SYDNEY (LifeSiteNews) - The Australian state of New South Wales unveiled its new "roadmap to freedom" showing that, from mid-October, churches will resume in-person services for vaccinated people only, once the target of 70% of people fully vaccinated has been reached.
The new roadmap entitled "Freedoms for fully vaccinated people" was unveiled last week and shows that by mid-October, when the proportion of people having received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines is expected to reach 70%, vaccinated people will have access to a number of venues, including churches. The latter will be required to put in place a vaccine certification system. In addition, all places of worship will be subject to a 1 person per 4 square meters rule, a "no singing" rule, and a limit of 50 guests for weddings and funerals.
This new roadmap comes after 3,000 Australian Christian leaders signed an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison entitled the The Ezekiel Declaration, which put forth a series of principles that makes the case for Christian opposition to the implementation of vaccine passports and other restrictions in Australia.
So far, the letter has received more than 3,000 signatures from clergymen of various denominations, as well as close to 25,000 signatures from lay people.
Caldron Pool reported that the three lead authors of the letter "received a barrage of criticism from certain church leaders for ‘pre-emptively' and ‘prematurely' suggesting the state governments would require a vaccination passport system within the church."
The roadmap does not mention the fate of unvaccinated people wishing to attend church services, and it is unclear whether they will be denied access to their places of worship.
New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard was asked the question during a press conference which took place on September 11, but he did not confirm whether this will in fact be the case and promised to discuss it with the archbishop of Sydney.
"I don't think that is currently part of the arrangements, but I'll have a chat [with Archbishop] Anthony Fisher or whoever may be asking that question," said Hazzard, who added: "Anthony texts me regularly or calls me so sure I'll have a talk to the archbishop about that."
It would seem the uncertainty applies to all other venues mentioned on the roadmap, including pubs and restaurants.
Australia News 9 host Chris O'Keefe commented, "If you are not vaccinated, be prepared to be basically locked-down until Christmas."
O'Keefe added that the fate of the unvaccinated had not been discussed by Cabinet. "I've been told there's not even been a discussion in crisis cabinet on when unvaccinated people can do any of this," he said.
Other Australian states like Victoria have opted for a system that segregates vaccinated from non-vaccinated people with different quotas for each. The roadmap for Victoria indicates in phase B (once the vaccination target of 70% is reached) that people "whose vaccination status is unknown" are allowed to participate in religious services outdoors only, with a maximum capacity of 20 people, whereas fully vaccinated people are allowed indoor services with a max capacity of 50 people.
The Archdiocese of Sydney did not immediately respond to an after-hours request for comment from LifeSiteNews.
Since March 2020, Australia - a nation of over 25 million people - has reported fewer than 1,200 deaths related to COVID-19. New South Wales accounted for under 300 deaths.