As from 4th July, places of worship have been permitted to reopen in England. Scotland and Northern Ireland are now permitted to open as well. Each congregation has completed a risk assessment. You can see the guidelines we have adopted by following this link.
From the 8th August, it is a legal requirement to wear face coverings in places of worship. We are hoping that more guidance will be issued before this comes into force, but for now it seems important to pass on the news. The areas in which we are hoping for more guidance include our responsibility to ensure compliance, also in view of the fact that it is possible to exempt oneself from wearing face coverings without any doctor’s note, and that the guidelines state:
Those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give any written evidence of this, this includes exemption cards. No person needs to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about their reason for not wearing a face covering.
It will also be helpful to know whether it would be possible to differentiate between different areas of the church building.
We have noticed that there is a wide range of opinions and feelings about the current situation. It is not our task as a community to convince each other about the truth; however, the situation calls upon us to develop our capacity for tact and empathy. If you would like to know more about the measures that your local congregation has adopted, please contact your local priest.
The government’s guidelines for places of worship are here.
The specific guidelines on face coverings are here.