10th May 2021 – Partial Re-Opening of Churches – Nick Park explains how this will affect churches
You have probably seen that the Taoiseach has announced that in-person church services can legally recommence as from 10 May 2021. Initially the announcement was very brief, simply limiting attendance at each service to 50, and stressing the need to continue to wear face coverings and practice distancing.
Last night, as soon as the announcement was made, I emailed the Taoiseach’s Office and requested that the zonal system that pertained previously might apply, thus allowing larger church buildings to seat people in zones of 50.
I am happy to report that the government responded positively to this request today. Each zone of 50 worshippers must be separated from other zones by 4 metres, and each zone must have its own entrance/exit. There can be no interaction between zones, either before or during the service.
On a less positive note, the restrictions on congregational singing and choir singing from December still apply. Solo singing with accompanist is permitted subject to compliance with detailed guidance contained in HSE Covid-19 Guidance for Religious Services.
It should also be noted that the reopening of church buildings is for worship services only. Other indoor gatherings, even if they are of a religious nature, are still prohibited.
If you have questions or need further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to further relaxations of restrictions as the nation moves forward.
Bless you and guide you!
Executive Director of Evangelical Alliance Ireland