Scotland: Government guidance on safe reopening of places of worship

Places of worship in Scotland will be able to reopen for the following additional permitted purposes from tomorrow, 15 July:

  • congregational services, including pre-arranged or scheduled acts of worship and communal prayer;
  • marriage ceremonies and, where celebrants in a faith community undertake them, civil partnerships registrations (for which there is separate guidance); and
  • religious life-event ceremonies such as baptisms, christenings and coming-of-age ceremonies.

The Scottish Government has published guidance for the safe use of places of worship to help them prepare. Key measures include the following:

  • restrictions on capacity so that a safe distance of at least 2 metres can be maintained between individuals from different household groups;
  • no place of worship should admit more than 50 people at any one time, regardless of its size or usual capacity, with a limit of 20 on weddings and funerals;
  • the retention of worshippers’ contact details to share for Test and Protect if required;
  • no communal prayer books, prayer mats or other shared items;
  • faith leaders and those responsible for places of worship must take all reasonable measures to adapt faith-specific rites and rituals to ensure the safety of those present; and
  • singing, chanting and the playing of wind instruments should be avoided pending further scientific and medical advice on the risks of transmission from such activities.

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