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Churches can open again from today

After nine weeks of closure, the Danish church and other faith communities are now allowed to gradually reopen. Here are the guidelines to follow during this process. 

In St. Jakob's Church in Copenhagen, blue seashells are glued to the church benches at a distance of two meters, so it is easy to see where to sit. Photo: Lenemarie Løwe Olsen

From May 18th, the Danish Church and other registered faith communities are allowed to open churches again including parishes, parish halls and other premises to the public. 

The Danish Church has published a set of guidelines to follow in this new phase. Here are 7 of them to remember as the churches prepare to reopen: 

Download the English translation of the official guidelines here - updated 10th June 2020

 

How many people at a time? 


Outdoors: The assembly ban of up to 10 people applies to outdoor activities, except for funerals and burials. 

Indoors: The assembly ban no longer applies to church premises. However there must not be more than one person per 4 square meters. 

Avoid handshakes 

Limit physical contact and avoid handshakes, pecks on the cheek and hugs when greeting others at church. 

Keep distancing

Keep at least 1 meter of distance between people in the church and parish. However, keep at least 2 meters distance if there is singing, because there may be an increased risk of contamination when exhaling heavily. If you are accompanied by someone you live with, you can sit closer to each other.

Wash hands 

Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer. Do this when you arrive at the church or parish, between the various activities and when you return home. If you have young children with you, then help them with hand washing. 

Coughing etiquette

Cough or sneeze in your sleeve. If you cough in a paper towel or your hands, wash your hands afterwards. 

Listen to church employees

Follow church staff directions and keep an eye out for posters that tell you how many people are allowed nside the room at the same time. Right now churches are figuring out how to perform hymns and sacraments, among other things, in a sound and safe way. Depending on floor space, staffing and the like, there may be differences in how to use the church spaces safely. If you have any doubts about the guidelines for church services and other activities, ask the staff. 

Stay updated

The general recommendations for distance, hygiene and so on are continually adapted to the fit the changing situation, so keep an eye on what the Danish Health Authorities are reporting.

Please note that reopening and guidelines are only applicable to registered faith communities and that non-registered communities, churches and congregations are still subject to the assembly ban and general corona guidelines.

The Interchurch Council and Danish Migrant Network will continue to translate and share relevant COVID-19 guidelines regarding churches and faith communities. 

 

By Anne Katrine Ebbesen