This post includes a rolling update of new legislation and guidance on coronavirus COVID-19 to 12 December 2021. Updates for the remainder of the month are in a separate post*. A summary COVID-19: Omicron variant was posted on 30 November 2021.
- Designation (No. l) under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) Regulations 2021. Under regulation 11(3)(b) of the Health Protection (Corona virus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) Regulations 202 I, the “designated officers” are: (a) the Chief Executive Officer of the ACRO Criminal Records Office (hosted by the Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary); (b) the Senior Enforcement and Prosecutions Manager, Transport for London.§
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) (Amendment) (No. 23) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/1371 and Explanatory Memorandum. This instrument will amend the regulations to require all individuals aged twelve and over travelling to England, including eligible travellers, to take a pre-departure test. §
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/1382. These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 to ensure that the exemptions for those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus from the requirement to self-isolate for those who have been vaccinated against coronavirus, those who have (or are) participating in clinical trials, and those who are unable for clinical reasons to be vaccinated against coronavirus are aligned with the equivalent exemptions in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Operator Liability) (England) Regulations 2021.§
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/1400. and Explanatory Memorandum. The instrument makes this provision by expanding the legal requirement to wear face coverings when in shops, when using public transport and in transport hubs to more indoor settings, including, banks, places of worship, public areas in hotels and hostels, museums, in England, except in limited cases.§
A non-exhaustive list of what may constitute a “reasonable excuse” for the purposes of regulations 3(1) and 4(1). A reasonable excuse for singing is included. Examples of where removing a face covering to sing would be reasonable includes (but is not limited to) – singing as part of a choir, during a service, rehearsal or performance.
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 21) Regulations 2021, WSI 2021/1363 (W. 358). Changes to self-isolation in Wales.§
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel)(Wales)(Amendment) (No. 17) Regulations 2021, WSI 2021/o1366 (W. 361). Non-exempt persons are prohibited from entering Wales where they have been in a country or territory listed in Schedule 3A (countries and territories subject to additional measures) to the International Travel Regulations within the last 10 days of arrival.§
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Public Health Information to Travellers) (Wales) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (No. 4) Regulations 2021, WSI 2021/ 1369 (W. 362). These Regulations amend the International Travel Regulations so as to require pre-departure testing in relation to “regulation 2A travellers” aged 12 or over. They also amend the time at which a pre-departure test must be taken to no more than 48 hours before departure.§
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 4) Regulations 2021, SSI 2021/453. The Principal Regulations provide that persons responsible for late night premises or premises where a relevant event is taking place are required to operate a reasonable system for checking that persons on, or seeking to enter, their premises. These Regulations provide, in respect of that requirement, that a person wishing to enter the premises can demonstrate a negative test for coronavirus as an alternative to being fully vaccinated against coronavirus or
otherwise exempt. The Regulations make consequential amendments to ensure that information about testing is treated as confidential.
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (International Travel and Operator Liability) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 11) Regulations 2021, SSI 2121/454. Regulation 3 includes Nigeria in schedule 1 as a red list country.
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (International Travel and Operator Liability) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 12) Regulations 2021, SSI 2021/455. This instrument amends the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (International Travel and Operator Liability) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 to re-introduce pre-departure testing for certain categories of passengers arriving into Scotland, reduce the period from 3 days to 2 days within which a pre-departure test can be taken before travel and expand the cover of these provisions to include children aged 12 and over. It also makes provision in relation to transiting passengers and updates the passenger notices to ensure passengers are aware of the duties incumbent on them. §
- SAGE: Aerosol and Droplet Generation from Singing, Wind Instruments (SWI) and Performance Activities: the Paper prepared by Public Health England (PHE) and the Environmental and Modelling group (EMG), dated 13 August 2020 (which is when it was considered by SAGE), and first published 4 September 2020. The Press Release warns:
“It should be viewed in context: the paper was the best assessment of the evidence at the time of writing. The picture is developing rapidly and, as new evidence or data emerges, SAGE updates its advice accordingly. Therefore, some of the information in this paper may have been superseded and the author’s opinion or conclusion may since have developed.”§
- Government agrees new deals to future proof vaccine rollout in light of new variant, Government signs contracts to buy a total of 114 million additional Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna doses for 2022 and 2023, DHSC, (2 December 2021).§
- Dstl supports new COVID-19 decision-making tool, A new interactive graphic developed by UK researchers including Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) will help people decide what to do in everyday situations to protect themselves and others. Dstl, (2 December 2021).
