Navaratri Puja at Balmoral Sunday 25th October 2020 & COVID Safety Plans

Dear Yogis,
Jai Shri Mataji!

By the Grace of Shri Mataji, we are looking forward to meeting at Balmoral to worship our Holy Mother in her aspect of Shri Durga this Sunday, 25 October at 1 PM

Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, Navaratri Puja, Cabella, October 1990

Great news – recent  change of attendee limit!

Shri Mataji has really blessed us in time for the Navaratri puja! The Government is now allowing 300 Yogis to attend, up from the previous 100, however only 150 of those will be able to sit inside the hall. Observing social distancing means the first 150 yogis to arrive on Sunday and register at the desk can sit in the Balmoral Puja Hall. The next 150 Yogis who arrive and  register will need to sit outside on the grassed areas adjacent to the ladies areas and within the area to the rear of the Hall. The best means of managing this is based on those Yogis wanting  to ensure they have space inside the Hall coming early to secure their space. Please note all Yogis planning to attend must pre-register their plan to attend using the blue link below. We are also announcing a  lifting on the advice that Yogis above 65 should not attend. Our respected  elders may also attend if they so choose to. Weather prediction is for the chance of 8-10 mls of rain on Sunday which may impact those outside.  In the case of rain the builders will rig up a temporary shelter.

The Balmoral Remediation Project is ongoing and there are aspects of our property that remain a building site and will be cordoned off for all our safety. It is recommended that children are not left unattended.   

As not all yogis from the setup and dismantle groups will be able to attend the Puja, we ask that everyone help with the setup and dismantle of the Puja, particularly as the Puja needs to start at 1pm.

It is important for all yogis attending Navratri Puja to read this email thoroughly and to become familiar with the requirements for taking part in this COVID Safe event.

National COVID Safety Plan

An updated national COVID Safety plan has been uploaded to our website. Life Eternal Trust Australia has provided its undertaking to follow its Guidelines. The LETA plan has been registered with the NSW State Government and has resulted in LETA being registered as a COVID Safe Business. See LETA COVID-19 Safety Plan (Passwood rose246).

What advice has changed

Please take careful note of the following changes to our safety precautions that take effect for the Navaratri Puja:

  • 300 yogis can attend the Puja and they and their children must be pre-registered online – please don’t arrive at the Puja without registering.  The government has strict guidelines and is enforcing these with large penalties.
  • The government has recently upgraded its advice on masks and is strongly recommending that people attending places of worship such as ours wear masks.  We are following this advice and also strongly recommend that yogis wear masks. Let’s protect each other.
  • Please don’t come to the Puja if you have been to the following locations at the specified times (also note that for areas of increased testing Camden LGA, Lakemba and Liverpool LGA you can still come to the puja provided you have no symptoms – if in doubt get tested): NSW Government link to Sydney hotspots
  • Please do not sing at the puja as per government regulations.  We are permitted to have 5 miked singers sitting in the front. 

COVID-19 Safety Plan for Navaratri Puja at Balmoral

The Safety plan for Navaratri has been updated, so please take the time to read all the information below. 

The following areas are covered below:

COVID-19 Guidelines

It is important for those who attend to follow the COVID-19 restrictions in order to keep each other safe and not to put each other at risk.  
From 23 October 2020, there are new government rules to keep NSW COVID safe. The number of people allowed inside indoor venues will be determined by the ‘one person per 4 square metre’ rule as well as being capped at 300 people, and all activity must be seated only.  This means that we can have a maximum of 150 yogis in the hall and 150 outside.
The NSW Government has strongly recommended those visiting a place of worship to wear a mask, and we are making the same recommendation to yogis visiting our Pujas.
Spaces where yogis can sit will be marked on the floor, and chairs will be appropriately spaced. We ask all yogis attending to please follow these guidelines and not to move the chairs.
We ask for your understanding on the day in following the directions of a Councillor or Trustee if it is needed to help ensure that social distancing is followed during the Puja to ensure we are able to host future events.

