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Scottish Government Advice concerning faith gatherings


2.2. Faith settings Current government advice is not to restrict or cancel religious gatherings. Public gatherings, particularly those involving worship, are a fundamental part of every-day life for people of faith communities and can help maintain morale. Faith leaders may wish to include basic information and materials developed by credible public health sources, such as NHS Inform, about coronavirus COVID-19 in public meetings including small group meetings (e.g. announcements, sermons) and promote the practice of preventive actions. In addition, faith leaders may wish to ensure resources are displayed in prominent places. Faith leaders should consider what amendments could be made to rituals that involve close contact between individuals or the use of shared objects to prevent the spread of infection. They should also review their processes for planning events and carrying out services, identifying actions to take to prevent the spread of infection – particularly amongst the most vulnerable of the population. Faith leaders and helpers visiting someone in their home who is currently well, should wash their hands when they arrive and when they leave, either with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or by using a hand sanitiser. People who are self-isolating and require pastoral support should not be visited in person but may be supported over the phone. Faith leaders or helpers providing pastoral care for people who are in care homes or hospitals, should follow advice from staff on infection control. They may consider providing support over the phone. Health Protection Scotland 12 Ensuring that arrangements for those who have died as a result of infection with coronavirus COVID-19 are respectful of the beliefs and sensitivities of the deceased and bereaved is a priority for emergency planners, coroners and faith communities alike. Faith communities, will therefore play a key role in funeral services and in the burial/cremation process. Potential challenges faith community leaders should be aware of include:  They need to consider what rituals or other religious or spiritual care they can give to members of your community should there be a delay in the management of the body.  You will need to liaise closely with funeral directors about what is and is not permissible during the funeral and what is permissible about how bodies will be managed.   
This has been taken from the NHS Scotland Covid-19 “Information and Advice for Non-healthcare Settings, version 2.2.