Coronavirus rule of six does not apply to worship
The government’s ban on social gatherings of more than six people, which goes into effect Monday, will not apply to public worship in churches.
“You can now text yourself a kiss emoji”
It was widely reported on Wednesday morning that the law would be amended to reduce the maximum number of people who can congregate from 30 to six, to deal with an increase in coronavirus cases. The limit will not apply to schools, workplaces, weddings or funerals.
the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning: “After contacting the government, we learn that there is no change in the guidelines on places of worship. Worship is the work of God – not a social gathering – and gives the strength to love and to serve.
In another Twitter post, Archbishop Welby wrote: “The increase in COVID cases is of great concern. We must follow the guidelines and take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of people.
“And let’s keep praying for all who are affected – those who are sick, or whose families are sick, those who are anxious, or struggling with canceled plans and isolation. We thank God for the NHS and everyone who works tirelessly to protect us. “
Speaking at a press conference in Downing Street on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Johnson confirmed: ‘In England from Monday we are introducing the rule of six. You should not socially meet in groups of more than six people and, if you do, you are breaking the law.
He did, however, list some exempt places, including places of worship, in which more than six people are still allowed to congregate. “In these places, however, there should not be individual groups of more than six people, and the groups should not mix socially or form larger groups. . .
“Weddings and funerals secured by Covid can take place, up to a limit of 30 people. “
Mr Johnson has said he is unwilling to impose tougher measures on social gatherings, “but as your Prime Minister I must do what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus and save lives. And, of course, we will keep the rule of six under constant review and will only keep it in place for as long as necessary. ”
The Bishop of London, The Right Reverend Sarah Mullally, who chairs the Church of England Restoration Group, said on Wednesday: “I welcome the Prime Minister’s confirmation that places of worship can still hold more than six people in total, despite the new restrictions. on gatherings, and the assurance that public worship can continue.
“We will continue to work with the government in specific areas related to our churches and denominational activities. “
The Bishop of Truro, The Right Reverend Philip Mounstephen, wrote in a pastoral post on Wednesday: “After reviewing the latest government guidelines, we are confident that we can continue with the arrangements we have made for Sunday worship over the past few weeks, and we encourage you to do so.
“We are convinced that the procedures we have established are safe and that the worship community is important and precious to all of us. The only difference is that people shouldn’t sit in groups of more than six, but in our recent experience, this rarely happens anyway, if at all.
Churches were allowed to reopen for public worship from July 4, with either the incumbents or the CCP tasked with determining how many people could safely attend (News, July 3). There is no prescribed number of people who can attend regular worship, although a maximum of 30 people are allowed to attend weddings, funerals, and other “life cycle” services regardless. the size of the building. This includes baptisms, unless they take place during routine community worship (News, June 26).
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Tuesday that stricter restrictions had been introduced in Bolton with immediate effect. All hospitality venues would be allowed to serve take-out only, and all venues are required to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hancock said: “Part of the increase in cases in Bolton is due to the socialization of people in their 20s and 30s. We know that from contact tracing. And through our contact tracing system, we have identified a number of ads in which the virus has spread significantly.
“We will urgently introduce new measures that put into effect the current guidelines that people cannot socialize outside their homes. I want us to learn the lesson of Spain, America and France, that we don’t have to learn the lesson ourselves again through more hospitalizations and deaths, and that we take this action locally in Bolton. “