Covid-19: Nativity plays and carolling can go ahead, MPs told

Covid-19: Nativity plays and carolling can go ahead, MPs told

Nativity plays and outdoor carolling will be able to go ahead in England after the national lockdown ends on 2 December, MPs have been told.

Tory MP Andrew Selous – who speaks for the Church of England – said “churches and cathedrals can now approach Advent and Christmas with certainty.”

Indoor singing would be limited to formal performers, he added, but everyone can take part outdoors.

Children’s church nativity plays will be allowed if they follow Covid rules.

Rules on outdoor gatherings will vary across England as the tier system comes in to force after the full lockdown., but all areas restrict groups to no more than six people.

However, churches and other places of worship will be able to perform services in all three tiers, including at Christmas.

During England’s national lockdown, places of worship have been closed for group activities and services, with only private prayer allowed.

Speaking at Church Commissioners question time in the Commons, Mr Selous said: “From 2 December places of worship can reopen for public worship and churches and cathedrals can now approach Advent and Christmas with certainty.”

He said the clergy had already made their buildings “Covid-secure” and said “many cathedrals and churches are planning to have multiple services to accommodate more people as less are allowed in each service”.

“The further good news is that while indoor singing is limited to performers only, we can all take part in outdoor and door-to-door singing, staying two metres apart or away from the threshold, and nativity plays for under-18s are permitted in accordance with the performing arts guidance,” he added.

On Tuesday, all four UK governments announced plans to allow families to meet for the festive period.

People will be able to form a “Christmas bubble” of three households, who can meet indoors between 23 and 28 December.

The news on carolling comes after a group of leading musicians wrote to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to encourage him to allow outdoor singing.

They said traditional house to house carolling groups usually raise £10m for charities each festive season.

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