This is the latest rolling weekly update covering the legislation and guidance on coronavirus COVID-19 during the week commencing 21 March 2021*.
Sunday 21 March to Saturday 27 March 2021
Law and Religion UK
- COVID-19: New MHCLG guidance on singing Updated COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship and which now includes the following advice relating to singing, (26 March 2021).
- COVID-19: reopening places of worship in Scotland Following Philip & Ors for Judicial Review of the closure of places of worship in Scotland infra, places of worship in Scotland will be able to open with immediate effect if they wish to do so, and the relevant Regulations have made the necessary changes to the law. (25 March 2021).
- COVID-19: was the closure of places of worship in Scotland lawful? Philip & Ors (24 March 2021).
- Law and religion round-up – 21 March 2021 . No COCID-19 items apart from reminder from Regulators’ Code on Legislation and Guidance (2014).
Church of England‡.
- COVID-19 Advice on the Conduct of Public Worship, v3. Update on version 2.8: on the 26th March the Government updated its guidance for places of worship reflecting the next step in the Government’s four step plan. This document has been updated to reflect that particularly with singing (18). (26 March 2021).
- COVID-19 Advice for clergy conducting weddings, v6.0. Updates from version 5.6: this document has been edited following the publication of the Government’s four step plan for coming out of lockdown on the 22nd February and further guidance on for weddings published on the 22nd March. (26 March 2021).
- Is singing permitted? in the Prayer and Worship section
- Can weddings go ahead? in Life Events section
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally said: “We are grateful to the Government for clarity on guidance for singing as we head into Holy Week and Easter. From Palm Sunday, congregations will be able to sing in the church grounds, and a small group of singers may now sing indoors. This will allow churches and cathedrals to plan their worship to help online and in-person congregations to mark the journey of the Passion and resurrection – a journey of hope, while making local arrangements to ensure transmission risk is minimised.”
Update: Thursday 25 March, 13:37
- COVID-19 Permitted Activities under national ‘Step’ Regulation, V.1 Replaces the document called ‘COVID-19 Permitted Activities under national lockdown rules’, the most recent version of which (version 3.1) was issued on 7th January 2021. The information summarizes how national regulations which come into force on 29th March 2021 affect various church-related activities. (25 March 2021).
- COVID-19 Advice for Services during Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, v2. Changes from Version 1: amendments to reflect the rules from 29 March. (25 March 2021).
- Risk assessment template for opening church buildings, v9. This update has been reviewed to reflect the roadmap to ease restrictions issued by the UK government and is intended for use from 29th March onwards (‘phase 1b’). It incorporates sections on singing, workplace testing, and planning for wider use of buildings including for non-worship purposes. At all times churches should check national and, if relevant, local restrictions to ensure the activity planned is currently permitted. Risk assessments carried out using an earlier template may still be valid but should be reviewed regularly and checked against this latest version of the risk assessment. (25 March 2021).
- Risk assessment Template for Outdoor Worship, This update has been reviewed to reflect the roadmap to ease restrictions issued by the UK government and is intended for use from 29th March onwards (‘phase 1b’), v supra. (25 March 2021).
Update: Monday 22 March, 14.55
- How can we contribute to vaccination equity campaigns?
- How can I get a lateral flow test?
Read about VaccinAid, a campaign launched by Unicef and Crowdfunder, which aims to deliver 2.5 billion vaccines globally and which the Church of England helped to bring about
Scottish Episcopal Church
- Bishops’ statement on re-opening of churches, “We cannot accept that this Sunday, those who can reach a church building are worshipping while those still unable to mix with others, but who join them online, are not worshipping…We disagree with the claim made during Judicial Review that these commitments do not represent worship“. (26 March 2021).
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/364 and Explanatory Memorandum. These Regulations impose restrictions on gatherings and businesses in England. Areas specified in Part 1 of Schedule 4 (those areas in Step 1) are subject to the restrictions set out in Schedule 1. Areas specified in Part 2 of Schedule 4 (those areas in Step 2) are subject to the restrictions in Schedule 2. Areas specified in Part 3 of Schedule 4 (those areas in Step 3) are subject to the restrictions set out in Schedule 3. The provisions for each Step include restrictions on a person’s right to participate in gatherings, and restrictions on business. The restrictions are at their most severe in Step 1. The restrictions on businesses include the closure of certain businesses, and restrictions on the service of food and drink for consumption on the premises of a business. The Regulations also impose restrictions on leaving the United Kingdom without a reasonable excuse (regulation 8).
Adam Wagner: Table of COVID-19 Lockdown Regulations. (22 March 2021).
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 18) Regulations 2021, SSI 2021/166. These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 (“the Local Levels Regulations”).
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 18) Amendment Regulations 2021, SSI 2021/168. These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 18) Regulations 2021 (“the principal regulations”), with the effect that the amendments made by the principal regulations in relation to places of worship are to come into force on 25 March 2021.