Even though the new regulations announced by the NI Executive on 14 October did not include the closing of churches there are still some implications for our parishes.
From the Diocese of Down and Dromore website:
We are grateful that in–church worship is allowed to continue in its present form with the wearing of face masks, strict two metre social distancing and hand sanitisation. The government will be legislating to make it a legal requirement to wear face coverings when entering or exiting places of worship (apart from wedding parties) but we strongly encourage the wearing of masks at all times unless leading or participating from the front and at a distance from the congregation. Cleaning protocols where required, remain in place.
There continues to be no maximum attendance for church services/gatherings with the exception of weddings and funerals, which are capped at 25 attendees from Monday 19 October. In the case of funerals these numbers apply to church buildings, funeral homes and gravesides. Again, other government guidelines including social distancing, the wearing of masks etc should be adhered to.
Other meetings and gatherings as part of church activities should now only take place where deemed as absolutely essential to support others or conduct business, such as a food bank ministry or General Vestry meetings.
Pastoral visitation can continue as before, again adhering to all government guidelines and permissions from those being visited.
In keeping with the closure of schools, we are recommending that all face–to–face youth and children’s ministry is suspended from Friday 16 October to Monday 2 November when schools return. We will review this in line with the advice given to schools at this time. Children’s and Youth ministry will return to online platforms where possible.