Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: guidance for the safe use of places of worship

Guidance to help places of worship safely re-open for permitted purposes.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: guidance for the safe use of places of worship
Other permitted uses

Other permitted uses

Where a place of worship is used by external groups, only those activities which are permitted to take place should be available. See a list of businesses which cannot yet operate, and activity that is still restricted includes:

See the Scottish Government guidance on a range of activities that are permitted.

Place of worship as workplaces

Many places of worship are also workplaces and should therefore be aware of their responsibilities as employers under health and safety law. Places of worship also have a duty of care to volunteers, to ensure that as far as reasonably practicable they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. See guidance on returning to work.

Education, early years and childcare use

Places of worship that provide educational settings (including study groups and faith supplementary schools), early years and childcare services should follow the relevant guidance that sets out which individuals can attend and the measures and approaches that should be put in place to keep people safe. See:

Lifestyle and recreational groups and meetings

Small meetings and gatherings are now permitted in line with the rules on indoor gatherings. Groups which involve the playing of instruments that require breath to operate and singing, chanting or shouting should be avoided.


Hospitality spaces within places of worship, such as cafes, are permitted to open. Guidance for the hospitality sector should be followed. Informal hospitality, such as lunch clubs and coffee mornings are permitted in line with restrictions on indoor gatherings.

Read the guidance on the opening of public toilets, including hygiene measures that should be taken.

Tourism and retail

Buildings can now be opened for most tourism and retail purposes and places of worship should follow relevant guidance on managing this. People visiting places of worship for these purposes should also follow relevant guidance.

Outdoor space

We know from evidence that there is less risk of transmission of COVID-19 outdoors than indoors. Any use of outdoor space must be in line with rules on outdoor gatherings and physical distancing.

First published: 8 Aug 2020 Last updated: 8 Aug 2020 -