At present, there is no change in the Government regulations which means that all churches and other places of worship remain closed and public acts of worship are forbidden. The Bishops of England & Wales are working with the Government to prepare for the gradual reopening of churches for private prayer, and later for public worship. Bishop Robert and the Diocese have begun planning for the reopening of some of our churches when that is approved by the Government, taking into account:
- The safety of parishioners, volunteers, staff and clergy to be the highest priority.
- A very small number of churches will be opened first as a pilot. The Bishop is consulting with the Chapter of Canons and Partnership Deans to decide which churches will open first.
- A full risk assessment will be carried out on each church by the Diocese to ensure health and safety.
- The Diocese will provide the necessary equipment for a deep clean of the churches, and for essential regular cleaning.
- Volunteers will be needed for church cleaning, and as stewards to ensure social distancing when the church is open.
- Full compliance with Diocesan health and safety regulations and procedures will be required by clergy, employees and volunteers before a church is opened.
The Bishop has instructed that no action is to be taken until further guidance is received.