Churchgoers and other worshippers will be happy to know that religious services can resume so long as physical distancing rules are followed.

Police have updated their guidelines for staff and told them "to use discretion and commonsense" if visiting a church.

Depending on the size of a building where services are being held, multiple groups of 10 people will be allowed at any religious services.

However, under alert level 2, Covid-19 rules still in place, they must maintain a 2m distance from other worshippers.

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If the church or place of worship is smaller, only 10 people can attend the service while also remaining 2m away from others.

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The police' guidelines document reads: "Our faith communities have remained away from their places of worship and congregations over the alert level three and four restrictions.

"At [alert level 2], there are no longer measures restricting people from leaving their home or place of residence.

"The community is able to resume various day-to-day activities. Places of worship may now open."

Officers were told that if they go to a church or place of worship for work reasons, they needed to use discretion and commonsense.

Places of worship are now allowed to open. However, restrictions on numbers remain. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Places of worship are now allowed to open. However, restrictions on numbers remain. Photo / Brett Phibbs

"We need to remember that faith is a very important aspect of many New Zealanders' lives and therefore need to be treated using high levels of empathy and sensitivity.

"The intent is to ensure the safety of all persons present by adhering to the guiding principles of physical distancing, hand hygiene and contact tracing."

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Just in time for end of Ramadan

It will be welcome news to Muslims in New Zealand, who are now in their last few days of the holy month of Ramadan, when members fast during daylight hours.

Members last week expressed their sadness at not being able to worship together during this time.

Family First NZ has praised the news; with national director Bob McCoskrie saying it was particularly positive for people of faith who wanted to see some normality again.

"Churches of all faiths are very keen to meet as a group and observe appropriate health requirements to ensure the safety of all members.

"But they also want to obey the law and act in the public and health interest."

McCoskrie said the announcement that church families of all faiths and religions can now reunite was a good thing.

"This is a positive for families, as they bring lives back to normality after the extraordinary time of the lockdown and the inability to socialise."