Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance

Update: 14th April 2022

 

Welsh Government has announced that as from 18 April 2022, legal restrictions under The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 will be removed (except for the requirement to wear face coverings in health and care settings).

The main impact of this for local churches is that a Covid risk assessment will no longer be a specific legal requirement. However, the risk of transmitting Coronavirus will need to be considered as part of your church’s general health and safety and risk assessment process. It is a legal duty for all organisations to plan their activities and manage hazards by assessing the risk of them causing harm. Therefore, it is recommended that you maintain a risk assessment to manage the transmission of Coronavirus (as an obvious hazard at the current time) as part of your Health and Safety management arrangements.

It is no longer a legal duty to record people attending services and other activities but organisations can consider doing so to aid contact tracing (which continues until June).

We will be issuing revised guidance in the light of these legislative changes shortly to help you consider the appropriate measures to keep people safe. Good ventilation, hygiene, premises cleaning and, where possible, social distancing remain the most effective ways to control the spread of Coronavirus (and, indeed, some other transmissible diseases).

Update: 2nd March 2022

 

Our guidance notes have been updated to reflect the latest regulations for Covid-19. It remains a legal requirement to prepare a written risk assessment to control the risk of Covid transmission and the guidance seeks to help local church councils consider what would be appropriate in their circumstances.

In addition to face coverings no longer being required (except in retail, transport or health settings), the QR codes on the Covid-19 app for England and Wales are no longer operational as a means of recording attendance.

The Bench of Bishops has signalled that, subject to local risk assessment, the common cup might be restored from Easter Day. There is no requirement to do so and communion in one kind remains valid. No communicant should feel compelled to take the common cup. Updated guidance for the administration of holy communion has been provided to help you think about how to conduct communion safely and to consider the relative risks of different approaches. You should consider your approach carefully and communicate this to your congregation.

 

Update: 25th February 2022

 

From the 28th February 2022, face coverings only need to be worn, by law, in retail, public transport and health and care settings. The law no longer requires that face coverings be worn in places of worship, community centres or church halls.

However, the wearing of face coverings remains an effective risk mitigation measure so you might consider retaining them as part of your risk assessment. It is certainly recommended that they are worn for closer contact activities e.g the imposition of ashes.

Certainly, nobody should feel awkward or embarrassed by choosing to wear a face covering.

Where places of worship have retail shops, people should be reminded of the legal requirement to wear a face covering in those areas.

Our detailed guidance notes are being updated and will be posted as soon as possible.

Update: 23rd February 2022

 

The Bench of Bishops has approved the guidance on the imposition of ashes (ashing) under Alert Level Zero. From the 28th February, face coverings will only be legally required in retail, public transport and health and care settings. Face coverings will not have to be worn in places of worship or community buildings from that date but can still be a useful measure to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission as part of local risk management measures. It will be noted that face coverings are recommended during the imposition of ashes given the close proximity of people.

Update: 22nd February 2022

This guidance (February 2022) supersedes the previous guidance, dated September 2020.

Update: 1st February 2022

 

We have made some minor amendments to the following guidance notes. These are:

  • to reflect the current requirements for isolation if a person tests positive for Covid 19;

  • to confirm that there is an exception to the general rule on wearing face coverings to mean that they do not need to be worn, by law, at a marriage ceremony

 

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