Church of England guidance on wearing face coverings during worship
The Church of England has now published guidance on the use of face coverings, which had previously been “strongly advised”. The new guidance can be found at https://www.churchofengland.org/more/media-centre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-churches#na but I have reproduced it below:
In England, face coverings are currently required by law to be worn in shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices and on public transport.
From 8 August, face coverings are also required by law to be worn in a greater number of public indoor settings including places of worship, museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries.
There are valid exemptions for some individuals and groups not to wear a face covering in these settings. In particular, those who are leading services or events in a place of worship, and those who assist them (for instance by reading, preaching, or leading prayer) do not always need to wear a face covering, although one should be worn especially if physical distancing cannot be maintained (i.e. distributing consumables). This exemption does not apply to worshippers, who should wear face coverings consistent with the requirements for any other public space.
Please be aware therefore that the churches in the Benefice will adopt this policy. Speaking personally, I am pleased that the national Church has taken this line as I believe that the wearing of face coverings by those leading aspects of worship would detract from its spiritual blessing.