This is the latest weekly update covering the legislation and guidance on coronavirus COVID-19, and includes events to 12 December*.
Sunday 6 December to Saturday 12 December
Law and Religion UK
- Welsh Government: guidance on singing over the Christmas period. The Welsh Government has published guidance, infra, on carol-singing and traditions such as plygain traditional Welsh carols and calennig and Mari Lwyd at the New Year. (10 December 2020). §
- Churches as vaccination centres. New CofE guidance, as below. (8 December 2020). §
- Law and religion round-up – 6 December. COVID-19 and judicial review; APPG Coronavirus.§
Church of England‡
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:§
- 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).
- COVID-19 Advice on the Administration of Holy Communion, v5.2, Updates from version 5.1: section 5 has been updated to reflect the new guidance on receiving Holy Communion in both kinds by “simultaneous administration (i.e. “intinction lite”). Surprisingly, there is no reference to gluten intolerance, highlighted in earlier guidance. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Advice on Ordinations and Consecrations, v4.4. section 22 has been updated to reflect the new guidance on receiving Holy Communion in both kinds by simultaneous administration, supra. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Restarting public worship: some legal questions and answers, v2. Updates from Version 1: Generally the document has been revised to refer to re-opening from 2nd December after the second lockdown period; the presumption is now that churches will open where possible as we have gained experience in how to make buildings ‘Covid-safe’. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Personal Risk Factors for Clergy, Church Workers and Volunteers, v2. This document was reviewed on the 4th December 2020 without significant changes being made. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Permitted Activities under the 3 Tier System, v2.1. Updates on version 2: An additional section has been added to explain about home groups or other meetings in private dwellings under the 3 tier system.
- COVID-19 NHS Test & Trace Data, v4.0. This document was reviewed on the 4th December 2020 without significant changes being made. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Livestreaming Worship, v1.1. Document checked and updated: – Text streamlined;- Link included at the end of this document to regularly updated page on the Church of England website. This is now the key point of reference for this topic area. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Advice on Individual Prayer by Members of the public in Church Buildings, v6. Updates from version 5: A new question 11 has been added to refer to arrangements for Test & Trace. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Advice on Face Coverings V3.1. Update from version 3: an additional link and paragraph in point 4 has been added to highlight the use of cards and badges for exemptions from wearing face masks. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Advice for Conducting Funerals, v5.5. Updates from version 5.4: Updated Government funeral advice was published on the 24th November and these guidance notes have been updated concerning wakes and the burial of ashes. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Advice for the conduct of Confirmation services, v4.4. Update from version 4.3: on the 2nd December the Government re-introduced the three-tier system of restrictions. Additional guidance on congregational singing has also been issued permitting singing outside and section 4 has been updated to reflect this. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Advice for clergy conducting weddings, v5.6. Updates from version 5.5: the Government introduced updated guidance on weddings following the end of the second period of lockdown restrictions on 2nd December. There has been minor changes to language used for clarity and point 5 has been updated to reflect congregational singing is now permitted outside. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Advice for Clergy Conducting Baptisms, v 4.5, Updates from version 4.4: the Government has introduced updated guidance for places of worship from the 2nd December and this document has been updated to reflect this, notably the last point in section 4 to mention that congregational singing outside is now possible. (8 December 2020).§
- COVID-19 Advice on pastoral support in the community, including care homes, v2.0. This document was reviewed on the 4th December 2020 without significant changes being made.§
Whilst Government guidance has been revised to allow certain activities to take place in church buildings, it is still vital that the necessary hygiene and social distancing precautions are kept in place in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
Other churches and faith organizations
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation and Linked Households) (England) Regulations 2020, SI 2020/1518. These regulations provide that where an individual has been notified of a requirement to self-isolate, the period of self-isolation is 10 days instead of 14, as calculated under regulation 3 of the SI 2020/1045. (In force, 14 December 2020).
- Local authority powers to impose restrictions: Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No 3) Regulations 2020, revised to include new powers that enable all local authorities to take action against specific offences where premises are not operating in a COVID-secure manner, through issuing formal requests for rapid improvement. DHSC, (updated 10 December 2020).
- Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), Performing arts – Added clarification that alcohol can served for a maximum of 60 mins in total (Local restriction tiers, section 3 and 3.9). and DDCMS. (11 December 2020).
- COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship and special religious services and gatherings during the pandemic, MHCLG. Added guidance on Celebrating religious festivals during coronavirus (COVID-19). (10 December 2020).§
- COVID-19: guidance for arranging or attending a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic. Updated with information on local restrictions from 2 December. Temporarily removed translated versions. and DHSC. (updated 10 December 2020).§
- Tier 2: High alert. DHSC. What you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 2 of local restrictions. Updated information on visiting venues and added link to guidance on which businesses and venues are permitted to be open. (8 December 2020).§
- Tier 1: Medium alert. DHSC. What you can and cannot do in an area in Tier 1 of local restrictions. Updated information on visiting venues and added link to guidance on which businesses and venues are permitted to be open. (8 December 2020).§
Singing over the festive period, Welsh Government. How sing safely over the Christmas period, including carol singing and worship services. (10 December 2020). Also see our post, supra.§
Health Protection Surveillance Centre, Dublin
Guidance for Religious Settings, Religious Services during the Holiday Season, v1.1. Addendum to: COVID-19 Guidance for Religious Services, Instruments physically blown into from mouth by player should not be used. Pipe organs can be played, as well as other non-blown instruments. In all instances, appropriate public health measures need to be in place at all times. (7 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).
Post last updated, 10 December 2020 at 14:06.
*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.
For Church of England documents, the information on the document itself – date and version number – is a better indication of the date of publication than the date/time of new documents on the CofE web site.