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Resumption of Public Worship - Diocesan Regulations



Public Worship from 10th May 2021

Risk Assessment

The return to public worship is an opportune time to carry out a risk assessment to identify any potential problems.  It is important to have an adequate number of stewards and also people who will ensure a good standard of cleanliness.  Areas of concern should be identified, from previous experience, where the social distancing may be difficult e.g. as people enter and leave churches and also circulation at communion time.  This may necessitate staggering movement in and out and careful stewarding.  Checking signage for entry and exit and for routes through the church.   Also check supplies of cleaning equipment, hand gels, wipes etc.  


The number of people who can gather in any church is governed by the following 2 criteria:

·         2 metre distance must be maintained between each individual/household group.  

·         The maximum number of people allowed to gather in in church is 50. 

Many of our churches cannot accommodate the maximum number of 50 because the size of the church does not meet the requirement for ‘social distancing’. In such cases the requirement for 2 metres determines the maximum number allowed into the church.

Some churches, because of their larger size, may find that using the 2 metres distance requirement, they can accommodate a slightly larger number. However, in this case, they are restricted to 50 (the maximum permitted).

Please also note the following:

·         Household group – individuals must be counted to ensure you are not exceeding the maximum number in an indoor setting (50).

·         The celebrant should wear a face covering when entering and exiting the sanctuary and for the distribution of Holy Communion. 

·         Holy Communion is to be distributed on the hand only.

·         Holy Water fonts to be left empty.

·         Care should be taken that hosts are not in danger of being contaminated by airborne droplets. 

Larger Churches and ‘Pods’

Where the size of the church allows for a capacity of greater than 50 this may be permitted only where:

  • Social distancing guidelines are adhered to.
  • The premises can be subdivided into distinct sections (cordoned or marked appropriately) of not more than 50 persons in each section.
  • There is a minimum of 4 metres between sections.
  • Each section having its own entrance/exit route.
  • There are separate arrangements for elements of the service involving close contact, for example the distribution of Holy Communion.
  • Strictly no movement of people between sections before, during or after the service.
  • The building is well-ventilated.
  • Because of risk the numbers at funeral services and weddings is capped at 50 regardless of the size of the church.


From 10th May 50 mourners are permitted at a Funeral Service


From 10th May 50 guests are permitted at a marriage ceremony.  

First Friday and Communion Calls

First Friday calls may take place with the prior approval of the household.  When visiting use a face covering, sanitise hands before and after and stay a short time.  Several houses should not be visited during the one day.  Anointing are carried out using a disposable cotton bud.


The Sacrament of Penance may take place in the church (not in the confessional) or outside the church, maintaining social distancing and using face coverings.


As with previous reopening for religious services congregational singing and choir singing is not permitted.

Solo singing with accompanist is permitted subject to compliance with detailed guidance contained in HSE Covid-19 Guidance for Religious Services.

Outdoor Worship is not permitted in line with Government restrictions on organised outdoor gatherings.

Drive-in Religious Services may take place outside places of worship (e.g. church carpark) where all attendees remain in their vehicles and no sharing of vehicle outside of family unit.

Use of Religious premises for any other purposes/parochial activities/community meetings etc. should follow Government restrictions on organised indoor gatherings.