Face-coverings in places of worship: update

The Prime Minister has announced plans to make face coverings mandatory in places of worship from 8 August and has withdrawn guidance to permit indoor professional performances, with immediate effect.

The Church of England has responded by updating its Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches yet again. The updated version promises a more considered version in due course:

“We will study detailed government regulations and guidance once they are available and will update our guidance accordingly.

In the meantime, we continue to strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.”

The Guide for face-coverings from the Methodist Church, updated on 28 July, already says this:

“Although it is not mandatory, the use of face coverings should be considered as a mitigation to virus transfer in your overall assessment of risk. It should not be seen as a substitute for other measures such as social distancing, but could be an additional consideration. The decision to insist upon face coverings in church buildings, in whatever setting, still lies with Managing Trustees who are able to assess this in their specific settings. Within this guidance though, where the decision is taken to ask for face coverings to be worn, this approach would be supported.” [emphasis added].

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