New COVID-19 legislation and guidance to 5 December

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

  • 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.§

Church of England

    • 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:

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

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).§







  • Coronavirus Act report: November 2020. DHSC. The fourth two-monthly report on which powers in the Coronavirus Act 2020 are currently active. The act requires ministers to report every 2 months on which powers are currently active. (1 December 2020).§
  • Guidance: Tier 2: High alert. DHSC. What you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 2 of local restrictions from 2 December. (30 November 2020).
  • 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)


Other guidance

Health Protection Surveillance Centre (Ireland)

UK Hospitality (Wales)

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.

Information on COVID-19 on L&RUK

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.

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Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "New COVID-19 legislation and guidance to 5 December" in Law & Religion UK, 29 November 2020,

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