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 Friday 5 March at 18:54.

List of the posts on L&RUK

February 2021

January 2021



[Top of page]


[Top of page]


[Top of page]


[Top of page]


[Top of page]


[Top of page]


[Top of page]


[Top of page]


[Top of page]


  • 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.

[Top of page]

Weekly updates

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

[Top of page]

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 . The FAQs are under the following headings, which are subject to change according to circumstances.  :

  • General,  Current issues, [5]
  • Prayer and worship [8]
  • Life events [3]
  • Community Support [5]
  • Fabric and building access [7]
  • Schools, nurseries and youth provision [1]
  • Finance and governance [2]
  • Safety, safeguarding and wellbeing [6]

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. 

Update: Thursday 04 March, 12.15

New FAQ:

  • What are the stages of the Government Roadmap? This refers to the document below and states: “We will provide more advice about how this will affect worship and other church activities as we receive information from government. These pages will be reviewed and updated as the changes come into effect.”

New Document:

    • Four step government roadmap. Based upon the Government’s Reopening Roadmap, published on 22 February 2021 [incorrect date on graphics].

Updated: Monday 22 February, 17.35

  • Following the Prime Minister’s statement to the Commons outlining the Government’s spring response, The Bishop of London has responded. The advice on this page will be reviewed and updated as changes come into effect.

Updated: Thursday 19 January, 10:11

Updated documents: Thursday 14 January  2021, 11:52

Updated: Tuesday 12 January, 17:44

Updated documents:

Udated:Tuesday 12 January, 10.01

Updated/New FAQ:

  • Is singing permitted? (in Prayer and worship) – further update in light of amended Government Guidance. [Note: Government guidance was amended twice on 11 January 2021].

Monday 11 January, 14.50

  • Updated/New FAQ:
    • Is singing permitted?  – further update in light of amended Government Guidance (in Prayer and worship)
    • Should I work if I’m clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)? (in Safety, safeguarding & wellbeing)

Last updated: Friday 8 January at 11:49

Updated documents:

COVID-19 Permitted Activities under national lockdown rules, V3.1. 7 January 2021.

Updated/New FAQ:

    • Can we host children’s group? [Under Community support]
    • Can weddings go ahead? [Under Life Events].

Updated: Wednesday 6 January at 16:20 Updated documents:

Updated/New FAQ:

  • What is permitted during lockdown? [Under FAQs].
  • What do we need to do if we have decided to suspend public worship? [Under FAQs].
  • Can churches be used as vaccination centres? [Under FAQs].
  • Can funerals go ahead? [Under Life Events].
  • Can weddings go ahead? [Under Life Events].

Read a response from the Bishop of London to the Prime Minister’s statement outlining new restrictions in England. The advice on this page will be reviewed in the coming days in line with Government guidance. We have streamlined the advice on this page, and will continue to review advice documents in light of Government guidance.

Updated Tuesday 22 December at 16:59

Read updated Government guidance:

Updated FAQs:

  • Can carol singing or carol services take place this Christmas? in the Singing, Carol Services & key Christmas considerations section
  • What is permitted in my tier? in the Singing, Carol Services & key Christmas considerations section
  • Who can attend church as part of a Christmas bubble (25 December) in the Singing, Carol Services & key Christmas considerations section
  • Can weddings and funerals go ahead? in the Life Events section

Monday 21 December at 16:02

Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Saturday a new Tier 4 level of restrictions is now in place. The latest Government guidance is here and specific guidance for those in Tier 4 areas is here. We await further updated guidance for Places of Worship and will share it here when available.

New Advice for clinically extremely vulnerable in new Tier 4 areas has been published.

Read a Church of England response to updated coronavirus guidance in response to the Prime Minister’s statement about Christmas arrangements, as updated Sunday 20 December at 12:42].

Updated documents:

Diocese of Oxford

Wednesday 09 December at 17:54.

Following the publication of the government’s COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship from 2 December, (updated 1 December 2020), the following updates have been made:

New Documents

  • COVID-19: opening cathedral and church buildings to the public, v.5. Updates from version 4: References to the tier system; Updated links to all government and Church of England guidance. (9 December 2020).
  • COVID-19 Vaccines update December 2020, v.1, a “short briefing note [which] addresses some questions that are likely to emerge”. Whilst most useful in a pastoral context, it does address the questions of: “Will we able to stop wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing etc?” [Answer, ‘No’]; and “Should parishes offer their church buildings or church halls as vaccination centres?” [Answer, ‘While some church properties might be suitable, many will not’]. (8 December 2020).
  • COVID-19 Churches as vaccination centres, v1, Sets out some of the logistical issues that churches might consider when deciding if their buildings could be appropriate centres. See our post, supra. (8 December 2020).

