The Ministry of Church Affairs has updated the guidelines for responsible handling of COVID-19 initiatives in the Evangelical Lutherran Church in Denmark as well as other faith communities.
On Wednesday evening, the Ministry of Church Affairs updated the FAQ (frequently asked questions and answers) about the corona restrictions in the Danish National Church, so that there are now also guidelines for the use of face masks.
The assembly ban
The assebly ban which restricts gatherings of over 10 people does not apply to the Danish Church or other faith communities in premises and buildings which they have at their disposal. However for outdoor funerals and burials, an assembly ban of 50 people applies.
The assembly ban at outdoor funerals applies regardless of whether the participants stand up or sit down. The assembly ban, on the other hand, does not apply to other outdoor events, activities and the like provided that the participants sit down facing a stage or the like. However, there must not be more than 500 participants.
Rules for church-goers
When you visit or participate in an activity in a church, in a room with public access, you must comply with the requirements of the use of face masks.This means you must have your mouth and nose covered when using a face mask or visor when entering and exiting the room and when moving around the room.
The requirement does not apply when you sit down or kneel during the activity. Nor when, as part of a church act, you briefly get up and then sit down again in the same place.
Face masks are not a requirement for communion, but can be used as a hygienic supplement to the Danish Health Authority's recommendations when you walk up to the altar to receive communion.
Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the requirement for a face mask in the Danish National Church and other faith communities.
The requirement also does not apply to participants who have a central role in the specific ceremony as for example baptismal child / parents and godparents when the baptism takes place, confirmands, bridal couple (including persons assisting the bride and groom in connection with the ceremony) and at funerals and burials of the next of kin (including pall-bearers).
Rules for employees
Employees and volunteers must have their mouths and noses covered by wearing face masks or visors when entering and leaving the church premises, as well as when moving around the church buildings when the church performs public activities.
The requirement does not include hosts and participants of services, as well as speakers and other performers during congregation activities.
In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, the church council must bear the cost of these protective measures for pastors as well as for church employees and volunteers.
Not everyone can wear a face mask. First and foremost face masks should only be used by people who can take it on and off themselves, therefore children and persons with mental disabilities are excluded. Furthermore face masks must be able to sit close to the face, and this means that children or some people with abnormalities in the face and ears may be excluded because a standard face mask does not fit them. Finally, it is important that the wearer of the face mask does not experience excess discomfort when using it.
Therefore, the following exceptions to the recommendations apply to the use of face masks in public spaces, such as in public transport:
- Children up to the age of 12 do not have to wear a face mask
- People with difficulty breathing or people with physical or mental disabilities that prevent them from removing the mouthpiece themselves should not wear a face mask.
- Face masks should be removed if the wearer experiences severe discomfort such as. difficulty breathing, choking sensations, etc.
- Face masks can be removed if you need to eat or drink, take medication, talk to people who lip-read, etc.
- Face masks can be removed if the police need to make identification
Unfortunately the guidelines are currently only in Danish. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the new Covid-guidelines, at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
By Anne Katrine Ebbesen