The Bishops of Scotland presented plans to the Scottish Government last week detailing how as parishes we will come out of lockdown in tune with the Phased Easing Map of the Government. Once the Government declares that we are entering Phase 2 our churches will reopen, for private prayer and for funerals, with all preparations in our churches done according to government guidelines and protocols. Please find below the key points from the Bishop’s Guidance on preparing for the re-opening of Churches.
- Car Parking spaces at the church will be restricted for those with mobility issues.
- Parishioners are asked to arrive early so seating may proceed smoothly.
- The Government recommended (two metres) social distancing guidelines must always be adhered to at church i.e. entering, sitting, standing, leaving.
- Face coverings should be worn by all those in the Church during private prayer or mass.
- Toilets in the church or hall must remain closed and are not available for use.
- Antibacterial hand gel will be positioned at the points of entry and exit please use these to prevent contamination of surfaces.
- It will not be permitted to light votive candles.
- Parishioners may only pray at their designated pew and should not move around the church to visit altars or status.
- To avoid congestion there will be separate entrance and exit arrangements. Please follow the guidance given by the volunteer pass-keepers.
- Each church will only be able to open according to the number and availability of volunteers.
- Improved cleaning will occur in churches, but no one should expect that they will be any safer from germs than other public places. There remains a risk for anyone who attends church services. Even with the best health practices and strict social distancing, anyone who enters a public space should recognize there is a risk of contracting coronavirus.
- Parishioners who are shielding according to Scottish Government guidance should not come to church until Scottish Government guidance advises them it safe to do so. Parishioners aged 70 or over, pregnant women, and those who receive the flu jab for medical reasons are currently able to leave their homes for essential purposes. In making a decision to come to church they are asked to follow Scottish Government advice.
Urgent Appeal for Volunteers: To reopen Saint Joseph’s we will need a team of volunteers to welcome parishioners, to ensure appropriate hand sanitising, to help guide people in to the church and to a pew according to social distancing guidelines, and to sanitise and clean the church after visits. To find out more about volunteering for this click here.