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Saturday, Dec 05, 2020

Can religious services still go ahead under new restrictions on gatherings?

Can religious services still go ahead under new restrictions on gatherings?

Tomorrow, September 14, will officially see the new ‘rule of six’ come into effect across England – the government’s latest efforts to control the spread of coronavirus.

Following the new guidance, no more than six people can meet together, inside or outside.

Speaking at a press conference in Downing Street on Wednesday, September 9, Mr Johnson confirmed: ‘In England, from Monday, we’re introducing the rule of six. You must not meet socially in groups of more than six and, if you do, you’re break­ing the law.’

However, with some exemptions already made clear - such as for schooling and work - what is the rule towards religious gatherings and services in churches, synagogues and other houses of worship?

Does the rule of six apply to churches and other places of worship?


The Government’s ban on social gatherings of more than six people will not apply to places of worship.

The Archbishop of Canterbury wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning: ‘After contact with Government we hear that there is no change to guidance on places of worship. Worship is the work of God - not a social gathering - and gives the strength to love and serve.’

In another message on Twitter, Archbishop Welby wrote: ‘The increase in Covid cases is very concerning. We must follow the guidance and take all the necessary measures to keep people safe.’



Which touches on a point made clear by the Prime Minister – places that are exempt from the rule must still follow social distancing and ensure they’re doing all they can to help contain the spread of the virus.

In his press conference, the PM said of the places exempt: ‘Within those venues, however, there must not be individual groups larger than six, and groups must not mix socially together or form larger groups.’

He also added that ‘Covid-secure weddings and funerals can go ahead, up to a limit of 30 people.’

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