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Updated Government guidance on COVID-19 safety measures in places of worship | Birmingham City Council

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Updated Government guidance on COVID-19 safety measures in places of worship

The Council is determined to work with residents, businesses and government to reduce the risks to all citizens from becoming infected by COVID-19 and sets out below advice on complying with this guidance and suggested good practice to keep all worshippers safe.

COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship

The Council is determined to work with residents, businesses and government to reduce the risks to all citizens from becoming infected by COVID-19 and sets out below advice on complying with this guidance and suggested good practice to keep all worshippers safe.

Places of worship must produce a risk assessment for all areas (inside and outside) detailing how the premises will be made COVID secure:

Generic guidance on completing a risk assessment

Failure to complete a risk assessment that accounts for COVID-19 could constitute a breach of Health and Safety legislation and could also lead to a breach of law.

It is good practice for the risk assessment to cover: -

  • A map or layout of the area showing the event that is to take place
  • The number of people allowed in the event while maintaining 2 metre or 1 metre-plus social distancing between household bubbles
  • Detail how numbers will be controlled
  • Consideration should be given to marking out areas or seats to be occupied to assist worshippers in social distancing
  • Control measures in place for access to and egress from the event
  • Risk reduction measures for common touch points, including toilets
  • A cleaning schedule for communal areas
  • Items owned by the individual to aid worship such as a prayer mat or religious text, can be brought in but should be removed again by the worshipper
  • Communication plan to encourage individuals to risk assessment themselves before attending, e.g. advise for elderly, those with health conditions, and clear exclusion of anyone with symptoms and signposting to testing
  • How local businesses will be informed of the potential for a high number of visitors before and after the event
  • The name(s) of the responsible individuals in control of the event
  • How test and trace measures will be addressed if an individual subsequently tests positive who has attended the event during the period of infectivity
  • Where possible consideration should be given to staggering entry times to reduce the number at any specific time
  • How singing and chanting will be minimised
  • The safety of young people, the elderly and vulnerable persons should be considered.

This guidance applies to communal worship, including prayers, devotions or meditations led by a Minister of Religion or lay person.

It is important to ensure that other faith setting guidance is adhered to, e.g. this does not supersede the restriction on numbers attending funerals or weddings which are set out in national guidance.