Updated Documents

On Monday 09 November at 13:17, the church issued 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 updated on Thursday 12 November at 16:29.

Sunday 29 November. New FAQs added following the publication of  the Government’s Guidance for the Christmas Period:

  • Can carol singing or carol services take place this Christmas?
  • Are nativity plays possible in church?

Also, a Statement from the Bishop of London, with reference to government Guidance in the early hours of Sunday; the addition of a special tag to A Church Near You for each church to list services and events taking place outdoors; Church of England Covid-19 advice for churches and Government guidance on carols and nativity plays.

Tuesday 01 December at 12:22

The Government has published its Places of Worship guidance including rules applicable from 2 December. We are reviewing our advice in light of this and will update our Q&A and documentation as soon as possible.

Ad Clerum, Holy Communion letter and guidance from the Archbishops to All Clergy, incorporating COVID-19 Receiving Holy Communion in both kinds by simultaneous administration, v 1.1 from The House of Bishops Recovery Group. (1 December).

Wednesday 2 December  at 18:45§

Following the publication of the Government’s guidance for Places of Worship, the following updates have been made, which are described in more detail here:

New/updated Q&A

  • Can carol singing or carol services take place this Christmas?
  • What is permitted in my tier?
  • Who can attend church as part of a Christmas Bubble?
  • Can churches hold services of worship?
  • What guidance is available for Holy Communion?
  • Can weddings and funerals go ahead?

New Documents:

Updated Documents:

Diocese of Oxford

  • e-news 11 February and information posted on 3 February 2021 on 2021 Annual Parochial Church Meetings. Bishop Steven has signed an instrument which extends to 31 July the period that APCMs can be held this year, with the option of them being held either physically (as restrictions allow) or online.

[Top of page]


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 §.

Association of English Cathedrals (AEC) 

[Top of page]

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

Northern Ireland

UK Hospitality (Wales)

Roman Catholic EW

Methodist Church

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

Baptist Church

Other churches

Muslim Council of Britain

Health Protection Surveillance Centre (Ireland)

[Top of page]

Legislation and guidance

Legislation relating to coronavirus, some of which is listed below, is available 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.

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



  • 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.

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

Isle of Man

Local lockdown restrictions

Isle of Man

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.



Cytûn’s web page has been updated to take account of this new guidance – Welsh Government guidance regarding community centres has not yet been updated, but they can currently open only to provide essential voluntary services and public services. Further guidance on this is on the Cytûn website.

[Top of Page]

Other advice and guidance

Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Dublin

Royal School of Church Music

Historical Religious Buildings Alliance


  • Coronavirus (COVID-19), Standing Guidance: Guidance for E, W, S, NI, RoI. The guidance for ringing for children’s groups has been updated in the light of the introduction of the new Tier 4. In England, the Government guidance that allows the running of activities for children in out-of-school settings specifically excludes Tier 4, so young ringers groups can only operate in Tiers 1-3. Updated 27 December 2020.
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19). (21 December 2020).
  • Christmas ringing and Tier 4 – England. ( 21 December 2020).
  • Christmas ringing – England. Agreement with HoB Covid Recovery Team that an exception should be made to the current ringing guidance across all Tiers in England for those bands that wish to ring for services over Christmas, in the period where the household restrictions are also being lifted. This will allow bells to be rung for key services including those on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and also for the 6pm Christmas Eve ringing. (8 December 2020).
  • CCCBR: Updated guidance, There has been no change in guidance since the 8th November update.
  • CCCBR: Update 23 OctoberFollowing further discussions with the Church of England Recovery Group, there is no longer a blanket restriction on ringing in Tiers 2 and 3 in England.
  • CCCBR: England – Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions,
  • CCCBR, Guidance Notes, as at 9 October 2020; next update on Monday 19th October.
  • CCCBR, Stewardship & Management Workgroup, When We Ring Again, 29 May 2020.
  • Scottish Association of Change Ringers, (SACR): Covid-19 Guidance, 18 July.

Bar Council

  • Coronavirus advice and updates. The Bar Council is keeping the coronavirus situation under constant review. This information is updated regularly to reflect the most recent guidance for the Bar. (4 January 2021).

[Top of page]

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

3 thoughts on “COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance

  1. Pingback: New COVID-19 legislation and guidance to 14 November | Law & Religion UK

  2. Pingback: New COVID-19 legislation and guidance to 19 December | Law & Religion UK

  3. Pingback: New COVID-19 legislation and guidance to 26 December | Law & Religion UK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *