Faith, worship, funerals and bereavement

Places of worship

Updated 4 November 2020

From Thursday 5 November places of worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:

  • funerals
  • to broadcast acts of worship
  • individual prayer
  • formal childcare or where part of a school
  • essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
  • other exempted activities such as some support groups

This is to comply with the national restrictions in England, expected to last until 2 December. See the new national restrictions from 5 November on GOV.UK.

Ceremonies

Weddings and civil partnerships will not be allowed to take place, except in exceptional circumstances.

See changes to births ceremonies and deaths services in Essex for more information.

Test and trace

In line with government guidance for all venues, places of worship should keep a temporary record of visitors so the NHS Test and Trace service can contact people who come into close contact with somebody who has COVID-19. Test and Trace currently defines close contact as two people being with two metres of each other for 15 minutes or more.

Advice for faith communities

Congregational prayer and worship is not permitted from 5 November. Individual prayer is permitted in places of worship.
We advise you to please pray and worship at home. You can follow services streamed online by your place of worship or faith organisation.
If you wish to visit a place of worship for one of the permitted reasons, please note:

  • if you or anyone in your household has or shows symptoms of COVID-19, do not visit a place of worship. Stay at home
  • if you are over 60 or clinically extremely vulnerable, you should take particular care to adhere to social distancing and minimise contact with others outside your household
  • you must wear a face covering in any public indoor space and on public transport, unless you are exempt. Religious garments such as the Niqab are acceptable but must fit securely round the side of the face. See the government guidance on face coverings for details

Useful links

Catholic Church England and Wales
Church of England's guidance for churches
C of E Diocese of Chelmsford for local guidance to parishes
Faith Action is a national network of faith-based and community organisations
Hindu Council UK
Humanists UK
Jewish Leadership Council, coronavirus portal
Muslim Council of Britain
Network of Sikh Organisations

To contact Essex Resilience Forum’s Faith & Communities Tactical Co-ordination Group, email faith.communities@essex.gov.uk.

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