Canberra's Catholic community is lobbying the ACT government for a faster easing of restrictions on holding church services.
A leading priest was unhappy that pubs just across the border in NSW could have 50 drinkers while churches in Canberra were limited to 20 worshippers.
Father Tony Percy thought it might be harder to keep social-distancing rules in a pub with 50 drinkers than it would be in a church.
"After you've had a few drinks, how compliant will you be?" Father Percy, the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, said.
Some communion wine is alcoholic but, in normal times, no more than a sip is taken during the ceremony of Holy Communion. During the virus crisis, wine hasn't been taken at all.
From Monday, pubs in Queanbeyan, Yass and Goulburn in the NSW section of his diocese will be allowed to serve 50 drinkers, while churches in Canberra will only be allowed 20 worshippers.
Father Percy also couldn't see why, under the new rules, funerals in the ACT could have 50 people but church services only 20.
The priest, who speaks on behalf of the community of 160,000 professed Catholics, has written to the territory's chief health officer asking her to allow 50 people to meet for worship from this Sunday.
"This is respectfully requested, given that our churches are large public buildings, that can easily comply with the one per four square metres rules and satisfy hygiene requirements," he said in his letter.
After you've had a few drinks, how compliant will you be?Father Tony Percy on rules for pubs
The ACT government said it was "important that the easing of restrictions takes place in a gradual way, and in a way that will enable us to carefully monitor the situation and assess before moving onto the next stage."
"Moving too quickly poses potential significant public health risks for our community. We want Canberrans to be able to return to their normal lives, and their religious services, as much as possible while ensuring there are appropriate measures in place to keep everyone in our community safe and healthy," ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said.
Other faiths in the ACT are also coming to terms with the new, looser rules which change at midnight on Friday in the ACT and on Monday in NSW.
On Saturday, at 5.15 am, way before dawn, the Islamic Centre in Monash intends to hold its first communal prayers since the big lockdown started a month or so ago.
One prominent member of the mosque said it was a big event because they had been deprived of prayers together during the important Muslim period of Ramadan.
Apart from the absence of prayers together, in normal times, upwards of 800 community members would gather each Saturday of Ramadan, sharing foods from the different Muslim countries represented in the Canberran Islamic community.
That hasn't happened this year.
The community wasn't planning to lobby for bigger communal prayer meetings. Instead, as conditions were relaxed, more people would start worshipping together.
Other denominations and faiths were taking the return to face-to-face worship more slowly.
Anglican Bishop Mark Short said the return to face-to-face worship would be determined by the conditions in each church across the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.
"Resumption of regular Sunday worship will happen on a parish by parish basis," he said.
St John's Anglican Church in Reid will continue with online services despite the easing of the restrictions.
"We are going to take it very slowly and cautiously," the rector, the Reverend Paul Black, said.
When they do return to face-to-face worship, it will be in the church hall at first because it can hold more people spaced apart from each other.
On top of that, old churches - like St John's - are hard to keep germ-free. "How do you disinfect wooden pews?" Reverend Black asked.
The Catholic priest, Father Percy, praised the ACT's chief health officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, despite his unhappiness at the disparity in the rules.
"Thank you for the marvellous work you and the ACT Health Department has done in dealing with COVID-19. The community is deeply grateful," he said.