Churches across Norfolk can re-open from July 4
Last night the government released guidelines which will allow places of worship across Norfolk to re-open from Saturday July 4.
“Places of worship play an important role in providing spiritual leadership for many individuals, and in bringing communities and generations together. However, their communal nature can make them places that are particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19,” says the guidance, which has been drafted on the basis of the scientific evidence.
Through its Places of Worship Taskforce, the government has worked with faith leaders and representatives to develop the guidance to enable the safe reopening of places of worship for a broader range of activities.
From July 4, gatherings of more than 30 people will be permitted in certain public places including places of worship and their surrounding premises.
Whilst engaging in an activity in the place of worship or surrounding grounds, all parties should adhere to social distancing guidelines of two metres or one metre with risk mitigation (where two metres is not viable) between households are acceptable.
Limits for communal worship should be decided on the basis of the capacity of the place of worship following a risk assessment.
Marriage and other life cycle ceremonies, including funerals, should have no more than 30 people in attendance, and social distancing should be strictly adhered to.
Venue managers are strongly advised to take action to minimise the potential for spreading of Covid-19 among worshippers, and should undertake a risk assessment.
The guidance covers a wide range of topics including:
Individuals should be prevented from touching or kissing objects that are handled communally.
Communal resources such as service sheets, religious texts or devotional material should be removed from use or cleaned and quarantined for 48 hours between uses.
Where food or drink are essential to the act of worship, they can be used, however the sharing of food should be avoided, as should the use of communal vessels.
Activities such as singing, chanting, shouting and/or playing of instruments that are blown into should be specifically avoided in worship or devotions and in rehearsals.
Where music plays a big part in worship the use of recordings should be considered as an alternative to live singing.
Where possible faith leaders should discourage cash donations and continue to use online or contactless giving and resources.
The full guidance is available here.
If your church will be reopening from this weekend please send us details to firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured above is St John's Catholic Cathedral in Norwich.