The First Minister reported to the Scottish Parliament on 30 July 2020 in relation to the most recent three weekly review of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland.
The Church’s Advisory Group met shortly after that announcement and noted that none of the limited relaxations announced by the First Minister require any significant change to guidance previously issued by the Advisory Group.
However, since the previous versions of the Phase 3 guidance were issued in July, most people have had more experience of wearing face coverings on public transport and in shops and similar settings and as a consequence public perceptions of wearing face coverings appear to be changing. Whilst the Scottish Government guidance for places of worship recommends the wearing of face coverings where physical distancing is compromised, and the Advisory Group remains of the view that physical distancing and hygiene measures should be the prime means of protection against the spread of the virus, the Group has decided that it is appropriate to strengthen its guidance to encourage the wearing of face coverings by all worshippers attending public worship or individual prayer.
The Group’s Phase 3 guidance has been revised to reflect that and now also provides some advice on how face coverings should be dealt with during the administration of Holy Communion. It is available at:
The FAQs on the website have also been revised to reflect that strengthening of guidance:
The Group is aware that in England, the wearing of face coverings in places of worship is to be compulsory from 8 August. The Scottish Government has not so far indicated whether it will introduce such a requirement north of the border but the Advisory Group continues to monitor the situation and will issue further guidance if the position changes.