COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance

This post includes the legislation and guidance relating to COVID-19 Coronavirus from February 2020 until the present time, December 2021*; it incorporates material from the earlier versions to which more recent material has been added. The areas covered in this summary are:

Legislation and guidance

Legislation relating to coronavirus is available on the government web site, at This includes the three principal relevant primary legislative instruments, and links to secondary legislation and legislation originating in the EU containing “coronavirus” in the title. There are links to pages listing the legislation that has been changed by this primary and secondary coronavirus-related legislation. Additionally, this web page also provides links to the guidance on coronavirus in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The following areas are included in this present post:



Two key items of primary legislation contain emergency powers relating to coronavirus and health protection in England.

These regulations set out the restrictions in England:

Other restriction which have been imposed include:

From 19th July 2021 the following health protection regulations no longer have effect:


Two key items of primary legislation contain emergency powers relating to coronavirus and health protection in Wales.

These regulations set out the current restrictions in Wales.

There are three key health protection regulations that apply to everyone in Wales.

Other restriction which have been imposed include:


Four key items of primary legislation contain emergency powers relating to coronavirus and health protection in Scotland.

These regulations set out the current restrictions in Scotland.

Other restriction which have been imposed include:

Northern Ireland

Two key items of primary legislation contain emergency powers relating to coronavirus and health protection in Northern Ireland.

These regulations set out the current restrictions in Northern Ireland.

There are three key health protection regulations that apply to everyone in Northern Ireland.

Other restriction which have been imposed include:

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Other legislation with impacts on COVID-19

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Northern Ireland

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Government statements &c


Press Releases

Government takes action to mitigate workforce disruptionThe government has taken actions to mitigate workforce disruption cause by Omicron. Press Release, Cabinet Office and The Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP. (2 January 2022).

Testing measures to ensure young people return to classrooms, Press release. On-site Covid lateral flow tests for secondary pupils on return to school, with students and staff encouraged to test twice a week. DfE, DHSC, Office of the Children’s Commissioner (3 January 2021).

Prime Minister reissues call for public to get boosted and announces new critical workforce testing measures. The Prime Minister today updated the public on the government’s ongoing actions to tackle COVID-19 and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed, including implementing Plan B measures, standing up local Nightingales to create extra capacity, buying more antivirals per person than anywhere else in Europe, significantly increasing testing capacity and rolling out the vital booster programme. Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, (4 January 2021).

PM opening statement at COVID-19 press conference: 4 January 2022. Press Release. Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a COVID-19 press conference. (5 January 2022).

Confirmatory PCR tests to be temporarily suspended for positive lateral flow test results. Press Release. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announces temporary changes to confirmatory PCR tests. (5 January 2022).

PM statement to the House of Commons on COVID-19: 5 January 2022. Oral statement to Parliament. (5 January 2022).


Strengthened measures to keep Wales safe as omicron strikes, First Minister Mark Drakeford, (22 December 2021). Revised version of alert level two from Boxing Day. This will mean:

  • A general requirement of 2m social distancing in all premises open to the public and workplaces, where reasonable.
  • The rule of six will apply to gatherings in regulated premises, such as hospitality, cinemas and theatres.
  • All licensed premises will need to take additional measures to protect customers and staff, including table service and collecting contact details.
  • Face coverings will be required in hospitality settings at all times apart from when seated.
  • Large events will not be allowed indoors or outdoors. The maximum number of people who can gather at an indoor event will be 30 and 50 outdoors.

