Revised Directives for Churches and Chapels
within the Catholic Diocese of Geraldton

30 November 2020

On Wednesday, 25 November 2020 the Western Australian Government announced that from Saturday, 5 December 2020 identified WA businesses and venues will be required to maintain mandatory Contact Registers for staff and patrons for the purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing by the WA Department of Health, should it be required.  Places of Worship are specifically identified in this directive and therefore all Catholic churches, chapels and Mass centres are required to comply with this government directive. Follow the link for more information regarding the reintroduction of Contact Registers.

Current WA Government Restrictions

The Western Australian and Federal Governments continue to issue ongoing public health advice in relation to COVID–19.  The Diocese of Geraldton is guided by this advice through our ongoing commitment to monitoring any threat posed by COVID–19 to Catholic communities across our Diocese.

The following restrictions from the WA government are still in place:

  • The 2 square metre rule (except for seated and ticketed performances at seated entertainment spaces within selected venues)
  • Capacity limits for WA’s major venues – Optus Stadium, HBF Park, HBF Stadium – Main Arena, and RAC Arena
  • Restricted access to remote Aboriginal communities
  • WA’s controlled interstate border

To view the latest  current restrictions.

Frequently Asked Questions

To view the latest FAQ relevant to Religious Practices:

It remains incumbent upon each of us to continue to exercise responsibility in adhering to government health advice and directives through diligent citizenship as well as Christian concern and charity.  The virus will probably continue to shape and challenge our responses for many months yet.  I continue to be very grateful to you all for your endurance and unwavering persistence through your care for the needs of the community during this time of pandemic. The Diocese of Geraldton website has a dedicated COVID-19 web page on which all statements from the Diocese of Geraldton in relation to COVID 19 can be found.

Contact Registers for Churches, Chapels and Mass Centres within the Diocese of Geraldton

The WA government directive for Contact Registers will come into effect on Saturday, 5 December 2020 and are to be in place at each place of worship within the Diocese of Geraldton commencing no later than Saturday 5 December 2020:-

Contact Registers

Churches, chapels and Mass centres are required to keep Contact Registers as part of their

COVID Safety Plans. A Contact Register is mandatory.

Any person aged 16 years and over who attends a place of worship, including patrons, staff, volunteers and contractors will be required to register their contact details. (Records are not required for children under 16 years). The details required for the contact register include:

  • name;
  • contact number;
  • date, and
  • arrival time at the venue.

A contact template has been made available for manual data collection.

Given potential delays affecting services, it is suggested that each church, chapel or Mass centre facilitate the entry of manual data by implementing an orderly and streamlined process for those who may wish to avail themselves of manual contact registration.

Churches, chapels and Mass centres are required to keep the information provided on the Contact Register for twenty-eight (28) days.  The WA government will accept information that is either manually recorded or entered electronically onto a digital register or via the SafeWA App (see following).

SafeWA App

The Government has developed the SafeWA App for the purposes of contact tracing. SafeWA is provided by the Department of Health in Western Australia to limit the spread of COVID-19 and can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play.

SafeWA is a contactless and convenient way for people to check-in at WA venues and events. It lets people check-in by scanning a SafeWA QR code (a special type of barcode), that is displayed at a venue or event, to confirm the date and time they were there. This is sent instantaneously to WA Health for faster COVID-19 related contact tracing - this helps to keep the community safe.

This is a voluntary app.  You do not have to use SafeWA to check in at a venue or event.

Alternative formats for mandatory contact registers are available, including other electronic tools or a paper-based system, depending on what is suitable for the venue or individual. Information provided by the SafeWA App will be deleted after twenty-eight (28) days.

Click Safewa for more information.

Registration of Venues/Businesses and Individuals using the SafeWA App

There is a registration process for the SafeWA App to link it to your business / individuals.

To register your church, chapel or Mass centre follow these instructions or view the video. Further assistance can be found in the SafeWA Guide.

Please note: When registering your church, chapel or Mass centre, use the “Business” registration button. Register the primary church of the parish as ‘the Business’ and then any other churches, chapels of Mass centres of the parish as ‘Venues’.  A separate QR code will be provided for each location/venue.


A Toolkit has also been developed by the WA government to assist you with various templates for paper-based contact registers, videos, information sheets, how to guides and social media tiles and is available here:

Diocesan Compliance and Penalties

As the Parish Priest or Leader of your Parish Community, you are responsible for organising the collection of the required information in each church, chapel of Mass centre and ensuring implementation of the government directives. Respective leadership groups in each community are encouraged to be involved in supporting their priests and parish leaders.

Please note: If Contact Register data is collected manually (paper/electronic data based) the information must be able to be provided to Government Health Department representatives within three (3) hours of a request being received.  The SafeWA App will provide information directly and automatically to the Health Department.

All churches, chapels and Mass centres are required to set up controlled entry point(s) through which attendees pass, where their details are taken or confirmation of ‘sign- in’ via their SafeWA App is sighted.

Government Compliance and Penalties Rulings

The WA government has specified fines and penalties for non-compliance with these processes.  Failing to comply with the new requirements to maintain a contact register could result in fines and penalties of up to $50,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a body corporate or 12 months’ imprisonment.

I take this opportunity to renew my thanks to each of you as we prepare to enter this season of Advent, and our journey towards Christmas.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Bishop Michael Morrissey
Bishop of Geraldton