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October 2020–January 2021

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 April 2021

Frank Cranmer*
Fellow, St Chad's College, Durham Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff University


The period under review continued to be dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Westminster Government and the devolved administrations issued a joint statement on 16 December 2020 outlining a series of relaxations on social contacts between 23 and 27 December but even so it seemed that there were mixed feelings about any relaxation. The Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, continued to stress that the Scottish Government's recommendation was to celebrate Christmas at home and to keep interactions with other households to a minimum. The Welsh Government decided that social interactions should be limited to two households only, to be followed by a further lockdown from 28 December.

Government and Parliamentary Report
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Ecclesiastical Law Society

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1 I should like to thank my co-blogger David Pocklington for reading this section and contributing to it: he is vastly more expert on the nuts and bolts of the COVID-19 Regulations and guidance than I am.

2 See Welsh Government, 23 December 2020, ‘Guidance on reopening places of worship: coronavirus’, available at <>, accessed 11 January 2021.

3 The Executive Office, 21 December 2020, ‘Executive statement on Christmas arrangements’, available at <>, accessed 12 January 2021.

4 See Church of Ireland, 7 January 2021, ‘Statement from the Church of Ireland bishops in Northern Ireland in relation to public worship’, available at <>, accessed 11 January 2021.

5 See Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 11 January 2021, ‘COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship’, available at <>, accessed 11 January 2021.

6 Scottish Government, 4 January 2021, ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: First Minister's statement’, available at <>, accessed 11 January 2021.

7 Scottish Government, 19 January 2021, ‘Review of restrictions: no change to current measures’, available at <>, accessed 26 January 2021.

9 On 11 January 2021, the Guidance was updated twice: to reflect the revised national lockdown Regulations which came into force on 6 January and in relation to ‘singing, chanting and the use of musical instruments’.

12 Letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Justice to the Convener of the Justice Committee, available at <>, accessed 13 January 2021.