Legislation and guidance update – December (I)

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. 



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.



Government guidance

“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 Therefore, some of the information in this paper may have been superseded and the author’s opinion or conclusion may since have developed.”§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 statements

  • 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: Friday 10 December, 15:11

Update: Thursday 9 December, 17.20

Updated documents:

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.

Scottish Episcopal Church

Church of Scotland

Roman Catholic Church EW

Association of British Choral Directors

Royal School of Church Music (RSCM)

Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR)

Law and Religion UK

Post last updated,  12 December 2021 at 17:22.   

* Information on COVID-19 on L&RUK

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

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.

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Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Legislation and guidance update – December (I)" in Law & Religion UK, 2 December 2021, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2021/12/02/legislation-and-guidance-update-december/

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