New COVID-19 legislation and guidance to 27 March

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

Church of England‡. 

Last updated: Friday 26 March, 15:11

Updated Documents:

  • 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).

Update FAQS:

  • 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

Updated Documents:

  • 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

New FAQ:

  • 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).




Other guidance and commentaries

Post last updated,  27 March at 08:52.

* 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.§

Church of England documents

For Church of England documents, the information on the document itself – date and version number – provides the best indication of the date on which it was issued

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Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "New COVID-19 legislation and guidance to 27 March" in Law & Religion UK, 22 March 2021,

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