We might look a bit different, you might have to do things differently….
English Cathedrals begin the journey back to re-opening safely with the launch of a new film to reassure the public.
Twenty-four cathedrals across England opened their doors for individual private prayer and reflection today (Monday) – the first time since lockdown in March.
Since the Government announced that places of worship could open for private individual prayer and reflection, preparations have been ongoing and measures put in place at every cathedral to ensure people’s safety in line with the latest Public Health and Government guidelines on health and social distancing.
Blackburn, Canterbury, Chester, Chichester, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Lincoln, Liverpool, Lichfield, Manchester, Norwich, Christ Church Oxford, Ripon, Salisbury, St Albans, Southwell, Sheffield, St Edmundsbury, St Paul’s, Truro, Wells, Westminster Abbey and York Minster opened on the 15th, while others will do so at their own pace, gradually and carefully.
Each cathedral has its own strategy for re-opening safely – but most include limiting the number of people inside at any one time, the removal of all leaflets, much reduced or no seating, hand sanitisers at appropriate points, new signage to remind people of the health and safety messages around social distancing, and for some cathedrals, a one-way system to keep people safe.
Most cathedrals will operate much reduced hours. Most cafes and shops will remain closed as will the public toilets at this time.
Communal acts of worship and singing in choir are still not permitted and cathedrals will continue to monitor and adhere to latest guidelines as these emerge in the coming weeks.
The Very Revd Christine Wilson, Dean of Lincoln which opened its doors today said that she was very pleased that the Cathedral could once again welcome people.
She added: “The 12 weeks since the beginning of lockdown has been a strange time that has seen Lincoln Cathedral stand silent and empty for the first time in its history.
“We are delighted to be able to open wide our doors and welcome everyone back into this special place of worship, prayer and spiritual nurture. A place that is loved and cherished by so many as a symbol of homecoming, sanctuary and peace.”
Further planned opening dates:
June 16 – Portsmouth, Bristol, Winchester
June 17 – Bradford and Derby
June 21 – Peterborough
June 22 – Durham, Worcester and Coventry New Cathedral
June 30 – Rochester
July 1 – Leicester, Wakefield
July 4 – Ely, Chelmsford, Birmingham, Guildford and Southwark.
Find you local cathedral’s website here.