The guidance for ringing in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland is considered separately here in line with different national rules and guidance from the respective Churches. With the latest level of lockdowns the guidance in each country is very similar.
Lockdown 3.0 has suspended the Tiers-based guidance and replaced it with a mandatory requirement to Stay at Home ‘unless you have a reasonable excuse.’ Our guidance is to adhere to that principle and not go out to ring. This is in line with our guidance during the first period of lockdown when the medical situation was not as bad as it is now.
One difference between the first lockdown and now is that attending a Place of Worship is specifically allowed by law as a ‘reasonable excuse’ provided it is to worship alone or as a household group (the Church of England’s guidance can be found here). The ringing of a single bell or Ellacombe chime (or bells in the case of a ringing household) as part of an act of worship is not prohibited, and if you think it is important enough for a bell or bells to be heard in your community, and you can do it without putting yourselves or others at risk, then that is your decision to make.
Scotland has gone a step further than England and has closed Places of Worship until at least the end of the month. This therefore means that bells should not be rung.
Wales is in Alert Level 4. This is very similar to the lockdown in England with Places of Worship allowed to remain open but a general Stay at Home requirement. Ringing guidance is as for England.
Both jurisdictions are on the severest lockdown level, thus precluding ringing.
The Central Council is not itself responsible for the implementation of these guidance notes, and the spirit underpinning all your decision making should be one of reasonableness and responsibility, taking into account the public health messaging from local and national leaders at all times, and in consultation with Chapters/PCCs, incumbents and churchwardens.
This guidance is being constantly updated to keep in line with any changes in the Church’s own guidance and policies, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This website will be updated weekly on a Friday, whether or not there is a change in guidance, unless a more urgent update is necessary. Any requests for clarification can be sent to email@example.com – it will get looked at as soon as possible.
- Reducing risk overall (PDF)
This considers how long we ring for, how close together we get when ringing, and how generally to reduce the risk of infection when ringing
- Considering the physical environment (PDF)
All our towers are different, This gives some key things to think about, with ventilation being very important.
- Individual risks (PDF)
Some people are more at risk than others. This sets out the factors to consider not just for the risk to yourself but the risk you pose to others.
- Process of return to ringing (PDF)
A typical process for returning to ringing or considering what you are currently doing.
- Ringing for children’s groups (PDF)
Guidance for providers who run activities for children in out-of-school settings.
These documents are intended to be succinct and easily readable. They do not contain all the detail that could be put in them but instead focus on the key issues.
Further detail about tower safety and risk assessments can be found on the Tower Operation tab here:
- The UK Government guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic can be found via this link
- The Church of England guidance on Opening Cathedral and Church Buildings can be found via this link
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions were updated on 2nd October, removing questions the answers to which are now common knowledge, and adding in more recent concerned such as what to do in areas of increased lockdown and whether or not ringing on simulators is possible.
A detailed analysis from Dr Philip Barnes and Dr Andrew Kelso is available to download.
This document seeks to provide information and advice for ringers and those responsible for bell towers regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and what issues ringers and church authorities should consider in responding to changes in Government guidance as we start to ease the current lockdown. It is focused on the situation in the Church of England, which is responsible for the vast majority of churches with bells hung for ringing. While the specific advice from leaders of other churches and in other countries may vary, the basic issues for ringers and ringing are the same wherever we ring.
The latest guidance from the Church of England is available on their website.
The latest guidance from the Church in Wales is available on their website
The latest guidance from the Scottish Episcopal Church is available on their website
The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy