From 26th March we will be able to celebrate Mass with a congregation present in the church. It’s a welcome development, but for the time being there will be some restrictions in place in order to minimise the risk of infection by Covid-19. Those restrictions will affect us in the following ways:
- Limited capacity. Due to the required social distancing rules, there are only 15 pews available per Mass. Each pew can be used by up to 5 persons from one household. A maximum attendance of 50 people per service is being imposed for now.
- One way traffic. Those arriving in the church must enter through the main door, remain in their seats for the duration of the service and then leave through the exit door in the front part of the church.
- Hygiene. Wearing face masks or covering is mandatory for everyone staying in the church; children below the age of 5 and people with specific medical conditions are exempt in line with the Scottish Government guidelines. On the arrival, you should use hand sanitising gel (available in the foyer). The use of toilets in the church should be avoided except in emergencies.
- Health and safety. Should you have symptoms of Covid-19 (new persistent cough, fever, loss of smell and taste), or have been issued a shielding letter or being asked to self-isolate please do not attend Mass.
- Liturgy. According to the most recent guidelines produced by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, there are temporary restrictions and changes to the way Mass is celebrated.
- No hymn books, Mass books or any other hand-outs should be distributed. However, you can bring and use your own Missal or prayer book given you take it back home after Mass.
- No singing.
- Holy Communion is distributed in one kind (the Body of Christ) given on hand only.
Due to the restrictions and limitations listed above Mass attendance requires pre-booking. There are three reasons for that:
- Avoidance of overcrowding. We want to avoid barring people from entering the church on the spot – it’s against our community’s welcoming spirit and can put our volunteers in awkward positions.
- Track & trace. In case of someone being diagnosed with Covid-19, we can help to trace anyone who might have been in close contact with the person in question. This is why we ask for your contact details in the reservation form. Those details will be kept confidential, safe and secure, for 21 days as required by the current regulations before being destroyed.
- Parish boundaries. We’d like to offer our parishioners and regular churchgoers an opportunity to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion in the church. We ask for the address of residence to give priority to those who live within the parish boundaries. The only exemption is made for those who live outside of the parish boundaries, but have been regular Mass attendees in our church.