Places of worship in England are to reopen on June 15
Churches and other places of worship in England are expected to reopen for private prayer from 15 June, the government has announced.
Individuals will be able to “reflect and pray” whilst maintaining social distancing, but worship groups, weddings and other services will still not be permitted.
The government mentioned that changes would only be made if their five tests for easing lockdown are met.
Places of worship come under step three of the government’s plan to lift restrictions, and are not due to fully reopen until the 4 July.
Ministers have been told that worshippers felt “disappointment and hurt” at not being able to visit places of worship despite some shops being reopened.
The Church of England closed all its buildings on 24 March, meaning funerals could only take place at crematoriums or the graveside. As a result of the lockdown Clergy had to live-stream worship from their own homes.
The communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, said: "Ensuring places of worship can open again, beginning with private prayer by individuals has been my priority. Their contribution to the common good of our country is clear, as places of solace, comfort, stability and dignity.
"I’m pleased the prime minister has announced that this is expected to happen from 15 June. As communities secretary, I have worked with faith leaders and representatives to prepare guidance that ensures this can be done safely.