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The full government guidance for ‘individual prayer in places of worship’ has now been issued and, having reviewed its advice with the Standing Committee, we will be able to unlock St Mary’s, beginning this Sunday afternoon.
The final guidance has required us to make some changes to our previous plans. Firstly, we are asked not to open the church during times when services would normally take place. Secondly, we are also no longer required to have stewards on duty at all times. This means that we will be open slightly longer, but at different times to those previously advertised.
Therefore, beginning this weekend, we will open the church for private prayer on Sundays and Wednesdays 1pm-4pm.
Hand sanitiser points have already been installed and a simplified layout adopted to enable social distancing. So that people sit in chairs that have not previously been used that day, we are using a ‘traffic light’ card system. Chairs with green cards are unused; visitors are then asked to turn the card over so others will know not to sit there.
The government guidance is very clear that the new rules are intended only to permit personal prayer in church, and any form of social gathering is still prohibited. Please do ensure that we observe silence in the church and the area around the porch. The government guidance permits people to come into church with members of their own household but they are asked not to move the chairs as these have been spaced out in order to comply with the regulations.