COVID-19 Government guidance
This page contains guidance from the Government on COVID-19.
The latest Government guidance, effective from Monday 1 June, can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing
UK Government information on COVID-19 is at: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
The NHS guidance can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
On 23 April, the UK Government issued updated guidance of volunteering safely: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely--2/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely
Closure of places of worship
In the Government's daily coronavirus press conference on 31 May, Robert Jenrick said that the Government's first step regarding the reopening of places of worship will be to open them for individual or private prayer in the coming weeks, and that they are working closely with faith leaders to ensure this.
On 13 May, the Government updated its guidance on the closure of certain businesses and venues in England, including places of worship https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, announced that the government is setting up task forces to look at how to safely reopen places of worship. The Government's current planning assumption is that this step will be no earlier than 4 July. The UK Government's COVID-19 recovery strategy can be viewed here https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/884760/Our_plan_to_rebuild_The_UK_Government_s_COVID-19_recovery_strategy.pdf
On 23 March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation, calling for the closure of all places of worship. A transcript of the speech can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-address-to-the-nation-on-coronavirus-23-march-2020
Public Health England has issued the following advice on funerals: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-a-funeral-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-a-funeral-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic – this guidance was issued on 31 March, with the revised version following on 19 April. This guidance was further updated on 18 May.
On 9 April the Government clarified the position on cemeteries and burial grounds, now listed as an 'exception' and therefore able to remain open: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance.
Following concerns about the inability of families to attend funerals, MHCLG Minister of State Simon Clarke MP wrote on 17 April to local authorities in England https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-sets-out-plans-to-ensure-bereaved-families-can-attend-funerals-during-pandemic and MHCLG published the following guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-local-death-management. A further letter from him to local authorities of 23 April speaks of guidance being updated to make clear "that burial grounds and cemeteries may remain open, and that grounds surrounding crematoria may also remain open, including gardens of remembrance" and says that his officials "have made accompanying technical amendments to the Regulations to dispel all confusion surrounding the status of burial grounds, and people’s ability to visit them and similar places". See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-parks-and-public-spaces-including-burial-grounds-and-cemeteries
The following advice, targeted more at health and funeral professionals, updated 20 April, is relevant to handling of care of the deceased. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased/guidance-for-care-of-the-deceased-with-suspected-or-confirmed-coronavirus-covid-19
The NHS has published bereavement advice and suppport, which was updated on 23 April: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/bereavement-advice-and-support/