COVID-19 Guidance for Attending Church

If you are planning to attend a service at St Mary’s, please read the following carefully.

  1. You should not attend if you have any Covid symptoms, or you are in a high risk category, or if you feel it would bring more anxiety than comfort for you.
  2. You should keep a distance of 2m from people not in your household, 1m absolute minimum with risk mitigation.
  3. It is not mandatory to wear a face covering in church, unlike in shops etc., but the government guidance states, “You are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet”. When not seated, distancing can be difficult. The Church of England guidance strongly advises the wearing of face coverings in church. It is recognised that there are legitimate reasons why some people should not wear a face covering.
    At St Mary’s we promote this advice but no-one will be prevented from entering because they are not wearing a face covering. Apart from at the administration of Communion, it is considered that at St Mary’s the ministers while leading are at a sufficient distance from the congregation for it not to be necessary for them to wear a face covering, and that for some this may be important for communication.
  4. Be prepared to wait with distancing on arrival. Entry is through the south porch only. If you could give your name, and also a phone number if you are not on the electoral roll that will help if track and trace is needed.
  5. Use the automatic hand sanitiser on entry. You do not need to touch anything. Just place your hand underneath and wait. If you can bring your own 60%+ alcohol sanitiser that will help.
  6. Copies of This Week will be available to pick up, but reading online is preferable. Where appropriate a service book will be available to pick up. These will not have been touched within the past 48 hrs.
  7. Please move straight to a pew rather than stand talking at the back, to prevent obstruction. Alternate pews are blocked. Please sit at a distance from other people. Members of the same household may of course sit together.
  8. Music, including songs and hymns, will be played in some services. Please do not sing.
  9. The government guidance states that there should be no shouting or raised voices.
  10. At the administration of Communion, please do not leave your pew until guided to do so. Observe distancing carefully, use  sanitiser, and observe the one way system back to your pew. The priest will have sanitised hands, wear a face shield, and place the wafer into your open hands without any hand to hand contact, and without words. The wafers will have been covered prior to this point and not spoken over.
  11. At the end please leave promptly through the west door if you are able to manage the well steps, and do not congregate in church to talk.