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Case law

  • R (Hussain) v Secretary of State for Health & Social Care [2020] EWHC 1392 (Admin)
  • R (Cripps Barn Group Ltd) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2020] EWHC (Admin) [unreported].
  • Dolan & Ors v Secretary of State for Health And Social Care & Anor [2020] EWHC 1786 (Admin), [See Article 9 challenges to the COVID-19 lockdown in England: R (Hussain) and Dolan , (8 July 2020)].
  • E (Vaccine) [2021] EWCOP 7 (20 January 2021) Court of Protection held that a woman in her 80s living in care home, who does not have mental capacity to decide, should receive the Covid-19 vaccine. Her son objected on grounds of his scepticism about its efficacy.
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v AH [2021] EWCOP 64. A 56 year old woman described by doctors as “the most complex COVID patient in the world” should have ventilation withdrawn and be allowed to die, a second High Court judge has ruled after her family successfully appealed against the original decision.
  • X v Y  [2021] UKET 2413947/2020. Reserved judgment. Employee had refused to return to work, believing that her fear of catching Covid was protected under the Equality Act.Tribunal finds that fear of contracting Covid is not a protected philosophical belief under s10 of the Equality Act. [See L&RUK round-up for 26 December 2021].
  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust v AH [2021] EWCOP 64. See COVID-19 and end of life care: AH, infra

Church of England

Advice and guidance

Church of England

Updated: Tuesday 25 January, 13.30

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, has thanked parishes and the public for their sacrifices as England lifts plan B measures from Thursday 27 January,

Updated documents:

Update: Thursday 20`January, 15:30

Following the Health Secretary’s announcement that England will to return to Plan A from Thursday 27 January, The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who leads the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group, said:

“We note the Government’s announcement regarding the ending of Plan B measures from next week and will review our advice as soon as detailed guidance is published.”

Update: Friday 10 December, 15:11

Latest Information (formerly FAQs – scroll down on CofE web page).

  • What is the current guidance for opening and managing churches?
  • How do we keep buildings well ventilated in winter?
  • Will churches use vaccine certification vaccine passports?
  • How do I get a flu vaccine?
  • How can we complete a risk assessment for our church building?
  • What guidance is there for pastoral visiting now to individual homes and care homes?
  • How should we use NHS test and trace?
  • How can I contribute to vaccination equity campaigns?
  • How can I get a lateral flow test?
  • Is there guidance on live streaming from church buildings?
  • Copyright issues for live streaming
  • What resources are available to support mental health and emotional well-being?
  • What evidence is there for keeping the church clean?
  • Is there guidance on how we can hold our PCC meeting or APCM?


Current Guidance

Current Resources

The below Marking our communities resources have been prepared by The Liturgical Commission:

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Other churches and faith organizations

Church in Wales



Risk assessment templates

Scottish Episcopal Church

Church of Scotland

Roman Catholic Church EW

Association of British Choral Directors

Royal School of Church Music (RSCM)

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR)

List of the posts on L&RUK


January 2022


December 2021 

November 2021

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

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February 2021

January 2021


December 2020

November 2020

October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

  • Coronavirus: contingency planning and legislation. Diocese of London Guidance note in the event of Pandemic Virus; “Much of the current advice from the Church of England is based upon the premise that there is no immediate risk or need for action, but suggests that it is as well to be prepared for what might happen”.(29 February 2020).
  • Law and religion round-up – 23rd February. Legal status of national and diocesan requirements. The advice falls within the ordinary jurisdiction of the Bishop, and the exact details vary between dioceses. Those in the Peterborough Ad Clerum are amongst the most comprehensive and most prescriptive, but nevertheless contain a mix of mandatory and permissive language. “The Church of England advice was last updated on 20 February”. (23 February 2020).
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) – latest news. “Still nothing much to do with law – or at least, only marginally so – but…”, Hmm. (14 February 2020).
  • Diocese of London advice on coronavirus – updated. Diocese of London Guidance note in the event of Pandemic Virus from the  Archdeacon of London, principally about the risks of infection arising from the administration of Holy Communion. (1  February 2020).

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L&RUK Updates

See also L&RUK weekly round-ups in list of the posts, supra. In view of the reduction in the amount of legislation and guidance by August 2021, from September these updated are issued on a monthly basis. New material is added to COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance as before. 



