Hospitality in church buildings is permitted. It is a legal requirement that all hospitality settings keep a record of those who have attended as part of the NHS Test and Protect programme. Whether a meal is served or a cup of coffee after worship it is vital that congregations follow this process. More information can be found in the Test and Protect section .
The Scottish Government recommend that table service be considered; however, it is permissible to have people standing to drink a cup of tea after a service, for example.
It is important that congregations do not allow ‘shared' items of food or condiments to be used. This may mean considering how milk and sugar is provided (for example, individual portions whilst considering environmental impacts or the person serving pouring the milk into the cup). Individuals should not ‘pick' a biscuit from a plate and instead they should be served a biscuit. Those preparing and serving should be kept to a minimum and should wear face coverings and observe good hand hygiene throughout the service.
In respect of both COVID and general Food Hygiene regulations no food prepared off premises (except for food prepared in a commercial, environmental health-approved facility) should be served. This would also extend to home baking.
Congregations may find it helpful to familiarise themselves with the Scottish Government's guidance for the hospitality sector to ensure they are meeting the relevant requirements.Congregations should also refer to the Food Standards Scotland guidance on COVID and food businesses.