Coronavirus in the Hérault
The following is Roger's distillation of the new recommendations recently published by the Bishops for holding Church of England services. (January 2021)
Rules in the Hérault
* Two seats each side of each person and one empty row of seats before and behind.
* The wearing of a mask is compulsory in places of worship.
Church of England advice as it applies to us
* Those with COVID-19 symptoms or who are vulnerable to infection should not attend live worship.
* An attendance register is to be kept with people using their own pens or pencils.
* Each person or family or group to carry a small hand sanitiser bottle.
* Disinfectants and hand washing/sanitizing facilities to be provided at the church entrance.
* Door handles and hand railings need to be disinfected on a regular basis.
* All doors should be secured open from before people assemble until after they leave.
* Clergy should not stand at the door to welcome people arriving.
* All sidespeople/welcomers should wash their hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
* No handshaking or other physical touch.
* A two-metre distance between persons in all directions during a service, standing or sitting, is to be rigorously observed.
* The seating areas will need to be marked in a way to aid ‘distancing’.
* Families and individuals can sit together if they are living together.
* Worship and hymn books to be avoided. Liturgy and hymns should be shown on screen or printed and made available to be picked up rather than being distributed by hand.
* Keep the service to a maximum of one hour.
* Face masks are required and may only be removed by speakers and to eat Communion bread.
* Singing is a risk: if done, it should be very softly with masks on and greater physical distancing.
* Readers, preachers, leaders of intercessions etc, should not to touch lecterns or pulpits.
* No touching at the Peace: a sign of reconciliation can be conveyed at a distance.
* Holy Communion to be distributed in the form of bread/wafer only, without touching hands.
* Both elements will be consecrated, but the wine should not be distributed.
* Only the presiding minister should handle the vessels and administer Holy Communion.
* Priests presiding at the Eucharist should wash their hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer.
* The priest should use a face mask and gloves.
* The priest should not touch anyone during the administration of the Holy Communion or in giving individual blessings, or laying on hands for prayer or for healing.
* Communicants should queue in a single line with a sensible distance between them.
* Offerings are to be placed on a tray at the exit.
* Those who count the collection at the end of the service should wear gloves.
* If the church is filled to permitted capacity, no further entry is allowed: this presents difficulties.
* Pre and post service gatherings, formal or informal, should not happen and the congregation should disperse immediately after the service. No refreshments should be offered.
* Scrupulous cleaning of churches before and after each use is necessary.
* Cleaning personnel need to be properly briefed/trained and equipped.
* Ministers are to withdraw from the congregation after worship.
Link to French Government website, including attestation downloads
Diocese in Europe Coronavirus Guidance & Updates
Please click on the link on the right for the latest guidelines from our own diocese.
Please take good care of yourselves and those around you,