Face Coverings

It is a legal requirement that anyone 12 years of age or older who attends a church building must wear an appropriate face covering at all times unless there is a reasonable excuse for not wearing one. Reasonable excuses are defined under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 and members of the congregation and visitors to the church building should familiarise themselves with these exemptions.

Ministers and those leading worship may decide that it is not appropriate to wear a face covering during a service. Face coverings can be removed during a service as long as a distance of at least 2 metres is maintained, or a plastic screen erected between them and those attending church. However, a face covering must be worn at all other times when attending church. A choir may also remove face coverings when actively singing if they are in an area apart from the congregation (chancel or choir loft, but not in the main seating area of the church) and remain 2m apart from each other or have a plastic screen erected between each singer. The same is true for worship bands.

Similarly, the same rule applies to those leading a funeral or marriage ceremony. At a wedding, the couple can remove face coverings throughout the ceremony (when the minister or deacon is conducting the act of worship but not before or afterwards); however, the minister or deacon should take extra care when standing in front of the couple during this period and a distance of 2m or a plastic screen should be in place between the couple and the celebrant and the couple and the congregation.

Face coverings are only required to be worn indoors. However, congregations should respect an individual's choice to wear a face covering whilst outside the church building. Congregations should also be aware that in some cases, sector-specific guidance published by the Scottish Government allows for the removal of face coverings whilst inside the church building; for example, whilst undertaking some forms of exercise. Congregations must check with all organisations and groups that use their church buildings as to their professional bodies' requirement to wear a face covering and with the Scottish Government's sector-specific guidance.