Scot Govt U-turn as churches in Scotland to reopen on 15 July

The Scottish Government has announced that churches can reopen on 15 July.

Places of worship will be able to resume services. The law will be changed to end the ban and there will be guidance covering such issues as limitations on numbers and social distancing.

The U-turn follows criticism at the recent announcement that pubs could open on 15 July, but churches would have to wait until 23 July at the earliest.


At present, churches in Scotland are currently only permitted to open for very limited circumstances, such as funerals.

The Scottish Government has said in a statement that specific guidance is being finalised with faith communities. Restrictions on attendance at ceremonies such as funerals and weddings will also be eased.

Most non-essential high street shops and visitor attractions in Scotland can already open.

ChurchScot Govt must stop dragging its feet over church reopenings


Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government have reversed their position. The reopening of Churches will no longer be delayed after the opening of restaurants and pubs. Many Christians wrote to their MSP about this issue. I am delighted that these emails and letters have succeeded.

“There is clear evidence that Scottish Christians can be trusted to act responsibly. To our knowledge, all churches in Scotland have fully complied with all Government requests from the very beginning of lockdown. Christians are instructed to submit to rulers and authorities.

“In the midst of a clear public health crisis, they would not want to do anything to harm their neighbours.”


Last week, an MSP criticised the Scottish Government for putting the reopening of pubs ahead of places of worship.

Murdo Fraser called it “extraordinary” that bars and restaurants were to be allowed to open their doors from 15 July but churches were being told to wait for communal services until at least 23 July.

He said: “This seems a very strange set of priorities by the Scottish Government and gives the impression they are prioritising pints over prayers.”

Also see:

Anglican Church in Wales

Scot Govt must stop dragging its feet over church reopenings

Christian newlyweds: ‘Marriage is a picture of Jesus and Christians’

Church services and weddings can restart in England from 4 July

Marriage ban lifted in Wales

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