Summary of government guidance for meeting in person

Full guidance can be found here COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Places of worship play an important role in providing spiritual leadership for many individuals, and in bringing communities and generations together. However, their communal nature also makes them places that are particularly vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Where possible when visiting a place of worship you should stay local and avoid travelling outside your local area, meaning your village or town. 

Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell) should not attend the place of worship due to the risk that they pose to others; they should self-isolate at home immediately with other members of their household 

It is advised that the ceremonies and services should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time. 

Once completed, participants should be encouraged to move on promptly, to minimise the risk of contact and spread of infection.

In England, face coverings are required by law to be worn in places of worship.

There are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups to not wear a face covering in these settings. In particular, those who are leading permitted services or events in a place of worship, and those who assist them.

Adhering to social distancing rule, meaning people should be 2 metres apart or more than 1 metre apart as well as taking extra steps to stay safe (such as wearing face coverings) to reduce the risk of transmission.

Individuals must not mingle with anyone outside of their household or support bubble when attending a place of worship.

All reasonable steps should be taken to minimise risks around transmission by cleaning equipment and utensils thoroughly between uses and avoiding the use of shared items. 

COVID-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and through direct contact. Singing, playing some musical instruments, shouting and physical activity increases the risk of transmission through small droplets and aerosols.

Where singing or chanting is essential to an act of worship, this should be limited to one person wherever possible. Exceptionally, where it is essential to the service, up to three individuals should be permitted to do so. Strict social distancing should be observed and the use of Plexi-glass screens should be considered to protect worshippers, and each other.

Communal singing should not take place. This applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.

Chanting, shouting and/or playing of instruments that are blown into should also be avoided in communal worship and in rehearsals.

Reusable and communal resources such as service sheets, religious texts or devotional material should be removed from use. Single use alternatives should be provided as long as they are removed and disposed of by the worshipper.

In circumstances where worshippers cannot bring their own books, places of worship should keep a selection of clean books for individuals to use. Clean books should be quarantined for 48 hours since their previous use and should be quarantined for 48 hours again after use. Items which cannot be easily cleaned should also be subject to the 48-hour quarantine after use.

Queue management is important so the flow of groups in and out of the premises can be carefully controlled in a socially distanced way, reducing the risk of congestion or contact. Considerations should be made for how to manage those waiting outside a place of worship, including the introduction of socially distanced queuing systems.

There should be a particular focus on protecting people who are clinically vulnerable and more likely to develop severe illness, including people who are aged 70 or older, regardless of medical conditions.

Thank you for adhering to these rules where possible.