On 21st September 2020, the Northern Ireland Executive met to discuss the ongoing concerns over the increase in Covid-19 cases across the province. As a result they issued the following restrictions which come into force from 6pm on Tuesday 22nd September.
- No mixing of households in private dwellings, with exemptions for: bubbling with one other household; caring responsibilities including childcare; essential maintenance; supported living arrangements; visits required for legal or medical purposes; or marriage or civil partnerships where one partner is terminally ill.
- No more than six people to gather in a private garden from no more than two households. Children aged 12 and under from those two households are discounted from this total.
This unfortunately affects the role of our clergy, staff, and pastoral visiting team. This is regretable, however the health and wellbeing of our parishioners and the community is of utmost importance. Therefore from 22nd September, pastoral visits to people’s homes will now be restricted until further notice. The pastoral visiting team will still be able to phone parishioners or carry out visits to people’s doorsteps, but they will not come into homes.
Emergency pastoral visits by clergy will be provided to those who are receiving palliative care, dying, or those bereaved.
Hospital & Care-home visits
Pastoral visits to hospitals continue to be restricted to only immediate family. Ministers are currently not permitted to visit, and therefore Hospital Chaplains provide the pastoral care required for in-patients. Should you or a member of your family be going into hospital, please let us know so we can arrange for the chaplain to see you.
Care homes are still restricted in their visits, and therefore at this time we will be following updated guidance from each home as it changes.
Revd Jonny Campbell-Smyth