Whilst the government in Wales does not require those in places of worship to wear face coverings, it is the policy of the United Reformed Church that everyone attending worship in our churches should do so, unless they are medically exempt or under the age of 11, regardless of the jurisdiction in which the church is set.
However, for those involved in leading worship, it is possible to remove the face covering under the guidance issued in both Scotland and England
The Synod Moderators with the agreement of the General Secretary are therefore amending policy for the URC as follows.
A person leading worship may remove their face covering to aid communication provided always that they are at least 2m from other people. Before and after worship, when maintaining less than 2m distancing is not possible and whilst moving through the building, Ministers and other worship leaders must continue to wear a face covering.
When their face is uncovered, worship leaders might consider using a visor or standing behind a Perspex screen to reduce or eliminate any aerosolised virus particles being spread.
Churches must remember that none of this removes the importance of good hand and face hygiene. Wearing a mask that does not cover the mouth and nose is ineffective, and masks must never be moved, even temporarily, around the throat or onto the forehead.
Churches are further reminded that maintaining social distancing at 2m is still vital, and maintaining that minimum distance is even more important when people attend who are exempt from wearing a face covering.
Finally, it is possible that locally, regionally and nationally imposed restrictions may alter overall guidance at any time. If official guidance is altered to tighten policy, that will always supersede any denominational policy.
The URC Synod Moderators, September 3, 2020
For free, downloadable posters and other resources for your church, visit www.urc.org.uk/coronavirus-resources