THE new ‘rule of six’ has come into effect across England – the government’s latest efforts to control the spread of coronavirus.

But what are the rules on religious services in churches, synagogues and other houses of worship?


The Government’s ban on social gatherings does not apply to places of worship, as it was included in the list of exceptions.

Although exempt, venues have to be as Covid safe as possible, including that they must still strictly follow social distancing.

Households and bubbles

Those attending a religious service are only allowed to sit with their household - a maximum of six unless the bubble is over that number.

Groups have to be spaced out to ensure social distancing, and people can not mingle with other groups outside of their household.

READ MORE: New Covid rules: Can two families meet indoors?

So how many are allowed to attend a place of worship?

The short answer is there are limits on numbers, but this is dependant on each place of worship.

The government guidance states: "Limits for communal worship should be decided on the basis of the capacity of the place of worship following an assessment of risk."

So each place of worship will have had a risk assessment that determined the maximum number that can attend.

Cotswold Journal:

And obviously the capacity is higher for a bigger venue, so a cathedral can have more in than a small church.

It should be noted that capacity numbers don't just apply to a religious service, it would also apply to any other activity being held at a venue, for example a supervised children’s activity.

What about the rules for other types of services in religious venues?

Weddings and funeral services have their own rules, but the basics are that no more than 30 people can attend.

READ MORE: Coronavirus rules: Can my wedding go ahead?