“You can attend the premises if you are directly involved in the service or the operation of the equipment for the livestream event,” the NSW rules state.
Singing and chanting in places of worship is capped at two people, provided they are three metres away from any anyone else in the room, limited to two others who must be wearing a face mask.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott said he was “quite stunned” to hear about the illegal gathering.
“When you consider that churches are there to profess the message of hope and love,” Mr Elliott told 2GB radio on Monday morning. “The vast majority of the churches are doing exactly the right thing and I don’t understand, if cathedrals can stream online their services, I don’t know why suburban churches in Blacktown can’t.”
Blacktown is in the Western Sydney Local Health District, which recorded 317 of the 830 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases reported on Sunday.
At 12.01am on Monday, a curfew began in Sydney’s 12 local government areas of concern, in place from 9pm to 5am each night. This does not apply to authorised workers, for emergencies or medical care.
Exercise in the hotspot areas has also been limited to one hour per day and businesses including garden centres and hardware stores have had to move to “click and collect” customer services only.
Masks are also mandatory outdoors across NSW, except for when exercising.
Asked about the mandate, given NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian previously conceded there was “no strong evidence about outdoor transmission” of COVID-19, Mr Elliott said: “I don’t understand it.”
“But the clinicians and the medical practitioners tell us it’s a mitigating factor, it will reduce the risk,” he said.
“I’m happy to do whatever the clinicians recommend we do so that we can get out of this as quickly as possible, then I’m going to have a ceremonial burning of the masks in my backyard.”
Christ Embassy Sydney has been contacted for comment.
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