Covid-19 infections continue to spread, although the lower ‘R-value’ shows that the infection rate is slowing. Restrictions imposed by our various Governments have been lifted.
However, many people who form, and are served by, our churches are still vulnerable. Many now see the risks from COVID-19 as being lower because of vaccines and seasonal factors. Some people will continue to feel nervous about the risk to their health, and others will rightly want to be cautious about the possibility of passing infection to others.
We remind churches that the Elders’ Meeting or equivalent council in a Local Ecumenical Partnership has the responsibility for mitigating all health and safety risks around their premises and operations.
Government regulations no longer require the wearing of face coverings, although some will choose to do so and their decision must be respected by the local church.
We commend the practice of maintaining good hand hygiene, which has been shown to reduce the incidence of a number of other illnesses as well as Covid-19, so the ongoing provision of sanitiser is a sensible precaution where it is not practical to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
We should all be aware that it is likely we will see seasonal increases in Coronavirus, just as we do for ‘flu and other respiratory infections. Even though the main Covid-19 variants currently in the UK tend to produce milder disease, the potential for more serious effects remains. Churches should therefore be ready to reintroduce appropriate precautions according to local circumstances at any time, whether or not they are mandated by legislation.
We believe that the experience gained in the last two years will help churches to respond appropriately. The Synod Moderators are only likely to offer further guidance if the UK Governments change their approach.
The Synod Moderators
Download this guidance: Coronavirus: Synod Moderators’ updated guidance – June 2022