Scots churches to reopen for worship - but hymns still banned

Scots congregations will be able to return to church and other places of worship for religious services from next Wednesday - but singing hymns remains banned.

St Cuthbert's Church has been allowing three people to be praying at once with standalone chairs set up two metres apart to assist social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak
St Cuthbert's Church has been allowing three people to be praying at once with standalone chairs set up two metres apart to assist social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak

Nicola Sturgeon has also announced that she will ease the current restrictions in place for funerals and weddings, as she confirmed that Scotland will move to phase 3 of Coronavirus lockdown exit.

The changes for churches and funerals had been earmarked for later in phase 3, but the First Minister told MSPs these can be undertaken safely next week, provided safeguards are in place.

Hide Ad

"After careful consideration, we have decided that from 15 July, places of worship can reopen for communal prayer, congregational services and contemplation," Ms Sturgeon said today.

Numbers will be remain limited with 2 metres physical distancing and contact details collected of these attending.

Hide Ad

But Ms Sturgeon added: " Unfortunately, given what we know of transmission risks, singing and chanting will also be restricted.

"Detailed guidance is currently being finalised in consultation with our faith communities, but I hope today’s announcement will be welcomed by all those for whom faith and worship is important and a source of comfort."

Hide Ad

Funerals have been restricted to a household member of the person who has died or close family members - or friends if no close family members are attending the funeral.

Hide Ad

Ms Sturgeon said that the restrictions will now be eased for services and ceremonies for funerals, weddings and civil partnerships. But numbers will again remain restricted and physical distancing will be required.

"I must stress that this change applies only to services. Associated gatherings – such as wakes or receptions - must continue to follow the limits on household gatherings and hospitality,” the First Minister added.

Hide Ad

I am well aware that the restrictions we have had to place on attendance at funerals in these last few months have been particularly hard to bear and I am grateful to everyone who has complied, in what I know will have been heartbreaking circumstances."

A message from the Editor:

Hide Ad

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Hide Ad

Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Hide Ad

Joy Yates

Editorial Director

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.