Safety Guidelines

17th 0f December 2021 Updated Covid Rules



Briefly, the two changes impacting on POW are:


  1. The requirement on a person responsible for a POW to take such measures as are reasonably practicable to minimise the risk of transmission. 

  2. The extending of the distance from 1 metre to 2 metres where an exemption from wearing a face covering applies in certain indoor settings.  This includes in the workplace; when leading an act of worship; rehearsing or performing or in certain parts of a marriage ceremony.


There were some additional points raised in the meeting that people required clarity on which I have tried to give answers to below:


Q. Does the change from 1 to 2m distancing impact on those in the congregation who are exempt from face coverings on other / medical grounds? 

A.  No.  That exemption with the mitigation of 2m distancing applies to the following:

  • for ministers of religion leading acts of worship.

  • for the person leading a funeral service, marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration

  • for the couple getting married or entering a civil partnership.

  • for performing, rehearsing, presenting, addressing a public gathering, making a speech or being a panel member.

  • for performing or rehearsing.


Q.  Will funerals, weddings and other life events be impacted?

A.  Yes in relation to the change mentioned above (1m changing to 2m distancing where some roles are exempt from face coverings). 


Q.  Will those playing instruments be impacted by the changes?

A.   No.  The guidance remains the same – face coverings should be worn when playing instruments (unless this not possible, in which case, the mitigation of 2m distancing / screens would come in). 


Q.  Will guidance be provided for calculating basic capacity numbers for places of worship?

A.  No.  At present, this remains the responsibility of the person responsible for the place for worship. 


Full Instructions Below

Safe Use of Places of Worship


This guidance is regularly reviewed and will be updated if any changes occur.


This guidance for the safe use of places of worship should be regarded as supplementary to the general guidance on staying safe and protecting others.


We are hugely grateful to the efforts and collaboration of Scotland’s faith and belief communities in continuing to follow best practice guidance in places of worship.


With the recent rapid increase in Omicron COVID-19 cases, we are facing an exceptionally challenging winter and know that this presents significant risks to the National Health Service.  It is within the context of these pressures, that further regulations have been introduced:  The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 5) Regulations 2021 (


Those responsible for a place of worship must take such measures as are reasonably practicable, to minimise the risk of the incidence and spread of coronavirus on the premises.  This includes measures to reduce crowding and encourage distancing such as changing the layout of furniture; appropriate use of signage; controlling the use of entrances, smaller spaces and shared facilities.   


It is essential that those responsible for a place of worship, carry out a full risk assessment to help decide which actions to take to ensure the safe management of a place of worship.  They must have due regard for the guidance. 


Some protective measures remain in law, such as the use of face coverings in most  indoor public places – including places of worship - subject to exemptions. Face coverings continue to be an important part of stopping the spread of coronavirus and should be worn correctly. The current guidance and exemptions are set out here: Coronavirus (COVID-19): face coverings and masks - (


We strongly advise encouraging congregations and visitors to physically distance in places of worship where possible and to undertake Lateral Flow Testing before attending services or gatherings.   Places of worship may wish to continue to collect visitor details for the purposes of supporting NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.  Ensuring adequate ventilation in buildings also remains an important precautionary measure. 


Further guidance for the Christmas season and festivities is available however if you are unsure about additional activities and events at a place of worship (beyond acts of worship) over the Christmas period, consider the advice to limit your contacts where possible and assess whether such activities and events can be deferred.    


Every person and every organisation in Scotland has a part to play in protecting the most vulnerable in society and staff working in public‑facing roles, easing the burden on the NHS and supporting our economic recovery.  Thank you for your continued support. 




Faith-specific practices

In addition to the requirements above we advise that:


General risks


  • services or ceremonies that would traditionally take place over a period of hours or days are adapted to reduce the time spent gathered together and therefore reduce the risk of transmission. 


Hygiene and communal resources

  • good respiratory hygiene (“Catch it, kill it, bin it”) is required at all times

  • individuals are prevented from touching or kissing devotional and other objects that are handled communally, or from placing their face or head in the same location as other worshippers. Use barriers and signs where necessary.

  • individuals avoid touching property belonging to others such as shoes which, if taken off, should be handled only by their owner.

  • where communal resources such as books, prayer mats and services sheets are required to be used as part of worship,

  • any personal items brought in to aid worship are removed by the user

  • cash giving is discouraged, with online giving used instead. Where cash offerings continue, any receptacle should be set in one place and not handled communally. Any person who has handled money should wash their hands thoroughly afterwards and avoid touching their face.


Singing, projection of voices

  • the use of a microphone and sound system can mitigate the need for the projection of voices where appropriate. Any microphone used should not be handled communally.

