On 3 August, the Scottish government announced that the legal requirement for physical distancing and limits on gatherings will be removed on 9 August when all venues across Scotland are able to re-open. However, some protective measures will stay in place, and these are detailed in The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2021, SSI 2021/227, extracts of which, relevant to places of worship, are summarized below.
The Regulations come into force on 9 August 2021 and set out continuing requirements which apply in Scotland as a result of coronavirus, and revoke the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, SSI 2020.334.
“indoors” means a place which would be considered to be wholly or substantially enclosed for the purposes of section 4(2) of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005(3) under the Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006(4), and “outdoors” is to be construed accordingly,
“live event” means an event or activity which brings individuals together for the purpose of community, culture, sport, recreation, entertainment, art or business but does not include—(a) an event or activity which relates to a funeral, marriage ceremony or civil partnership,
“premises” includes any building or structure and any land,
“public place” means a place to which the public, or a section of the public, has access whether on payment or otherwise,
A person who is responsible for a relevant hospitality premises or relevant entertainment premises is required to take measures to obtain and record visitor information, in a suitable filing system, for a period of at least 21 days. Regulation 3 does not apply to those responsible for places of worship, although they must have regard for the guidance issued, Regulation 4 infra.
4.—(1) A person who is responsible for a place of worship, carrying on a business or providing a service must have regard to guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers about measures to minimise risk of exposure to coronavirus relating to its premises, business or service.
(2) Guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers may—(a) make different provision for different cases or descriptions of case,; (b )incorporate (by reference or transposition) guidance, codes of practice or other documents published by another person (for example, a trade association, a body representing members of an industry or a trade union); (3) Part 4 (enforcement) does not apply to a contravention of the requirement in paragraph (1).
A person who enters or remains indoors within a place listed in regulation 6 must wear a face covering, unless the person included in the listed exemptions. These include:
5(1)(f) in a place of worship and leading an act of worship where—(i)there is a partition between the person and any other person, or (ii )a distance of at least one metre is maintained between the person and any other person,
5(1)(g) at a funeral, marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration and leading the service, ceremony or registration where—(i)there is a partition between the person and any other person, or (ii)a distance of at least one metre is maintained between the person and any other person,
5(1)(h) at a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration and is one of the parties to be married or entering into a civil partnership, where—(i)there is a partition between the parties and any other person, (ii) a distance of at least one metre is maintained between the parties and any other person, or (iii) as part of the ceremony or registration and within the immediate vicinity of the relevant premises, they are being accompanied by one or more other persons to the specific location at which the marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration will take place;
5(1)(i) at a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration and is a person who is accompanying, in the circumstances described in paragraph (h)(iii), one or both of the parties to be married or entering into a civil partnership,
These places include inter alia
6(1)(c) any indoor public place, or part of an indoor public place, where a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration is taking place, including any restaurant, café, bar or public house for the duration of the ceremony or registration,
6(1)(k) crematoriums and funeral directors premises,
6(1)(t) places of worship,
6(1)(w) registration offices, meaning any registration office provided under section 8(1) of the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages (Scotland) Act 1965),
The Scottish Ministers are required to review the requirements imposed by these Regulations at least once every 21 days, the first review taking place by 30 August 2021, and require them to revoke requirement as soon as it is no longer necessary to prevent, protect against, control or provide a public health response to the incidence or spread of coronavirus in Scotland.