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.