You should not attend Navaratri Puja if you:

  • You or a close contact, such as a family member or household member, has tested positive for COVID 19;
  • You have had any cough or flu like symptoms in the past 7 days – this includes fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, fatigue, runny nose, muscle or joint pains, headache, vomiting or diarrhoea;
  • You are have visited any of the locations mentioned in the above link, at the times specified

You should consider not attending Navaratri Puja if you are:

  • Aged 65 years or over and have a chronic medical condition.
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander person aged 50 years or over with a chronic medical condition.
  • Immunosuppressed.

Before you attend Navaratri Puja, you will need to:

  • Register via our COVID-19 Visitor’s Online Register – this is a legal requirement for COVID-19 contact tracing. Use the blue link below. This is essential as there are only 300 spots available and anyone who has not registered will be asked to leave unless there are still spots available.  Very important – you will need to register your children as well and they will be counted as part of the 300 spots available.
  • We recommend that you purchase a mask in accordance with government guidance. They cost about $1 at chemists or other online shops.
  • Pay your Dakshina online via Bank transfer (LIFE ETERNAL TRUST – NSW PROMOTIONS – BSB:012 245 Account:2217 67344 – ANZ Bank)
  • Available spots have been marked out in the hall. Due to government restrictions, there will only be 150 seats available inside the Puja Hall. Therefore, it is essential that all yogis who are planning to attend pre-register.  Please do not turn up on the day without registering!
  • We encourage all Yogis attending the Puja to download the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app.
  • We encourage the collective to bring your own water bottle, snacks, and food and encourage eating outside of the Puja Hall as is practical.
  • We ask that yogis come prepared for the Puja and not use the changing rooms due to the need to observe social distancing.

Getting to the puja early

As the Puja needs to start at 1pm, please aim to arrive a fair amount earlier so that you have time to register at the desk (this is in addition to pre-registering online).

When you arrive at Balmoral, you will need to:

  • We recommend that you put on a mask in accordance with government guidelines. NSW Government guidance on masks – how to wear a mask.
  • Visit the registration desk upon entering to ensure that we have you listed for the event (this is a government requirement).  This applies even if you have pre-registered online;
  • You will be asked some screening questions to determine if you are able to attend the Puja (see above regarding who should not attend the Puja);
  • Get your temperature checked at the registration desk (contactless).  Anyone who is displaying any symptoms or has a temperature over 37.5°C by law cannot be permitted to enter and will be asked to go home, along with their family members;
  • Clean your hands with hand sanitiser provided at the registration desk;
  • Follow the signage to enter the Puja Hall via the entrance closest to the dam, and exit via the entrance closest to the amenities block;
  • Always maintain social distancing of 1.5 metres;
  • Avoid hugging. Coming together after a long break the natural desire might be for Yogis to hug each other after such a long absence. This is something that we all need to guard against.  Let us all recommit to the Sahaja acknowledgement of Namaste being a pure spiritual gesture representing the acknowledgement by one yogi of the Divine spirit in the soul of another Yogi in greeting;
  • Observe the signs showing how many yogis can be in buildings such as the kitchen and amenities at a time;
  • Clean Foot Soak buckets with detergent before and after use;
  • Families with young children are encouraged to bring their own hand sanitiser and be aware of the importance of hand hygiene for their children.

Video – Seating Arrangements in Puja Hall

Due to government requirements, there will only be 150 seats available inside the Puja Hall. Available spots have been marked out in the Puja Hall.

Video Thumbnail

Seating arrangements will be similar to Guru Puja as shown in the following video:

During the Puja

  • Please do not sing at the Puja. As singing is a COVID-19 super-spreader the government has asked religious groups not to sing or chant collectively. These regulations apply to all religious groups. Only a few of our miked musicians will be singing and they will be in the front row facing away from the rest of the collective.  
  • Maintain social distancing during the Puja including on the stage

Other information

We really do appreciate the efforts of all yogis in keeping everyone safe.

Thanks also to all the yogis who provided advice.

We hope you all enjoy a wonderful Puja in Balmoral!

NSW Councillors and Trustees


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