Face-to-face advice services, including recovery community and mutual aid groups are permitted to resume in places of worship. Both professionally led and peer led services, one-to-one support or group support can take place. Examples of such services might be support for alcohol and drug services and mental health and wellbeing support groups, including groups for mental ill health, weight loss, bereavement support and victim support. Numbers for these groups can be set at the safe capacity for the venue in which they meet with all physical distancing measures in place.
In places of worship within a level 0, 1 or 2 area such groups can take place. In level 3 areas groups can take place but should be moved online wherever possible. In level 4 areas only essential activities can take place face-to-face where they are essential for people’s wellbeing and remote delivery is not possible. An essential support group is one where participants’ health (including their mental health) and wellbeing would be significantly impacted by non-attendance. If groups must take place in person, relevant guidance must be followed.
In general, congregations must be able to justify the service as being essential and that the number of volunteers is the minimum required. For example, if a congregation hosts a meeting of Narcotics Anonymous for six homeless people who cannot meet online then they may continue with all the usual mitigations of masks, open windows etc. However, it is not acceptable to continue the Wednesday Bible Study, however important that may be to its regular participants.