Places of Worship set to close for two weeks on 27th November 2020
The unexpected news announced late on Thursday 19th November that churches across Northern Ireland are to close for two weeks from 27 November came as a surprise and a disappointment for many faith communities. The decision ran contrary to the assurances given to faith groups at a meeting the previous week at which faith groups were praised for their attention to safety and public health.
The revised restrictions which commence from 12:01 on Friday 27th November until Friday 11th December 2020 mean that places of worship will be unable to open for public worship, and will only be permitted to open for weddings, funerals and to record or broadcast “an act of worship.” However,
- Restrictions for weddings and funerals are unchanged – i.e. these services may take place in places of worship but with an upper limit of 25 people in attendance, this number including the celebrant and any others leading.
- Special appeals including collections of toys, shoebox appeals or for food banks for distribution for charitable purposes can continue mindful of the need for careful sanitisation.
- Drive-in services in line with normal local regulations may be held.
- All in-person meetings, including study of sacred texts, prayer meetings, children’s or youth meetings should not take place in places of worship or in private homes, but can be conducted online.
- All business meetings that would normally be held in places of worship should be held online only.
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