Excerpt from Church of England FAQ on face coverings. The full document is available below.
This guidance is to help ministers and their congregations to understand the current advice on wearing face coverings, and how this applies in churches. This advice is reflected in the specific Government guidance for conducting various worship services within enclosed spaces such as church buildings.
1. Q. Should I wear a face covering in a church building?
A. Face coverings are currently mandatory on public transport and are mandatory in shops and in supermarkets from 24 July 2020. People are also encouraged to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where there are people they do not normally meet, such as a place of worship.
We strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus COVID-19 and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.
2. Q. What is a face covering?
A. A face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.
These are different from surgical and other face masks that are part of PPE used in health and social care settings. We do not recommend the use of PPE in church buildings other than for specialist cleaning activities.
5. Q. Are there exemptions from wearing face coverings?
A. You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:
- young children under the age of 11
- not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading tocommunicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- to eat or drink, but only if you need to
- to take medication
- if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering
6. Q. How can I make a face covering?
A. If you want to make your own face covering, instructions are widely available online. If you would like more information on how to make a face covering with materials from around your home please visit the Big Community Sew website.