On 24th June Nicola Sturgeon announced a series of indicative dates in preparation for moving into Phase 3 of the Scottish Government route map out of lockdown, due to begin on 9th July.

With new cases of coronavirus now at a very low level in Scotland, potential dates for Phases 3& 4 have been significantly accelerated. This has included plans for schools to now open full time in August with no social distancing requirements.

We are writing this piece to keep our members informed following our previous updates on Phase 1 and Phase 2. While we are not yet in Phase 3, there are some significant developments that are important for churches and organisations to be aware of. We have listed those dates below that may have an impact for local churches and ministries as they decide on plans for discipleship and use of buildings moving forward. 

For now the current links are all still applicable:

This article should also be read in conjunction with our Emerging from Lockdown FAQs and guidance.

Key Indicative Dates

Phase 2

29th June – Marriage Ceremonies permitted (outdoors and restricted to eight people from three households plus the celebrant)

3rd July – Travel restrictions lifted

6th July – Outdoor hospitality allowed

Phase 3

10th July – People can meet in extended groups outdoors

Households can meet indoors with up to a maximum of two other households (with physical distancing)

13th July – Organised outdoor contact sports can resume for children and young people 

15th July – Indoor hospitality allowed 

All childcare providers can open

Museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments, libraries can open

All of these dates are subject to restrictions of physical distancing and specific guidance which can be found on the Scottish Government website.

It is clear from these dates that there are now significant opportunities for churches to consider how to do in person’ discipleship and pastoral support over the coming weeks, whether that is outdoor youth work, small groups or one to one discipleship. This starts to also become possible indoors from 15th July. 

Church Buildings

One significant date that has not yet been announced is a date for church buildings themselves to reopen (currently listed as not before 23rd July’) for small gatherings and ministries to take place. It is not apparent why church buildings are deemed to be more dangerous than cafes, bars, cinemas or hotels for socially distanced interaction so we have written to Aileen Campbell, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, seeking clarification on this point. 

Buildings will vary widely across churches, so we are not seeking to advocate a particular course for member churches when they decide to reopen; but it is important that those who wish to do so should be able to use buildings on the same basis as other indoor premises unless there is a clear public health reason why this should not be the case. We continue to engage on a weekly basis with Scottish Government officials who are drafting guidance on Phase 3 to help churches navigate the practicalities of reopening buildings in a safe way. 



Emerging from Lockdown16th July, Livestream with Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director, Scottish Government

We are very aware that leaders are having to think through very practically what the coming weeks will look like, in a much faster way than perhaps envisaged even a few weeks ago.

There are great opportunities to creatively think about how we do mission and discipleship, but also very practical challenges about how we continue to protect each other and reopen buildings safely.

We are therefore delighted to be hosting a Livestream at 2.30pm on 16th July with Professor Jason Leitch — National Clinical Director at the Scottish Government — to help churches think through the different aspects of coming out of lockdown. We are keen to hear from members ahead of this and questions can be submitted to scotland@​eauk.​org. Details of how to join will become available on our website shortly.