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PA Martin Rickett
Martin Rickett PA Wire
PA Martin Rickett
UK News

Govt confirms churches in Tier 3 lockdown won't be forced to close

by Premier Journalist

The Government has confirmed what churches can do at each level of restriction in England. 

On Friday, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government sent information to faith communities, saying: "We are aware that there has been some anxiety within faith and belief communities regarding the local COVID alert levels and the restrictions that different areas will need to adhere to." 

It has clarified that: 
 
At Tier 1 the 'Rule of 6' applies to gatherings in a place of worship, meaning people from different households must not meet in a group of more than six, indoors or outdoors. 

Practically this does not make much difference to the next tier up as within that group of six there must still be social distancing between different households - as there should be between different groups of six at a church. It does mean though that people within that six can 'mix' in the sense that they can converse and spend time in the same location together for a period of time, whereas different groups of six cannot 'mix'. 

Churches and other places of worship can still open for public worship for as many people as they can safely accommodate with social distancing in mind. 

In Tier 1 areas (Medium Local Alert Levels, the default across the country) wedding ceremonies can take place with 15 attendees, not including anyone working at the service. Face coverings must be worn by all except the bride and groom, unless they are not able to. 

Wedding receptions can also take place with up to 15 attendees in the form of a sit-down meal and funerals can have 30 people. 
 
In Tier 2 areas (High Local Alert Levels) places of worship can still remain open. The main differences are that when indoors, people from different households must not mix at all (whereas in Tier 1 different households can mix under six people). 

In Tier 3 areas (Very High Local Alert Level) places of worship can remain open for public worship. The main difference from Tier 2 is that the rule about not mixing with different households applies to outdoors as well as indoors. Wedding receptions can no longer take place in any form in Tier 3.

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