Places of worship in England will be allowed to reopen on the 4 July, after the latest easing of lockdown restrictions was announced earlier today.
Churches were previously permitted to open for private prayer, but regular church services will now be allowed, as long as appropriate social distancing measures are applied. Weddings can also take place again, although numbers will be restricted to a maximum of 30.
The announcement comes as churches in Northern Ireland are due to reopen on the 29 June and church buildings in Wales and Scotland are also able to open for private prayer.
The Prime Minister announced the easing of restrictions in a statement to the House of Commons earlier this afternoon.
He said: “I am delighted that places of worship will be able to reopen for prayer and services – including weddings with a maximum of 30 people, all subject to social distancing.”
The changes follow calls to allow churches across the UK to resume activity as soon as possible.
Yesterday, churches in Wales and Scotland were allowed to open for private prayer with social distancing measures in place, but there is no date for the resumption of public worship.
The changes in Northern Ireland were welcomed by Reverend Trevor Gribben, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
He said: “We are delighted to have reached this point and welcome today’s indicative announcement that gathering for church services can now resume, albeit with certain restrictions in place”.
Earlier this month, campaign group Coalition for Marriage (C4M) called on the Government to end the ban on weddings.
Writing ahead of the changes allowing small weddings in Northern Ireland, the pro-marriage group said that, while sensible guidance for public health needs to be observed, “ways need to be found for people to get married once again”.