COVID STEP 4 GUIDANCE.
The Places of Worship Task Force met yesterday (15th July) and have produced guidance notes to be applied to worship from 19th July 2021.
Full details can be found on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for England and Wales website. The following precis sums up the main points:
Introduction: the governing principle is to provide a safe environment. Employers (Parish Priests in our case) have a duty to keep premises safe. This, of course, requires the cooperation of parish communities. General points:
- Prevailing local conditions must be taken into account (infection rates etc).
- Mitigations must be in place. We must continue to use hand sanitiser both on entry and exit and face masks should be worn. General cleaning with anti-bacterial spraying to touchpoints.
- Social distancing – there is no legislation on social distancing. If you are concerned, please make this clear to the steward on duty who will endeavour to find you a place to sit away from the most crowded parts of the church.
- Congregational singing should be phased in gently.
Acts of Worship:
- Churches can be left open and unsupervised.
- Test, Track and Trace. As long as the NHS Test, Track and Trace system is in operation, churches should continue to make available the means for people to sign in for acts of worship using the NHS app and the associated QR codes (or other means of attendee identification, eg. an attendance register).
- One-way systems are no longer necessary.
- Stewards are no longer necessary to show people to designated seats etc. (but see 3 on social distancing above, and 2 above on NHS Test Track and Trace). Stewards can assist in cleaning after Mass.
- Holy Water Stoups – not to be used.
- Ministers can be used, eg. servers, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (to assist with the host only – i.e. only one Minister at Sunday Masses – see 8 below).
- Offertory – collection as at present for the time being (i.e. Bucket at Frinton, baskets at Dovercourt).
- Holy Communion under one kind only for the time being.
- Buildings to remain well ventilated.
Sacrament of Reconciliation:
Can take place with safety features in place. Please contact Fr Frank for advice.
Can resume. Eucharistic Ministers speak to Fr Frank if you are willing to resume this.
Social Activities (eg. coffee after Mass)
Can take place from 19th July. Subject to risk assessment – essentially referring to queueing and seating (ie. No moving around, except to enter or exit when face masks should be worn).
Fr Frank (16.07.2021)