England lockdown – 5 November to 2 December

Following the Prime Minister’s statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 31 October 2020 this evening, the Cabinet Office published Guidance New National Restrictions from 5 November, extracts of which are reproduced below. The  PM has confirmed that on Wednesday, the House of Commons will debate and vote on these measures which, if passed, will come into force on Thursday. The SI cannot be laid until Monday at the earliest, although it has been indicated that publication may be on Tuesday. A further summary is given in the Press Release issued by No 10.

The Church of England has made an initial statement pending a review of the detailed regulations and further liaison with Government departments to offer clarity to churches. The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales has issued Statement from the President and the Vice-President of the Conference on the Prime Minister’s Statement which questions the banning of communal worship and asks the Government to produce the evidence that justifies its decision.

 New National Restrictions from 5 November

“…from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, the Government is taking the following action:

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  2. Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  3. Closing certain businesses and venues.

These new measures have been carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in growth in the number of cases, preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed, whilst ensuring that schools, colleges and universities stay open and that as many people as possible continue to work.

Until Thursday 5 November, the relevant Local Covid Alert Level measures will continue to apply in the area where you live.

The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December. At the end of the period, we will look to return to a regional approach, based on the latest data.”

5. Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.

Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:

  • Funerals
  • To broadcast acts of worship
  • Individual prayer
  • Formal childcare or where part of a school
  • Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
  • Other exempted activities such as some support groups

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "England lockdown – 5 November to 2 December" in Law & Religion UK, 31 October 2020, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2020/10/31/england-lockdown-5-november-to-2-december/


8 thoughts on “England lockdown – 5 November to 2 December

  1. Ashes are not scattered in churchyards. The interment is the final part of the funeral service as much as is the burial of a body. Lack of understanding on the part of the government here.

    • The Cabinet Office Guidance is not specific to the Church of England. The scattering of ashes is discouraged by the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. The “scattering” of ashes is not permitted in CofE ecclesiastical law although, but “strewing” is allowed, for which permission is normally through the incumbent. “Strewing” is pouring of the ashes directly into the ground, or directly onto the ground before immediately covering them over with earth.

  2. So, extraordinarily, no mention by the Prime Minister in his TV statement, nor any reference in the Cabinet Office Guidance issued this evening, to Remembrance Sunday, just a week away and three days after the lockdown takes effect. From para 3 of the Guidance (‘Meeting with family and friends’), it would appear that even outdoor gatherings around the local war memorial on Remembrance Sunday will be illegal (“You can… visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or 1 person from another household.) Was Boris just too afraid to admit that? MPs will no doubt have something to say about this in the debate on Wednesday.

  3. This is outrageous. The risk of transmission of the virus at my church was already negligible, even before the first lockdown, compared with the risk at the supermarket, or in schools. The duty to educate children falls onto parents. State education, an alternative to home-schooling that has become something of a mixed blessing nowadays, was only ever a mechanism for improving standards, especially for talented children of less-educated parents and of parents who busied themselves too much, providing a (loosely) science-based method of comparing one school-leaver with another when they were competing for jobs, achieving economies of scale, and procuring a social life for children more easily hopefully leading to more respect and social cohesion that crossed the barriers between diverse faith communities.

    Banning church on this pretext is like throwing out the baby, keeping the bathwater.

    This time, they’ll not get away with it without legal challenges galore, I hope.

  4. Pingback: COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance (II) | Law & Religion UK

  5. I’m a bit confused whether 2nd December is included in the lockdown or not. Will the lockdown finish at 00:01 or 23:59 on the 2nd December?

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