UPDATED 23rd JULY 2021
The Government has lifted most previous Covid-19 restrictions, with effect from 19th July. We have now received further guidance from the Bishops’ Conference (supported by Portsmouth Diocese). We have taken this into account in reviewing our own practice. The Bishops emphasise the paramount importance of safety – as we have always done.
In view of rising numbers locally, we are proceeding with caution as follows:
- During Masses, and inside the church, we request you wear a face covering (unless exempted on medical grounds)
- For Sunday Masses, please book ahead by ringing the parish office (01202 483340), preferably by the previous Thursday. With recent bookings at capacity, a booking system & prearranged seating plan enables available seating to be maximised safely and efficiently.
- Singing by the congregation is now permitted – face masks should continue to be worn whilst singing. (Reiterated by the Bishops) – this is to avoid inadvertent spread of droplet infection. Music and singing will be led from the chapel. We ask you to sing gently! In line with the Bishops’ guidance, we intend to introduce this in small steps, whilst regularly reviewing our practice. [We also welcome your feedback.]
- At the Offertory two people may bring up the gifts of bread and wine. [They should sanitise their hands.]
- A two-chair gap between households is to be maintained.
- Within the church, please respect and maintain social distance between households. It’s natural to want to chat with friends, but if you do so inside the church, you may be making others nearby feel uncomfortable – please save your chat for outdoors!
- Please use the sanitiser provided on entering the church. Please follow the guidance of stewards at Communion and on leaving the church. [They are all volunteers who give freely of their time.]
- When possible, we will offer tea & coffee after Sunday Mass. For the time being, this will be outdoors.
We will make further changes as and when we feel it is safe to do so – depending on rates of infection and hospitalisation locally