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Coronavirus advice for churches

by Michael Ford last modified 06 Mar, 2020 08:39 AM

Churches are already following best-hygiene practices that include advising parishioners with coughs and sneezes to refrain from handshaking during the Peace and to receive only Communion bread but, at present, there is no Government advice that suggests the use of the Common Cup should be suspended.

That was the message from the Church of England as they issued their latest advice on the Coronavirus and churches. The latest advice can be accessed here.

The advice says that it is also best practice for churches to have hand-sanitisers available for parishioners to use.

In addition, priests presiding at the Eucharist, communion administrators and servers should wash their hands, preferably with an alcohol-based (minimum 60%) hand-sanitiser.

Intinction (dipping the bread or wafer into the wine) is not recommended, as this represents an infection transmission route as well as a risk to those with certain allergies.

Whilst in places of worship, there is no need to avoid other worshippers who are well, or to change normal faith practices – this includes taking wine from the communal chalice. Public Health England recommends that you should take the usual infection prevention precautions including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin. Download a poster from NHS England with guidance.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.

Best hygiene practice should continue to be observed in all pastoral contacts.

The latest advice can be accessed here.

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