Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the safe use of places of worship

Published: 19 Jun 2020

Guidance to help places of worship safely open for limited permitted activities, including individual prayer or contemplation.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for the safe use of places of worship
Cleaning and hygiene

Cleaning and hygiene


If a place of worship has been closed for many weeks, or parts of the building have been out of use for a long period, a health and safety check and cleaning should be carried out before reopening in line with wider health and safety considerations.

Cleaning protocols should be put in place to help reduce COVID-19 transmission in places of worship.

Objects and surfaces touched frequently, such as chairs, door handles, light switches, sinks and toilets, should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.

All cleaning should be carried out in line with COVID-19: guidance for non-healthcare settings (Health Protection Scotland).

In deciding what cleaning arrangements to put in place, places of worship should consider:

  • how frequently cleaning should take place based on assessment of risk and use of the building
  • restricting access to certain parts of the building to reduce cleaning requirements
  • removing any soft furnishings or items that are hard to clean
  • providing disinfectant wipes to enable worshippers to wipe down the chair/surfaces they have used before leaving the building


Places of worship should encourage all staff, volunteers and worshippers to maintain good hand and cough hygiene, including frequent hand washing/use of hand sanitiser. Regular reminders and signs should be used to help raise awareness of this. 

Adequate hand hygiene facilities should be available at key areas such as entrances and exits. 

Where possible, open doors and windows to improve ventilation. Fire doors should remain closed.

Further information on actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 is available on NHS Inform.