August Update: Please note that the wearing of face coverings is now mandatory in all places of worship, so please bring a mask or other face covering with you unless you have a valid medical reason for not wearing one.
In a surprise announcement, last Saturday at 10.00pm the Government issued permission for places of worship to open for individual and private prayer from Monday 15 June. During this week, the small number of Minster staff not on furlough have worked long hours to put in place all the necessary signage, hygiene and social distancing measures. Chapter has approved the risk assessments.
The Minster will be ready to reopen on Tuesday 16 June.
While we welcome this small step in lifting restrictions, it is important to stress that there will continue to be limitations in what is open and available. A full list of restrictions is below.
Watch the Dean’s demonstration of our new hygiene and social distancing measures:
From Tuesday 16 June:
- Please bring a face mask or other face covering with you, and wear it throughout the service, unless you have a valid medical reason for not wearing one.
- The Minster will open every day from 11.00am to 3.00pm.
Entrance is through the north porch only, via a one-way system using the side doors. The double door is for disabled access only.
- Because of the need to keep the building well-ventilated, we will be keeping the large west door open wherever possible. For this reason, it might be useful to bring an extra layer on all but the warmest days.
- Hand sanitiser is available inside the door. Please use on entrance and exit.
- A small number of chairs have been arranged in the Nave which allow for spacious social distancing. If you arrive with your household group or ‘social bubble’ there are some chairs arranged in twos and threes.
- Children must always be supervised.
- While the Minster is usually dog-friendly, only assistance dogs will be permitted.
- A votive candle stand is at the west end of the Nave. We are not able to provide either prayer cards or receive written prayer requests. If you have a particular prayer intention, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- There will be temporary signage and floor markers to guide you in a one-way system.
- A maximum of 20 people will be permitted in the Nave at any one time.
- A Verger or another member of staff will always be on duty in the Nave, and a member of clergy or chaplain whenever possible.
- We will not be asking stewards to be on duty in this first phase of reopening.
- The shop in Church Street will open Tuesday to Saturday, 11.00am-3.00pm, but there will be no retail available in the Minster.
- We respectfully ask that no one stay longer than 15 minutes, to allow others to enter.
- The west door will be open (but not used for entrance or exit) to allow maximum ventilation. On a cool day, please come dressed knowing the Minster is not heated in the summer months.
- There will be no access to any other part of the Minster or Archbishop’s Palace (including the toilets).
- The Education Garden and churchyard is fully open.
- We are not permitted to lead worship or to encourage gathering.
- We continue to welcome donations and encourage contactless payment.
- Remember there are contractors on site working on the ‘Leaves’ project and we cannot guarantee it will always be quiet in the Minster, but it will always be peaceful and prayerful.
After 12 long weeks of closure we welcome this opportunity to reopen, although partially. For so many people the period of ‘lockdown’ has been painful, lonely and bewildering. Many find solace and comfort by sitting in a church building and the Minster over 900 years has given a warm embrace to all who come, regardless of their faith or background.
We expect there to be further lifting of restrictions from Saturday 4 July but please keep checking the website for updates.
We will do all we can to make each person feel welcomed and supported as they come to spend time in prayer or reflection. We do so in the name of the One who says:
‘Come to me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest.'