Covid-19: Revised Guidance


Bishops Robert and David have today issued revised guidance to the Diocese on Covid-19.  This updates the guidance issued in January 2021 and takes account of the current situation regarding the Pandemic.

Across Europe, national and regional authorities are preparing and announcing measures that are progressively liberalising the regimes needed to control Covid-19. However, at present Covid-19 remains a serious health risk. The generally accepted target rate of vaccinations needed to provide an acceptable level of control of the virus is 70%. Whilst the rate of vaccinations is increasing in an encouraging way, at present the average proportion of populations in Europe that have received one vaccination is 30% and the proportion that have received two vaccination averages about 11%.  Moreover, the deeply tragic developments in Brazil and India among other places, show that there is still much uncertainty ahead, with the emergence and transmission of new variants.

For the time being, therefore, the Bishops’ Guidance remains cautious. It is vital that we continue to hold as paramount the safety, protection and well-being of all. 

As per all Bishops’ guidance issued to date, in any country, the advice of the national government is of the first importance and must be consulted. Clergy and chaplaincy councils need to pay close attention to national/provincial regulations, as well as drawing on the advice of our ecumenical partners.

Where local law or state guidance is more liberal than Diocesan Guidance, chaplains and chaplaincy councils are free to adopt local rules after consultation with the Area Dean or Archdeacon. Responsibility for these decisions rests with the chaplaincy council.

The revised Bishops' Guidance today covers:

-          Hygiene practices for individuals attending Church

-          Welcoming at Church

-          Seating in accordance with physical distancing requirements

-          Music: Singing & Instruments

-          General Liturgical Instructions & Guidance

-          Offerings and Collections

-          Baptisms and Weddings

-          Churchwardens’ guidance: Booking/Ticketing Systems

-          Sunday School & other gatherings

-          After Service Gatherings

-          Cleaning:  Arrangements for briefing and training

As the vaccine rollout gathers pace, it is hoped that guidelines can be further relaxed, and that more guidance to the Diocese can be issued at the end of June, in tandem with further announcements from the Church of England.

In the meantime, as we look forward to Pentecost across the Diocese, in many places the numbers that are permitted to gather for worship are now increasing. And open-air events whether for worship or social gatherings are increasingly permitted.