COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance

This post includes:

All the material on the earlier Coronavirus updates – index was transferred to this post on 20 August 2020 at 18:04, to which further updates will now be added.

This page was last updated on 25 November at 14:26.

List of the posts


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  • 200229 – 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”.
  • 200223 – 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”.
  • 200214 – Coronavirus (COVID-19) – latest news. “Still nothing much to do with law – or at least, only marginally so – but…”, Hmm
  • 200201 – 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.

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Weekly updates

See also L&RUK weekly round-ups in list of the posts, supra. 

  • 26 July to 1 August – local lockdowns on several areas of Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, including Blackburn and Bradford.
  • 2 August to 8 August – Wearing face coverings from  8 August, in England and Scotland; Church of England General Synod.
  • 9 August to 15 August – Church of Scotland and COVID-19; Wedding and civil partnership receptions in England; Individual cups for Holy Communion; Singing in churches; Pipe organs in Wales.
  • 16 August to 22 August – COVID-19 and religious services in Scotland; revision of L&RUK pages on coronavirus legislation and guidance; developments on singing in church and PERFORM port; special session of General Synod on virtual sessions.
  • 23 August to 29 August –  COVID-19 and: bellringing; singing; full immersion baptism; L&RUK coverage; employees targeted by COVID-19 legislation; fake COVID-19 protection kits.
  • 30 August to 5 September – Individual cups for Holy Communion; Aerosol and droplet generation.
  • 6 September to 12 September  – New social distancing rules; Coronavirus and the Curtailment of Religious Liberty: A Global Review.
  • 13 September to 19 September – “Rule of Six”; COVID-19 in Ireland.
  • 20 September to 26 September – QR codes for “NHS Test and Trace”; Virtual sittings of C of E General Synod.
  • 27 September to 3 October – 4 October to 10 October – Humanist wedding ceremonies and COVID-19; Church of Scotland: virtual General Assembly.
  • 4 October to 10 October – COVID-19: increased restrictions in Ireland.
  • 11 October to 17 October. Initial comment on “three-tier” restrictions.
  • 18 October to 24 October. Updated CofE for “three-tier” restrictions; Wales “circuit break” introduction.
  • 25 October to 31 October, announcement of England lock-down.
  • 1 November to 7 November, Reopening of places of worship in Wales; Charity Commission: updated guidance on COVID-19; Charity meetings in Wales, General Synod (Remote Meetings) Measure 2020; Church of England and Archbishops’ web, sites.
  • 8 November to 14 November, Welsh Government guidance
  • 15 November to 21 November, COVID-19: challenging the lockdown
  • 22 November to 28 November, COVID-19 and Christmas in England…in Scotland…and Northern Ireland.
  • 29 November to 5 December, on-going.

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Church of England

Advice and guidance

The Church’s website has produced a number of FAQs which are available at Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches which was last updated on Monday 12 October at 16:48. The FAQs are under the following headings, which are subject to change according to circumstance:

  • What to do in the event of a local outbreak [2]
  • Prayer and worship [16]
  • Life events [8]
  • Community Support [3]
  • Fabric and building maintenance [6]
  • Finance and governance [3]
  • Schools, nurseries and youth provision [5]
  • General [11]

These FAQs do not have unique URLs and some scrolling in therefore necessary. However, there is an internal link to “FAQs” and a “Version log” which lists updates made to the page from Wednesday 27 May at 10:40, with the most recent listed first. 

On Monday 09 November at 13.17, the church issues this Important notification:

  • Q&A which are not applicable during second lockdown have been removed
  • All documents have been left live for reference, but please note that advice contained within may not be relevant during lockdown. We have marked individual documents which contain guidance which is not relevant during lockdown (as “(non-current)” against the link to the document).

FAQs were last updated on Thursday 12 November at 16:29.

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Documents issued by the Church of England are available at Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches. The dates below relate to the date on the document, not the date on which it was released, which may be a couple of days later. Where the document is an updated version of an earlier one, only the current version is listed below. Documents issued by dioceses &c are marked . Other documents are marked §.

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Other churches and faith organizations

This section is being populated with advice and guidance from churches other than the Church of England.

Church of Scotland

There is a wide range of advice from the Church of Scotland:

Scottish Episcopal Church

Churches in Wales

Roman Catholic EW

Methodist Church

On 30 September, the Methodist Church issued an update of its Coronavirus Guidance for Property. Other guidance includes:

Other churches

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Legislation and guidance

Legislation relating to coronavirus, some of which is listed below, is available at This includes the three principal relevant primary legislatives 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.

As at 31 August 2020, in addition to the three items of primary legislation, there were 345 items of secondary legislation relating to various aspects of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, and 45 legislative measures originating in the EU: one Directive, 32 Regulations and 14 Decisions. Only links to those SIs of most relevance to law and religion are reproduced below. Although local lockdown provisions are included since they concern marriage and funeral services, instruments concerning international travel are not.


Secondary Legislation – England

[Note: Changes introduced by SI 2020/684 have been consolidated into the Latest Available (Revised) version of the Principal Regulations, SI 2020/986, although the Original (As made) version is also accessible. 

Local lockdown restrictions


England – Guidance

The DHSC has published Local restrictions: areas with an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) with information on local COVID alert levels and the BBC has Local lockdown rules: Check Covid restrictions in your area.

Secondary Legislation – Wales

Guidance – Wales

Secondary Legislation – Scotland

Secondary Legislation – Northern Ireland

Local lockdown restrictions

Guidance and Statements

General, country-specific guidance relating to COVID-19 is available for UK, ScotlandWales, and Northern Ireland. More specific guidance and relevant Press Releases are listed below.

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Other advice and guidance

Royal School of Church Music


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

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