We want to keep you up-to-date with information and updates about Coronavirus (COVID-19) so that you can take appropriate action within your churches.
For the latest government and NHS advice you can use the following links:
You should also note the Coronavirus Bill includes information that may be helpful about funeral services. Schedule 27 of the Bill relates to the management of deaths and sets out the powers available to local government to take control of local death management systems where essential for the protection of public health and the dignity of the deceased. Throughout, the government will ensure that local authorities and other public bodies have due regard to people’s religion or belief, and has sought to make this explicit through an amendment to the face of the Bill. Only as a last resort would other more stringent measures be considered.
Coronavirus Update Tuesday 20th July 2021
Yesterday (19th July) the government moved the country to step 4 of its roadmap. The approach now being taken is to remove most of the coronavirus legislation that has been in place for the past year or more, but to promote guidance that emphasises to all of us our responsibilities (as both individuals and organisations) to protect ourselves and others.
On the government website, you will now find updated guidance for the safe use of places of worship. You should check this to ensure that your churches are doing all within their powers to make your buildings both welcoming and also places where people feel safe to gather.
Coronavirus Update Tuesday 6th July 2021
Yesterday (5th July) at a Downing Street briefing, the PM said the government was looking to “move away from legal restrictions and instead allow people to make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus”. However, he also said that the pandemic was “far from over”. And although the PM spoke about the importance of “reopening our society” on 19th July, confirmation of the lifting of restrictions and guidance on that date won’t happen until 12th July, when the latest Covid health data will be reviewed.
So, what rules and guidance will be relaxed and how will this impact our churches?
If approved on 12th July, the following changes, which impact our churches, will happen in England from 19th July:
Social distancing/face coverings:
- There will be no limits on social contact
- The 1metre-plus rule will be removed (except in some settings, such as ports of entry and medical settings)
- There will be no legal requirements for face coverings (although their use will still be advised in hospitals, healthcare settings and enclosed, crowded public spaces).
- There will be no limits on numbers at weddings and funerals
- There will be no restrictions on communal worship and singing.
Other things to consider:
- Symptomatic testing and contact tracing will continue – and it will remain a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid.
We must bear in mind that Covid cases are still on the rise, and they are expected to continue to rise as restrictions ease. But, because of the vaccination programme, the link between infections and hospitalisations and deaths has been weakened. However, we should not, as churches, become complacent as the new rules come into place.
HOWEVER, UNTIL 19TH JULY ALL EXISTING RULES REMAIN IN PLACE.