Changes to Coronavirus Regulations – places of worship

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 have been amended with effect from 17 December 2021.

The main provisions of this legislation in relation to places of worship  cover

  1. The requirement on a person responsible for a place of worship to take such measures as are reasonably practicable to minimise the risk of transmission.
  2. Face coverings.

The section on measures has been expanded. In full, it reads as below. Text in red is new.

4.—(1) A person who is responsible for a place of worship … must—

(a) have regard to guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers about measures to minimise risk of exposure to coronavirus relating to its premises … and-

(b) take such of those measures as are reasonably practicable to minimise the incidence and spread of coronavirus on its premises, for example measures which limit close face to face interaction and maintain hygiene such as—

(i) changing the layout of premises including the location of furniture and workstations,
(ii) controlling the use of entrances, passageways, stairs and lifts,
(iii) controlling the use of shared facilities such as toilets and kitchens,
(iv) otherwise controlling the use of, or access to, any other part of the premises,
(v) installing barriers or screens,
(vi) providing, or requiring the use of, personal protective equipment, and
(vii) providing information to those entering or working at the premises about how to minimise the risk.

(2) Guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers may—
(a) make different provision for different cases or descriptions of cases,
(b) incorporate (by reference or transposition) guidance, codes of practice or other documents published by another person (for example, a trade association, a body representing members of an industry or a trade union).

(3) Part 4 (enforcement) does not apply to a contravention of the requirement in paragraph (1)(a).]

Face Coverings – exemptions for leaders of worship.
Exemptions apply when the leaders of worship are either

  • separated from others by a screen or
  • separated from others by distance. Previously, this was 1 metre; it is now 2 metres.

There are other exemptions for weddings and funerals, but in general, face coverings should be worn in places of worship.


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