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Coronavirus - latest information

The information available about Coronavirus is fast changing. Government advice seems to be being released on a daily basis. When we receive new updates we will endeavour to reflect those changes in these pages as quickly as possible.

** Covid update for Wales – 22nd December 2021 **

From the 6.00am on the 26th December, Wales will move back into Alert Level 2 restrictions. Churches and community buildings can remain open but the implications for churches and community buildings are:

  1. Two-metre social distancing is again a legal obligation for all organisers of activities. You need to revert to organising the access and layout of your buildings (churches and halls) to maintain social distancing between persons and households (if you haven’t retained it as part of your current risk assessment)
  2. You should update your risk assessment to reflect the requirement for social distancing and the revised Alert Level
  3. There are no strict limits on numbers attending for indoor or outdoor worship activities including life events – the only limit is the safe capacity of the building to maintain social distancing.
  4. Use of buildings for other community activities/events is limited to a cap of 30 people indoors or 50 people outdoors (whilst maintaining social distancing). Note: Numbers at wedding receptions or funeral wakes are limited to the safe capacity of the venue to maintain social distancing
  5. Face coverings must be worn for all indoor activities, as now
  6. Singing remains permissible (with face coverings) but you should consider mitigation measures such as limiting numbers of songs/hymns or singing outdoors.

Following the introduction of Level 2 restrictions in Wales on December 26, the full text of the Public Health (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations, as amended, can now be read here.

The CYTUN page - Regulations for places of worship in Wales from December 26 2021 (Level 2 restrictions) - has also been updated and can be viewed here.

Further restrictions may be imposed in January and we will update this website as soon as we know more.

** UPDATE ** MONDAY 19TH JULY 2021 **

England is now in the phase of recovery from the pandemic lockdown where most restrictions have been removed. People can gather in unlimited numbers, both outdoors and indoors. Weddings and Funerals can take place without restrictions imposed in various versions since March 2020, and in churches public worship is no longer governed by restrictions on social distancing and the wearing of facemasks, the absence of refreshments and prohibitions on congregational singing.

Guidance from Government has been released in time for the No.10 briefing by the Prime Minister on 19th July.


The guidance emphasises the empowerment of local managers of church buildings and chapels to undertake their own risk assessments, and to be confident that any continuation of restrictions during the current phases that are deemed sensible has the support of Government and the wider community. It is hoped that this will assist in the cautious changes that are required, as opposed to an immediate return to pre-pandemic practice.

The third wave of the pandemic is, however, still rising exponentially, with a forecast of 100,000 infections a day by mid-August and 1000 hospital admissions. While the success of vaccination for the adult population has been laudable, and the impact of two-vaccinations confers much lower risks of severe illness, hospitalisation or death, there remain serious consequences of catching Covid:
• Self-isolation for the many contacts of an infected person resulting in disruption to the lives of those who also are required to quarantine
• The risk — if small — of severe illness, even after the vaccination has been fully administered.
• The many younger people still waiting for one or both vaccines, and who remain unprotected (even if for them, Covid is generally a mild illness.)
• The impact of much greater social contact with the removal of restrictions fuelling a steep rise in infection rates.
• A rise in hospitalisations to levels that may become unsustainable, and in any case, diminish the ability of the NHS to reduce waiting lists for those requiring.
• The full extent and longevity of so-called ‘Long-Covid’ appears for a few to affect even those who were asymptomatic at the time of infection and an estimate of up to an additional 1 million long-Covid cases resulting from this third wave of infection may have severe consequences on individuals, their ability to work and their requirement for treatment on the NHS.

The Government believes that the warmer weather, and the schools’ long vacation, provides the best time to conduct this experiment in shifting responsibility from regulation to personal choices, and churches will have to play their part in discerning what amounts to responsible practices in gatherings over the next phase.

For this reason, the Prime Minister is urging caution, and a slow return to ‘normality’. Some public transport will require the wearing of masks as a condition of carriage, and many shops will still require their customers and staff to wear a mask, reducing risks of infection. Churches may well decide that masks should still be worn if worship is indoors, and that some restriction on numbers is advisable. Good ventilation is vital, and hand-sanitising recommended still.

The prohibition on congregational singing indoors is now lifted, but advice is that singing should still be undertaken with masks — at least while the third wave of infections is still raging. Equally important in mitigating the spread of viral-laden aerosols is good ventilation.

The NHS, and the Chief Medical Officers, have warned of a ‘bumpy winter’ ahead, with not only Coronavirus circulating still, but the possibility of a difficult flu season. Already unusually high summer levels of norovirus (the ‘winter vomiting bug’) have been noticed in care homes and nurseries, and for all those reasons many of the ways in which we have learned to take precautions when in public to limit the spread of Covid-19 will continue to apply for the avoidance of other, less severe, but nonetheless unpleasant infectious diseases that have not been circulating since the winter of 2019–20.

Church of England advice can be found here:

https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-07/COVID 19 Guidance from the 19th July 2021 v1.0.pdf

And advice from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales here:


And advice from the Methodist Church here:


And from the Baptist Union, Baptists Together, here:


** UPDATE ** Monday 19 JULY 2021 **

The changes from Saturday 17th July will mean the following for churches and church halls:

• There is now a limit of 1000 people (seated) and 200 people (standing) gathering indoors. However, the requirement to maintain two-metre social distancing is still in place so the capacity of buildings will still be reduced. However, for community activity, there should now be greater flexibility.
• The wearing of face coverings indoors remains a requirement.
• The need to provide for hand sanitising and premises cleaning remains.
• We have received clarification that the serving of tea and coffee etc after services can now take place. You should update your risk assessment to allow for people to sit in groups of six with social distance between groups for this activity.
• There remains some confusion over whether groups of six from six different households can be permitted to sit together for worship. Welsh Government guidance for Places of Worship at Guidance on reopening places of worship: coronavirus | GOV.WALES does not allow for the ‘rule of 6’ but in other settings this is now possible. We are seeking further guidance on the point and will confirm as soon as possible.
• It is important to emphasise to congregations and attendees that the restrictions in Wales have not yet been relaxed as much as in England.
• Generally, we support a cautious approach. Maintaining existing precautions and service arrangements seems a sensible approach at this time.
• Our detailed guidance will be updated in the next few days and republished to reflect the changes on 17th July.

There are clearly more changes planned on the 7th August. We hope to learn more details in advance of that date from Welsh Government and will update guidance accordingly. It is clear that there will be much greater onus on local decision making and assessment of risk in each setting. There will be fewer prescribed precautions going forward.

Please get in touch if you have an specific questions

Yvonne Campbell




On the right you will find a download about reopening churches and also the booklet that we have written to help churches think about some of the steps needed to reopening in general.

We also have links to the Safer Places of Worship, Churches Together in England and Government websites.