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Opinion

Church agrees to allow unvaxed members to attend Sunday services

Tuesday 11 January 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Economy, National

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Church agrees to allow unvaxed members to attend Sunday services
William Framhein outside the Avarua CICC Cook Islands Christian Church. 22011014

Unvaccinated members of the Avarua CICC (Cook Islands Christian Church) are overjoyed at the decision of its committee to allow them to continue to attend church services when the country’s border reopens this Thursday.

The decision was made on Sunday, January 9 after discussions were held at a special morning meeting with the church committee and members to clarify the regulations for “unvaccinated people attending church”.

The meeting had been called due to the church’s announcement on January 2, that only vaccinated people (with a vaccination certificate) would be allowed to enter the church, and that unvaccinated people will be accommodated outside the church.

Makirere Poila, the secretary of the Avarua CICC Ekalesia, said the church decided to allow vaccinated and unvaccinated people to attend their services and that everyone in attendance must wear masks.

Numbers inside the church will be restricted to 100 with the required social distancing measures.

When the indoor capacity is reached, extra seating and a sound system will be arranged for the outdoor area to accommodate parishioners, said Poila.

“This decision applies to our Avarua Ekalesia church, the other churches decide for themselves,” he added.

William Framhein, one of the unvaccinated members of the Ekalesia, welcomed the committee’s decision.

“The meeting was well done, a big thank you to the Secretary of Health Bob Williams for explaining the options available to the Ekalesia to choose from, and the Ekalesia chose wisely,” said Framhein.

“We are stoked with the outcome, and my wife and I are happy with that decision … Praise Jesus.”

Te Marae Ora Ministry of Health has the following new restrictions in place that will apply for any high-risk facility from Thursday, January 13: Limited to 100 persons if a mixture of vaccinated and unvaccinated people are in attendance; Minimal physical distancing of 1 metre; Face masks to be worn. There will be no limit on numbers if all in attendance are vaccinated.

Examples of high-risk premises are defined as: (i) premises where a close-proximity business or service is undertaken: (ii) a bar or nightclub: (iii) an enclosed cafe or restaurant and, if part of a cafe or restaurant is enclosed, the enclosed part: (iv) a gym: (v) a cinema: (vi) a gallery: (vii) a church, etc.