Religion or Belief
Individuals will not be able to attend a place of worship during the period of self-isolation, and for some individuals this may be an integral part of their faith. This applies to all individuals and all faiths equally, although the exact impact will depend on the exact period of self-isolation, relative to a particular religious event or service.
Many faith groups have established online worship services which would be available to persons who are self-isolating after entering the country. The Scottish Government provided funding that has allowed faith groups to purchase equipment and software that would facilitate these online worship services. This has widened access to prayer, worship, and funeral services, with persons able to attend from home.
The requirement to self-isolate may discourage international travel. This may therefore impact on those going abroad for annual pilgrimages, which may particularly affect Muslim communities. However, at this time the Umrah has been suspended, and Saudi Arabia has announced international visitors will be unable to undertake the Hajj this year. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia have banned international travel into the country.
The Scottish Government will continue to consider any impacts of the Regulations on the protected characteristic of religion or belief, and identify any mitigating actions, as appropriate.
Regulation 9(6)(d) will allow an individual self-isolating to leave their household on compassionate grounds, to attend the funeral of a member of their household and a close family member, or where no household members or family members are attending, the funeral of a friend.
Summary: Existing mitigating actions in place, such as the additional funding provided to help facilitate online worship, may help eliminate discrimination and to advance equality of opportunity, to help allow people to continue to practice their faith. This mitigating action, along with the provisions in the measures allowing individuals self-isolating to attend a funeral in some circumstances, may also help to foster good relations between people.