We are sorry to have to write to you with more information, but we have received a number of enquiries about the Covid App and whether it is necessary to have a unique QR code poster in each church.
The latest guidance can be found here https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/COVID%2019%20NHS%20Test%20and%20Trace%20v4_0.pdf
With the full roll-out today of the NHS Test & Trace App, a set of Regulations was laid before Parliament last Friday, which made the provision of a poster with a unique QR code mandatory in certain settings by the 24th Sept, and subject to up to a £4000 fine if you didn’t have it in place.
There has been some confusion about whether this is required in places of worship, and there are competing government web pages which have said either that they are exempt or that they’re not. We are also aware that a message to the effect that they are mandatory has been sent out by several County Councils which quotes an NHS website.
The C of E guidance cited above confirms (following discussions with the relevant govt. departments) that places of worship do not have to have the QR codes displayed under the requirements of the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Collection of Contact Details etc and Related Requirements) Regulations 2020 however, we are strongly encouraged so to do.
For church buildings which have cafés in them; where they are opened as tourist destinations; where they are being used for non-worship activities; and for church halls, there is the requirement to have these QR posters displayed.
Even though these are not required for places of worship being used solely for worship, we are strongly advising and encouraging you to put them up, and they are easy to get generated through the NHS website https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster
One final word; we will have to write to you again soon because there will no doubt be some further information about “life events” in the light of the new lockdown measures. Currently the number for funerals remains at 30 (providing your building is risk assessed to hold 30); the number for weddings is reduced to 15 from Monday 28th September; the position around baptisms is currently slightly more grey and the C of E website currently says From the 28th September, standalone life events will be subject to the ‘rule of six’ limits. We are seeking Government clarification on this and will update our guidance once detailed documentation is published.
As soon as this guidance is issued we will be in touch
We know how difficult these times are for you and for your congregations, but please be assured of our daily prayers for you; and do contact us if we can help in any way at all.
Archdeacons Bob, Libby and Rick.