23rd February 2021

Dear Friends

Covid-19 an update:
You will have noted HM Government's "Roadmap" out of lockdown, and here, subject to detailed guidance being issued, is my assessment of where we are:

1. Reopening buildings — we have yet to hear from the Director's of Health in Lancashire, who are the ones who asked places of worship to close, therefore, my assessment is that we are still looking at reopening our buildings no earlier than Easter Sunday.

2. Singing — with no direct guidance from HM Government, it is my assessment that singing in Church will not be allowed for some time to come.

3. Mask wearing — Sir Patrick Vallance in his briefing from Downing Street yesterday said that mask wearing, hand hygiene and working from home could be expected to continue until next winter. This means that we can expect to be wearing masks in Church until at least the spring of 2022 and, unless Government guidance changes, organisations such as NISCU may still be advised to work from home.

Step One — 8th March
The only change to current guidance is that weddings will be allowed to take place, with no more than six people (less those who are working) in attendance. Funeral teas will be allowed, but again with only six people in attendance.

Step Two — no earlier than 12th April
Funerals will still be limited to 30, however, weddings plus receptions will be allowed with a limit of fifteen, funeral teas will also be limited to 15.

Step Three — no earlier than 17th May
"Most significant life events", which includes funerals, weddings and baptisms will be allowed (baptisms for the first time) and will be limited to 30. The "Rule of Six" returns, which COULD mean that we can have refreshments in Church again, however, there should be no large groups of people taking them.

Step Four — no earlier than 21st June
No legal limit on all life events, therefore, more or less back to normal. However, please be aware that for Conferences, there will be a limit of 1,000 or 50% of a venue's capacity, whichever is the lower. In my assessment, this could mean that even after this date, and for a little while ahead, Churches MAY be limited to 50% of their capacity, which will be an increase on now (for some Chapel's), but could still impact on some Chapel's. On or after this date, there will be no legal limits on social contact, which in my assessment would mean that we can have refreshments again, however, a note of caution, please remember what I have noted above with regards to mask wearing, difficult having a brew wearing a mask, we will have to see how that plays out!

Once more targeted guidance is issued by HM Government, I will send out further information.

With every blessing

Roy Burley
Minister Bare, Torrisholme and Wesley Methodist Church
District and Circuit GDPR Champion
Circuit Covid Information Coordinator

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