Mandatory COVID-19 status checks in England: exemption for places of worship

As noted in our earlier post, Legislation and guidance update – December (II), the UK Government has today published Carrying out mandatory COVID-19 status checks at your venue or event, which applies to England only and sets out the rules for persons attending events to show that they have “valid COVID-19 status”: either, that they have been vaccinated with two doses of an approved vaccine (or one shot of the single-dose Janssen vaccine), that they have taken a PCR or rapid lateral flow test within the last 48 hours, or that they are exempt on the basis of an approved medical exemption or clinical trial participation.

Mandatory status checks do not apply to places of worship, to private houses or to unticketed outdoor events in public spaces. The guidance sets this out as follows:

Exempt events

If you are responsible for one of the following events, you are not required to use the NHS COVID Pass, even if the attendance thresholds are met:

    • communal worship
    • wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and equivalents (including alternative wedding ceremonies)
    • receptions celebrating a wedding or other significant life event (like a christening, bar and bat mitzvah or mehndi ceremony) that are organised by an individual (and not a business, a charitable, benevolent, or philanthropic institution or a public body).
    • funerals and commemorative events (except where commemorative events are held in a nightclub)
    • outdoor events in public spaces where these are unticketed and not charged for (such as markets, street parties, protests and carnivals)
    • events in private houses (including private gardens) where people do not have to pay or hold a ticket to enter.”

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