British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today that churches have been added to the list of establishments where patrons must wear facemasks to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
On 31 July 2020 Mr. Johnson said his government was extending the “requirement to wear a face covering to other indoor settings where you’re likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet, such as museums, galleries, cinemas, and places of worship. We now recommend face coverings are worn in these settings, and this will become enforceable in law from 8 August.”
On 24 July the government asked patrons of shops and public transport to wear facemasks, and encouraged worshippers to wear masks in church. The new rule makes facemasks mandatory.
The Church of England’s “Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for churches” website updated its recommendations following the prime minister’s announcement. It stated:
“The Prime Minister has outlined plans to make face coverings mandatory in Places of Worship from 8th August and has withdrawn guidance to permit indoor professional performances with immediate effect. We will study detailed government regulations and guidance once they are available and will update our guidance accordingly.”
“In the meantime, we continue to strongly advise that face coverings should be worn by all those attending a place of worship, including ministers, worshippers, staff, volunteers, contractors and visitors, where there may be other people present; remembering that they are mainly intended to protect other people, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) and that they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.”