Guidance on face coverings and outdoor worship for churches has been updated by the Government.
Face coverings are now encouraged in churches, with the guidance saying: “Face coverings are currently mandatory on public transport and will be mandatory in shops and in supermarkets from 24 July 2020. People are also encouraged to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where there are people they do not normally meet, such as a place of worship.”
Government guidance also now states that more than 30 people can gather and pray outside as long as social distancing is taken into account and a risk assessment done.
The document states: “The number of people who are able to gather will be dependent on the size of the space available.
“Any risk assessment should also consider the security of worshippers. This may require involving local partners such as the police.”
It adds that it is not illegal to pray in a public outdoor space but that individual groups should not interact with anyone outside of the group they are attending the gathering with - so in a group no larger than two households or six people if outdoors.
A gathering of over 30 is normally not permissible, except for a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, a public body or a political body. Given that churches are charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institutions, they can hold gatherings of more than 30 people but should liaise with those responsible for the open space in question to ensure that the event can be staged in a safe way, which includes undertaking a risk assessment that considers security.
For full Government guidance, click here.