Holy Family Blackpool 01253 352587

Guidance for of Churches:

Guidelines December 2021

Omega Variation

Relaxation in May 2021

For the full text see the Bishops' conference site 


  1. There is some relaxation in the use of the confessional – as long as it is well-ventilated and a barrier/screen is in place.
  2. Funerals - mourners can attend up to the church’s safe capacity. The 30 person rule is dropped.
  3. Singing; use of holy water stoups; Communion under both kinds; sign of peace – no change at the present time.
  4. Offertory procession can take place.
  5. Communion in the hand recommended; however, Communion on the tongue can take place, so long as those who wish to receive on the tongue are at the back of the queue. Not recommended if there is a local surge in infections.
  6. Sunday collection may take place with volunteers holding the basket and moving around church (but not baskets passed-around the congregation).
  7. Baptisms – standalone baptisms with up to 30 persons can take place.
  8. Weddings – up to 30 persons present (30 includes the couple, but not anyone ‘working’ at the event).
  9. Use of face coverings remains a legal requirement at the present time.
  10. Stewarding requirement dropped for weekday Mass and private prayer. Stewards only needed on Sundays and major services (and possibly larger funerals).
  11. Track and Trace remains in place, though on weekdays, those visiting church need to take personal responsibility for signing-in.
  12. Some flexibility in the assessment of safe capacity of a church (e.g. possible to safely drop to 1m+ with mitigation, though some smaller churches have been doing this for a while).
  13. A reasonable number of home visits per day with Holy Communion can take place, including by extra-ordinary ministers.
  14. Ensure the NHS QR code is displayed at your church hall, or ensure user groups keep a track and trace record of attendees. Note that not all activities are permitted just yet. 

In addition,

  1. Funerals - you may wish to consider that your safe number for funerals might be lower than your normal Sunday safe number. This is because those regularly attending Sunday Mass are well-familiar with the covid-security rules and the layout of the church. Mourners are also likely to be greeting one another both inside and outside, especially if they haven’t seen each other for a long time. Together with the funeral director and family, you will need to design a mechanism to ensure attendance doesn’t go beyond your safe capacity (e.g. a guest list or seating plan).
  2. 1 metre plus - If you are dropping from 2m+ with mitigation to 1m+ with mitigation, please advise parishioners of this a week or so before implementation. A cleaning schedule still needs to be in place.
  3. You can get free testing kits. Consider use of these before home visits
  4. We are asked to assess risk ‘dynamically’, i.e. taking into account local conditions. The so-called ‘Indian variant’ is of concern in parts of the north west at the present time.
  5. Whilst the C.B.C.E.W. guidance references possible re-commencement of social activities, please read government guidance carefully. For example, the re-introduction of coffee after Sunday Mass for a large group indoors would not appear to be permitted at the present time, unless there is at-table service for groups of no more than six persons/two households on a table, as per the rules for hospitality venues.
  6. See also ‘England - Summary table of Covid 19 restrictions’ in Safetytoolbox's resources section. 

Canon Paul Embery V.G.