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Government advice update

Foodbank refugee-886524 640 imFunerals smaller but churches may open for foodbanks and night shelters etc

Last updated: 20 April 2020

It has become clear that funerals can only have small congregations of immediate family only, with minor exceptions. Refer to the detail of the Government measures.
Both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church have decided that funerals will proceed at the graveside or crematorium only, with household groups at least two metres apart. The Church of England also states that congregations may consist only of the closest family, specified as spouse or partner, children and parents. All must abide by self-isolation guidance for any who are ill or vulnerable.

Churches Together in England has also updated its advice about the closure of church buildings:
  • Churches must remain closed, even for private and solitary prayer. The only exception is for funerals and deep cleaning should take place immediately after each funeral.
  • Churches are only permitted to open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public service, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions. Social distancing should be maintained at all time.
  • A minister of religion may go to their place of worship to broadcast an act of worship, whether over the internet or otherwise. But no other person who is not part of the household may be present.
  • It is not permissible to gather together musicians, assistants or any group of people to produce recorded services.

This guidance is based upon the interpretation of Government instructions, and the understanding that the presence of musicians gathered for worship is neither economic activity, nor necessary for social care (which both provide exceptions for the general and over-riding principle that members of separate households should not mix, in order to diminish the opportunities for transmission of the Coronavirus, and thus reduce the incidence of Covid-19, the respiratory disease that the virus gives rise to).

Please see also our specific web pages for:

You can also find a range of guidance, resources and stories in our Coronavirus web hub.

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