On 16 June at 14:30, the Church of England issued a New FAQ “What guidance is in place for clergy, church workers and volunteers who are deemed to be at additional risk?” in the Prayer and worship section, and updated the FAQ “What guidance is available for Holy Communion?” in Prayer and worship section. In view of the opening this, week, of churches for private prayer, the advice document COVID-19: Personal Risk Factors for Clergy, Church Workers and Volunteers is of particular relevance.
It notes the importance of recognizing that certain groups of people are at greater risk than others; medical history is one indicator of increased risk, but other factors have been identified as well. The government and the NHS list two categories of people who are at increased clinical risk; people at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) and people at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable). These groups are detailed in the document; in addition, Public Heath England has identified a number of risk factors for serious illness and death as a result of contracting COVID-19. some of which are also identified in the NHS clinical risk categories.
The document concludes:
“Those in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Group should be advised not to consider employment or volunteering outside their homes.
“Clergy, Church Workers and Volunteers in other ‘at-risk’ groups should discuss their situation with their Diocesan Bishop, employer or incumbent with regard to the type of work or voluntary activity they are able to perform.”