This is the latest weekly update covering the legislation and guidance on coronavirus COVID-19, and includes events to 5 December, see below.
Sunday 29 November to Saturday 5 December
In the House of Commons on 1 December, England’s new tiered system of coronavirus restrictions [SI 2020/ 1374, infra] was approved by 291 votes to 78; 55 Conservative MPs appeared to have voted against the measures and a further 16 abstained.
On Wednesday 2 December at 18:45, the Church of England published new guidance: 6 new/updated FAQs; 3 new documents; and 5 updated documents. See below.
Law and Religion UK
- COVID-19: revised Regulations for Wales At 6 pm Friday 4 December, revised Regulations (as yet unpublished) will come into force in Wales. (3 December 2020).§
COVID-19: New Church of England guidance. Details of new guidance from the Church. (3 December 2020). §
- COVID-19: Communal worship from 2 December. The Diocese of Oxford has circulated a comprehensive update on the latest position in relation to COVID-19, which we reproduced, with permission, (1 December 2020).§
- New COVID-19 legislation and guidance to 5 December, (first posted 29 November). An early start to our weekly rolling update of legislation and guidance on coronavirus COVID-19, including links to the government’s mid-night issue of “Guidance for the Christmas Period”, and the Church of England’s statement “Outdoor congregational carol singing permitted in all tiers”, containing several useful links.§
- Law and religion round-up – 29 November. COVID-19 and Christmas in England…in Scotland…and Northern Ireland.§
Church of England
- 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).§
Following the publication of the Government’s guidance for Places of Worship, the following updates have been made:
- 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?
Diocese of Oxford
- 30 November: Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest. A comprehensive and timely update. This is reproduced in a post, supra, with permission.§
Other churches and faith organizations
Roman Catholic Church EW
Update on COVID-19 and Vaccination “…At present, debate concerns the use of the vaccines developed by Pfizer & BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. Some have questioned the use of the Astra Zeneca vaccine since it has been developed from cell-lines originating from the cells of an aborted foetus in 1983. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Academy of Life have expressed the view that one may in good conscience and for a grave reason receive a vaccine sourced in this way, provided that there is a sufficient moral distance between the present administration of the vaccine and the original wrongful action. In the COVID-19 pandemic, we judge that this grave reason exists and that one does not sin by receiving the vaccine”. (3 December 2020).§
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Local Authority Enforcement Powers and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020, SI 2020/1375. There is also an Explanatory Memorandum. Part 2 of these Regulations enable local authority designated officers to issue notices to people who are contravening or have contravened various statutory provisions in place to minimise exposure to Coronavirus. Part 3 of these Regulations make various amendments to existing Regulations made under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, and related savings provisions.§
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers)(England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/1374. There is also an Explanatory Memorandum. These Regulations impose restrictions on gatherings and on businesses in England. Areas which are not specified in Schedule 4 are subject to the restrictions set out in Schedule 1. Areas specified in Part 1 of Schedule 4 (those areas in Tier 2) are subject to the restrictions set out in Schedule 2. Areas specified in Part 2 of Schedule 4 (those areas in Tier 3) are subject to the restrictions in Schedule 3. The restrictions on businesses include the imposition of restricted hours for certain businesses and closure of certain businesses. The need for the restrictions in these Regulations must be reviewed by the Secretary of State every 28 days.§
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 6) Regulations 2020 SSI 2020/415. Regulation 3 adds a new regulation 3B into the principal regulations to modify the application of the principal regulations during the period from and including 23 December 2020 to 27 December 2020.§
The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 4) (Wales) Regulations 2020, SI 2020/1219, (W.276). Coming into force on 9 December 2020. Restrictions in Wales, and on entering and leaving Wales.§
- Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons on coronavirus regulations: 1 December 2020. Prime Minister, No 10. (1 December 2020).
- COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship from 2 December. MHCLG. (Updated, 1 December 2020). “If a place of worship is being used as a venue for rehearsing or performing, you should follow the performing arts guidance“.§
- . DHSC. What you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 1 of local restrictions from 2 December. (30 November 2020). Tier 1: Medium alert
- . DHSC. What you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 2 of local restrictions from 2 December. (30 November 2020). Tier 2: High alert
- . DHSC. What you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 3 of local restrictions from 2 December. (30 November 2020). Tier 3: Very High alert
- Guidance for the Christmas Period. Cabinet Office. Includes: Visiting churches and other places of worship; Attending events, including performances and Christmas lighting ceremonies; Carol singing; Attending events organised by schools and other education settings, including nativity plays; Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals. (29 November 2020)
- COVID-19: Restrictions in place for hospitality settings from 18:00 on Friday 4th December. Welsh Government. (1 December 2020)§
Health Protection Surveillance Centre (Ireland)
- Guidance for Religious Settings This notes that all HPSC guidance should be read and interpreted in conjunction with the Government’s Framework of Restrictions. This includes:§
- Government Guidance (2 and 3 December 2020)
Royal School of Church Music
- COVID-19: Guidance for Safe Group Music-making in Church UPDATE: This paper now reflects the move from Lockdown 2 in England to changes coming into effect from 12.01am on Wednesday 2nd December in the UK, and in our understanding covers the whole of December. (30 November 2020)
§ – item to be added to COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance.
Post last updated, 5 December 2020 at 09:44.
These updates are published at the start of each week; they are not reissued, but new items are added throughout the week as they become available, providing a “rolling update” of the latest developments during the current week. They are also added to COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance which is the main source of information; those items in the weekly updates yet to be added are marked “§“. The updates for the earlier weeks are here.