Monthly updates: September 2021 to present

Weekly updates: 1 August 2020 to 21 August 2021

  • 15 August to 21 August: Minor changes to legislation and guidance.
  • 8 August to 14 August: Travel restrictions and changes to self-isolation.
  • 1 August to 7 August: Church in Wales update for Alert Level Zero; Masks in Scotland from 9 August.
  • 25 July to 31 July: CofE Q&A added “What is the Church of England’s position on ‘vaccine passports’?”; CofE Recovery Group formally concluded.
  • 18 July to 24 July: New legislation and guidance for Step 4 in England.
  • 11 July to 17 July. Legislation and guidance in anticipation of Step 4 (England).
  • 4 July to 10 July: Anticipated changes for Step 4 (England).
  • 27 June to 3 July. Weddings, travel arrangements; admission to faith schools.
  • 20 June to 26 June.  Amendments to travel regulations, (England); revised regulation for person responsible for “regulated premises”, (Wales); variations on social distancing, (Scotland); Guidance for outdoor weddings in England.
  • 13 June to 20 June. New legislation and guidance for changes to Step 3 in England, relaxation of singing provisions in Wales (though with some strange aspects).
  • 7 June to 12 June. Includes government response to e-petition.
  • 30 May to 6 June. Updates from Association of British Choral Directors  and CCCBR.
  • 23 May to 29 May. Various guidance on Step 3 in England
  • 16 May to 22 May. Various guidance on Step 3 in England.
  • 9 May to 15 May. Various guidance on further easing of COVID restrictions confirmed for 17 May.
  • 2 May to 8 May. Press Notice on relaxation of numbers in funerals in England.
  • 25 April to 1 May. Relaxation of restrictions in Wales, RSCM update on singing.
  • 18 April to 24 April. Changes to NI legislation, CofE guidance on APCMs.
  • 11 April to 17 April. On going, including England move to “Step 2” are; COVID-19 advice for Ramadan.
  • 4 April to 10 April. COVID-19 arrangements and funeral of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
  • 28 March to 3 April. Updated guidance from CofE and CinW.
  • 21 March to 27 March. Guidance for Holy Week and Easter.
  • 14 March to 20 March. Weddings in England: “Step 2” relaxation of lockdown, Statement by UK Weddings Taskforce; places of worship and the latest Welsh Regulations; Guidance for Ramadan; extension of regulations in Wales and Scotland.
  • 7 March to 13 March, Easing the lockdown in Scotland Easing the lockdown in England; Marriage law: forthcoming events; Book launch.
  • 28 February to Saturday 6 March. And in Quires and Places where they sing (or not)….
  • 21 February to 27 February. COVID-19: easing the lockdown in England & Scotland Reopening churches in Scotland; Review of coronavirus legislation; The EU Council, COVID-19 and human rights; An illegal religious gathering in Nottingham?
  • 14 February to 20 February. COVID-19 and closure of churches in Scotland, Noli me tangere.
  • 7 February to 13 February. St Valentine and COVID-19; Closure of churches in Scotland
  • 31 January to 6 February 2021. Changes to NI legislation.
  • 24 January to 30 January. COVID-19 legislation; Closure of churches in Scotland – déjà-vu.
  • 17 January to 23 January. Closing places of worship in Scotland; Opening places of worship in Scotland; Church of England services in Lent, Holy Week and Easter: 2021; Guernsey in lockdown; General Synod Meetings 2021, House of Bishops Meeting.
  • 10 January to 16 January. Safe use of places of worship; Church of England – updated guidance on COVID-19.
  • 3 January to 9 January. Suspending public worship: – England; – Northern Ireland; and – Scotland. Continuing Public Worship – Wales.


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* Material from the Coronavirus updates – index  and subsequent versions have been incorporated, in a revised form, into this post. A copy of the version as at 16 December 21:46 is here.

The latest additions are added at the end of each group of items, with the exception of those from the Church of England, which reflect the order of the guidance documents on the Church’s web pages.

Post last updated, 21January 2022 at 14:57. 

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance" in Law & Religion UK, 16 September 2020,


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