- Expert elicitation on the relative importance of possible SARS-CoV-2 transmission routes and the effectiveness of mitigations, BMJ, (2 December 2021).§
- Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own, Cabinet Office, DHSC, (Updated 2 December 2021).§
- Using your NHS COVID Pass for travel abroad and at venues and settings in England. Added information about how to store your NHS COVID Pass in Google Pay Wallet. (6 December 2021).§
- Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make one. Updated to reflect the new rules on settings where it is now mandatory to wear face coverings. (8 December 2021).§
- Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread. Updated to reflect new plan B measures being introduced to respond to the rise of the Omicron variant. (8 December 2021).§
- Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus (COVID-19), Information box added on new measures (face coverings, COVID status checks, and working from home) because of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. (9 December 2021).§
- COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship. Guidance for people attending a place of worship and those who are responsible for these venues. Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and MHCLG. (10 December 2021).
PM opening statement at COVID-19 press conference: 8 December 2021. Reintroduce the guidance to work from home; further extend the legal requirement to wear a face mask to most public indoor venues, including theatres and cinemas, but exemptions where it is not practical, such as when eating, drinking, exercising or singing; opened up the vaccine booster to all those over 40; reducing the gap between second dose and booster to a minimum of three months.§
NHS Covid Pass mandatory for entry into nightclubs, and venues where large crowds gather including unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people, and any venue with more than 10,000 people; NHS Covid Pass eligibility currently two doses but to be kept under review as the boosters roll out. Since the emergence of Omicron, a negative lateral flow test will also be sufficient.
Plan B gives businesses a week’s notice, so will come into force in a week’s time.
Prime Minister confirms move to Plan B in England, Press Release. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a move to Plan B in England. In summary:§
- Move to Plan B confirmed as Omicron spreads across UK, with early analysis suggesting cases could be doubling at a rate of as little as 2.5 to 3 days
- Face masks to become compulsory in most public indoor venues, other than hospitality
- NHS Covid Pass to be mandatory in specific settings, using a negative test or full vaccination via the NHS Covid Pass
- Vaccines and testing remain our best lines of defence
- People asked to work from home if they can.
A full list of guidance on these changes will be available on gov.uk in the coming days. Face covering regulations will be laid in parliament tomorrow, with the remaining regulations laid on Monday 13 December.
Parliament will debate the measures next week, with a vote expected to take place on Tuesday 14 December. (8 December 2021).
Church of England‡
- Updated Risk Assessment for Opening Church Buildings to the Public during Coronavirus (COVID-19), V10.1 to take account of the legal requirement to wear face coverings.§
Update: Thursday 9 December, 17.20
- COVID-19 Opening and managing church buildings, v 2.3 Update on version 2.2: The arrival of a new variant of the coronavirus, omicron, has prompted the government to move into its winter plan B. This guidance has been revised to take into account the additional measures with face coverings which apply to places of worship. (9 December 2021).§
Update: Wednesday 8 December, 18.20§
We note the Prime Minister’s statement on developments relating to the omicron variant of Covid-19. We will study the detail and update further tomorrow (9 December).§
Update: Tuesday 30 November, 16.23
Following the publication of Government guidance on face coverings, advice for churches has been updated.
- Updated guidance on opening churches – COVID-19 Opening and managing church buildings, v 2.2.§
- Comment from the Bishop of London – Press Release: Omicron variant of Covid-19, (29/11/2021).§
Scottish Episcopal Church
- Coronavirus updates and resources (updated 10 December 2021).§
- Frequently Asked Questions (Version 11 – 9.12.21).§
- Revised Guidance (Version 9 – 5.11.21.)§
Church of Scotland
- Guidance for the safe operation of church buildings, worship, events and support services during the COVID-19 pandemic. (2 December 2021). §
Roman Catholic Church EW
Step 4 Guidance for Communal Worship during the COVID-19 Pandemic. (i.e. Guidance first issued 15 July 2021).§
Association of British Choral Directors
- Government Guidance, Summary of recent guidance in UK. (9 December 2021)§
Royal School of Church Music (RSCM)
- COVID-19: Guidance for Safe Music-making in Church UPDATE: 9th December 2021 (iii) [Unlike the main RSCM site, this is not a secure link]
Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR)
Covid Plan B – England, (9 December 2021).
Law and Religion UK
- Law and religion round-up – 31st October. No COVID-19 related items, except (indirectly) an update on individual cups for Holy Communion§
- Church of England: Plan B guidance, (10 December 2021).§
- Law and religion round-up – 5th December. COVID-19: the Omicron variant; Transmission of COVID (I); Transmission of COVID (II).§
- Law and religion round-up – 12th December . Mask wearing; Plan B update. §
Post last updated, 12 December 2021 at 17:22.
These updates are now published at the start of each month; they are not reissued, but new items are added as they become available, providing a “rolling update” of the latest developments. They are also added to COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance which is the main source of information, and listed with the newest items last (unlike the CofE documents, infra); items in the monthly updates yet to be added are marked “§“. Earlier updates are here.
Church of England documents are listed under their full title and issue number, in the same order as they appear on the Church’s web site.