Monday, 19 July saw Scotland move into the next stage of the Scottish Government’s route map for exiting lockdown, with the nation moving into Level 0. In addition to general guidance related to Level 0, the Scottish Government has now also published updated guidance for places of worship, weddings and funerals, and a number of other sectors relevant to church communities.

Gatherings and activities

The following rules apply in relation to gatherings and activities in Level 0:

  • Eight people from four households can meet in a private home.
  • Ten people from four households can meet in an indoor public place, such as a café.
  • Fifteen people from 15 households can meet outdoors.
  • Under 12s do not count towards total number of people meeting.
  • Social distancing is not required in a private home or outdoors within those group numbers (eg, the 15 meeting outdoors).

Almost all public premises are now allowed to open (except nightclubs), as are all everyday activities that are likely to be relevant to church communities such as youth and children’s work, recovery groups, cafés, sports activities and other events and meetings. 


Places of worship guidance

New guidance has now been published for churches in relation to Sunday services and other similar activities: Coronavirus: guidance for the safe use of places of worship.

The main changes to note for church services are that social distancing has now been reduced to one metre for building capacity purposes and that with the move to Level 0 singing is now allowed everywhere in Scotland. Churches are still legally required to adhere to social distancing in relation to building capacity. Sunday schools and other activities must also adhere to overall building capacity, although children under 12 are not required to socially distance where this is relevant to building capacity numbers. 

Importantly, face coverings remain a legal requirement for church services subject to the existing exemptions (those leading services, taking communion, etc).

Weddings and funerals

Wedding and funeral services are now allowed to have 200 people in attendance provided building capacity allows for this. There have recently been some small but significant changes in relation to face coverings at wedding parties, although guests are still required to wear face covering indoors. Full details can be found in the relevant guidance:

Wedding guidance: Coronavirus: wedding ceremonies and civil partnership registrations, receptions and celebrations 

Funeral guidance: Coronavirus: guidance for funeral services 

Children’s work and youth work

Updated guidance has now been published for both children’s work and youth work. There is some overlap in this guidance and if in doubt churches should consult both sets of guidance to see which best applies to the activities being organised. With the lack of maximum numbers and social distancing requirements, it is important that churches think through how to continue to make these activities safe for everyone involved.

Children’s work guidance: Coronavirus: organised activities for children 

Youth work guidance: youth-work-covid-19-guidance-framework.pdf (youth​linkscot​land​.org)

Events and hospitality

Churches considering running outdoor events or services over summer can now have up to 2,000 people attending (2,000 seated, 1,000 limit for standing). The live events guidance has now also been updated and contains information about how best to run these sorts of events. 

Live events guidance: Coronavirus: events sector guidance

For churches operating cafés or café church gatherings, hospitality guidance should be followed. There is some reference to food and drink in the places of worship guidance but for more hospitality events this guidance should be followed:

Hospitality guidance: Coronavirus: tourism and hospitality sector

This article should be read in conjunction with the relevant Scottish Government guidance for the activity undertaken. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the Evangelical Alliance Scotland team if you have any questions or need clarification on any aspect of the guidance: scotland@​eauk.​org. We continue to engage with the Scottish Government on a weekly basis on these issues.