c19update2603

More on that Updated Guidance

The Government issued new guidance for places of worship on Friday 26th March, in line with its Covid recovery Road Map.  Thorough reading of the guidelines is recommended for all church leaders.  This reading should include the specific guidelines issued to cover weddings, funerals, performing arts and social distancing.

For places of worship and faith communities, the key changes involved in each of the Steps include:

From 29 March

  • up to 6 people, or two households, can gather outdoors including in private gardens
  • weddings and civil partnership ceremonies can take place with up to 6 people
  • funerals remain limited to 30 people
  • wakes are limited to 6 people

 

From Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April

  • funerals remain limited to 30 people
  • weddings and civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and wedding receptions and wakes are limited to 15 people

 

From Step 3 – no earlier than 17 May

  • up to 6 people, or two households, can gather indoors
  • most significant life cycle events can resume, limited to no more than 30 people. This will include events such as weddings, wakes, private baptisms, naming ceremonies and stone setting ceremonies
  • wedding receptions can also proceed with up to 30 people

 

Step 4 – no earlier than 21 June

  • At Step 4, the government aims to remove all limits on life cycle events and other gatherings. This will be subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme, which will include a series of pilots using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events of larger sizes.

 

This advice opens a door to house group gatherings of up to 6 people, outdoors, immediately, with the prospect of this activity being allowed indoors no earlier than 17 May.

 

The other significant change is in relation to singing:

 

Singing, chanting and the use of musical instruments

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.

Singing in Step 1:

Before 28 March

Indoors or outdoors: 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 the singers. Communal singing should not take place.

From 28 March

  • Indoors: – a single small group of singers will be allowed to perform, or rehearse for performance, only where essential to an act of communal worship. This should be limited to as few singers as possible, with social distancing being maintained at all times. Communal singing should not take place.
  • Outdoors, in the grounds or the outside space of a place of worship: When communal worship takes place outdoors, the congregation may join in with singing, and should follow the principles set out in the performing arts guidance. This includes ensuring that congregation members follow social distancing rules. Social contact limits apply, meaning that households, support bubbles or groups of 2 must not mingle. Communal singing in other public open spaces should not take place.

From 29 March

  • indoors: guidance and rules remain the same as from 28 March
  • outdoors, in the grounds or the outside space of a place of worship: when communal worship takes place outdoors, the congregation may join in and should follow the principles set out in the performing arts guidance. New social contact limits apply.

For further information, including guidance on singing in other settings or outside of communal worship, please refer to the performing arts guidance.

 

 

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