Guidance on wearing Face Masks in Church

The Recovery Group has been set up to support the Church of England as government guidance changes through the COVID-19 pandemic. This document has been prepared with information available by the issue date. It will be kept under review and updated as the situation develops, with each update issued as a new version. The current version will always be available to download from the Church of England website via the Coronavirus FAQs page.
This guidance is to help clergy and their congregations to understand the current advice on wearing face coverings, and how this applies in churches. This advice is reflected in the specific
Government guidance for conducting various worship services within enclosed spaces such as church buildings.
1. Q. Should I wear a face covering in a church building?
A. Face coverings are currently mandatory on public transport and will be mandatory in shops and in supermarkets from 24 July 2020. People are also encouraged to wear face coverings in enclosed
public spaces where there are people they do not normally meet, such as a place of worship.
We 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.
2. Q. What is a face covering?
A. A face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth. You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth
covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face.
These are different from surgical and other face masks that are part of PPE used in health and social care settings. We do not recommend the use of PPE in church buildings other than for specialist cleaning activities.
3. Q. Why should we wear face coverings?
A. Coronavirus (COVID-19) can spread predominantly by droplets and perhaps aerosols from coughs, sneezes and speaking. The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a
face covering can reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others. Because face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, from coronavirus (COVID-19) they are not a replacement for physical distancing and regular hand washing.