Churches can now return to the standard covid measures, and things should therefore be easier.
You can read the Government guidance at https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-places-of-worship/
The key points are:
- Avoid crowding and encourage distancing. There is no fixed measurement of distancing, but we should use all the space we have in church to make sure people can spread out and limit access if it is becoming too busy. Keep an eye too on the use of smaller spaces, such as cry chapels, meeting rooms, etc., to make sure that these are not crowded.
- Ventilation is really important – keep a good airflow in the church and in any other meeting rooms, halls, etc.
- Surfaces are not thought to be a major source of infection as airborne infections are the key issue, hence the emphasis on ventilation and face coverings, and so cleaning need not be as intensive as before.
- Face coverings must be worn by everyone in church, unless exempt, apart from the celebrant, deacon whist reading/preaching, reader(s) whilst reading, or cantor(s) whilst singing. Priests, deacons, readers, and cantors should maintain a 1m distance from everyone else whilst not wearing a mask. Priests, deacons, and extraordinary ministers should wear masks when distributing Communion.
- Everyone, including the clergy, is encouraged to take regular lateral flow tests, and isolate if they test positive or experience symptoms.
- We should still avoid having people kiss communal devotional objects, statutes, crucifixes, etc.
- Hand sanitising is still very much encouraged.
- Communion under both kinds is still prohibited.
- Hymn books, bulletins, etc. are all now allowed, as are offertory processions and collections.
Remember that other activities may require stricter conditions, e.g. if your hall is a hospitality venue then collecting track & trace information is still legally required and some social activities (e.g. very late night discos) may require vaccine certification. Follow the links on https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-safe-and-protecting-others/ for all the details.