Should I wear a face covering in a church building?
Face coverings are currently mandatory on public transport and in a range of indoor venues including places of worship and church halls. While there are exemptions, outlined below, this is a legal requirement.
You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:
- Those who are leading services or events in a place of worship, and those who assist them (for instance by reading, preaching, or leading prayer) do not always need to wear a face covering, although one should be worn especially if physical distancing cannot be maintained (i.e. distributing consumables)
- This exemption does not apply to worshippers, who should wear face coverings consistent with the requirements for any other public space.
- These exemptions will also cover the bride and groom at a wedding and those officiating at the wedding.
- These exemptions are made to enable communication, particularly with those who rely on lip-reading, facial expressions or clear sound; they do not exempt clergy and other leaders from wearing face coverings in other situations or during other activities.
There are a range of other reasons for not wearing a face covering, including:
- young children under the age of 11
- not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
- if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
- if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
- to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
- to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
- to eat or drink, but only if you need to
- to take medication
- if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:
- If asked to do so by shop staff for the purpose of age identification
- If speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication.