Revised Phase 3 guidance issued by Advisory Group following face covering requirement

August 15, 2020

The Advisory Group of the Scottish Episcopal Church has revised its Phase 3 guidance for coming out of lockdown, following the Scottish Government’s decision to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory in places of worship.

There has been a delay in issuing this revised guidance while clarification was awaited on a  suggestion that the taking of contact details of those attending church might also be made mandatory by the Government (at present it remains recommended, but not compulsory). There has in fact been no shift on that position during the past week and so the Advisory Group now reissues its Phase 3 guidance to reflect the requirement to wear face coverings.

The new guidance is available at:

The principal changes from the previous version are: –

  • to reflect the fact that face coverings are now compulsory in places of worship.
  • to reflect the fact that a visor or face shield is not to be regarded as an adequate face covering on its own.
  • to reflect the requirement that places of worship are now legally required to “have regard” to Government guidance.
  • to clarify the position regarding children’s activities. Nicola Sturgeon made a brief public comment earlier this week which suggested that Sunday Schools may not be permissible at the current time. This has caused a degree of confusion and appeared to be at odds with the Government’s own published guidance for Places of Worship. We have been in contact with Government about that this week. Essentially, children’s activities which are part and parcel of the usual Sunday act of worship are permissible (subject to the overall cap of 50 people in total (adults and children)). The Government is not at the current time permitting stand alone “faith-based education activities” which are separate from worship services.

The Pastoral Advice from the College of Bishops has also been revised simply to make clear that a visor on its own is not to be regarded as an adequate face covering. It is available at: –

The question regarding the wearing of face coverings in church services contained in the Frequently Asked Questions for Phase 3 has been revised to reflect the new mandatory requirement. The FAQs are available at: –