must be worn at all times.
According to Bishop McKenna, who also oversees churches in Orange, the rules are "fair enough".
"Hopefully it's only for a couple of weeks and if that's what we need to do to stop the spread of the virus, it's a sacrifice worth making," he said.
"The new rules came in on Saturday afternoon and I think all our churches adapted quite quickly. We're back to masks and smaller numbers, as well as no singing."
Bishop McKenna believes the pandemic has made people cautious when it comes to planning ahead, especially for the diocese which is ordaining two new deacons next Friday.
"So that'll be under restrictions and no one will be able to come from Sydney or interstate to it," he said.
"We did consider whether we would postpone it but things could be the same or even worse in the future.
"So we're just going to go ahead with it and praise God we can, that the restrictions in Sydney don't have to cover the whole state."
With reduce capacity, many churches in the Central West will only be able to accommodate a reduced number of parishioners now.
"I think last time we had the four square metre rule, a lot of the very small communities were okay because they've generally got reasonably sized churches," Bishop McKenna said.
"I think it really affected the big centres like Bathurst, Dubbo and Orange."
The latest COVID-19 restrictions are in place until at least Friday, July 9, however, it is subject to change depending how the virus is contained.
Under Public Health Orders, all places of worship in NSW must complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan.
They are being asked to complete the plan in consultation with your staff and volunteers, then share it with them.
Places of worship are also being asked to consider the benefits of registering as COVID Safe.
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