  • face coverings must be worn when involved in congregational singing, chanting and the playing of instruments. There is an exemption for performers and those leading an act of worship, or use of a partition or screen. Full details can we found in the Guidance on the use of face coverings.  A risk assessment should be carried out to consider any mitigating measures that may be put in place.


Food and drink as part of worship

  • where the consumption of food and drink is part of the act of worship, the use of communal vessels is avoided. 

  • other mitigations for the preparation and handling of food which is part of the act of worship are taken, including strict hand hygiene, pre-wrapping food items and avoiding the sharing of cutlery, crockery or utensils. Face coverings must be worn while preparing and handling food unless an exemption applies. 


Cleansing, ablutions and use of water

  • pre-requisite washing and ablution rituals can be carried out at places of worship if they can be done safely. Otherwise we advise that they are carried out at home. Where such facilities are used hygiene measures should be observed at all times and areas should be cleaned regularly. Individuals should not wash the body parts of others.

  • where rituals or ceremonies require water to be applied to the body, where possible full immersion is avoided and only small volumes are splashed onto the body. Where an infant is involved a parent/guardian should hold the infant. Strict hand hygiene should be maintained throughout.

  • during full immersion in water, where possible, the person being immersed should self-immerse;

  • during the immersion, clergy/the officiant may place their hands on the head of the person being immersed, but they should consider the need to touch them in any other way.

  • during the immersion, the person being immersed should remove their face covering, however any officiant/clergy attending them should wear a face covering unless an exemption applies;

  • if any contained body of non-chlorinated water is used in full immersion, such as a baptismal font, the water should be drained and the font cleaned, after each immersion;

  • where a swimming pool is used, please consider the latest . Immersion may also take place in a safe external space of open water.



Following best practice guidance for Places of Worship helps to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, protects the NHS and saves lives. 


Useful Links to Relevant Regulations and Guidance


Guidance for hospitality - Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector. Where a place of worship manages a hospitality business, e.g. café, they should follow this guidance.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 5) Regulations 2021 (



15th July 2021:

Following the Scottish Governments Safety Guidelines for control of
Covid: 19 Our Lady and St John the Baptist will Re-Open for Masses:

SATURDAY      at 6.00 pm

SUNDAY           at 11.30 am

Fr Patrick and the Parish Council would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone and look forward to seeing you in Church.
Due to the 1 Metre social distancing regulations, there will be restricted seating available, therefore we will still have to introduce a booking Ticket System to attend Mass.

There are approximately 38 spaces available at the moment in the church.  Obviously this will be adjusted as the restrictions are lifted. Please note you will have to fill in each person’s details who is booking a ticket so that we Know if it is for families, couples, individuals and we can arrange the seating plan.  So we can contact you if any matters arise. You will have to take your printed ticket with you or download a copy on to your phone to give to one of the safeguarding team who will welcome you at the door, so they can tick your name off their list.  Thank you in advance for doing this.

We know some of you may feel anxious and uncertain about getting some normality back to attending Church. We have put the following guidelines in place for you to keep everyone safe.


Following the Scottish Government announcement that public worship can commence in churches.  Please book a ticket to enable you attend any of the above Masses. Admission is limited to 38 spaces. If the 6:00pm are fully booked please book a ticket for the 11:30am Sunday Mass.  Live streamed Masses will still continue during Mass. Follow the Safety Guidelines below!

  1. General Information
    • Parishioners who are shielding or who have underlying medical conditions are not obliged to attend Mass until Scottish Government guidance advises that it is safe to do so.
    • Parishioners are encouraged to bring your own sanitiser and face masks
  2. On Arriving
    • You must wear a face mask when you enter the building and at all times and when exiting the Church. Please bring your own face masks as we have limited stock.
    • There will be stewards to direct you on safety matters, please adhere to their guidance
    • We need your name and telephone number to enable the ‘track & trace’ procedure. This information will only be retained for 14 days from the date of your visit, and kept in a secure location.
    • A team of volunteer/stewards will direct you into the church and indicate a seat for you (a family may take some seats together). Please be aware that the 2m rule has curtailed the numbers in our Church and we are required to be respectful of one another in these restrictions.
  3. Once in the Church we ask that
    • You observe a respectful silence
    • Adhere to social distancing
    • Holy Communion will be distributed to people in their seats not at exit as previously arranged. Before the distribution of Holy Communion, the priest will say from the sanctuary the words: to which everyone will answer:
  4. On Leaving the Church
    • Remove anything that you may have left on the chair.
    • Please ensure you use sanitiser before leaving the church.
    • Collection will be taken at exit as people leave the church, so ensure that you get your envelopes or cash ready before you get to the door. Thank you.

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