Collective worship in Scotland can resume from 15 July, says First Minister

(Photo: Unsplash/Aaron Burden)

Collective worship can resume in Scottish churches from 15 July, with restrictions, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

It brings the date forward from 23 July, which was criticised as being too late by The Christian Institute and Tory MSP Murdo Fraser among others.

The confirmation came as Sturgeon outlined phase 3 of Scotland's transition from lockdown, which will also see hotels and hairdressers re-open from 15 July. 

Places of worship in Scotland have already been open for private prayer since last month. 

There will be a number of restrictions in place, though, when churches hold collective worship again. 

Congregations will still not be allowed to sing, and churches will have to collect the contact details of those attending. 

A distance of 2m will also have to be maintained between households. 

Sturgeon said it was "essential" that guidance on health and safety is followed "rigorously", as she warned that there was still "real danger". 

"Next week represents the most substantial easing of lockdown so far," she said. 

"And everything we learn about this, still new virus – about its infectiousness, its ability to kill, and its potential to do long-term damage to health – should warn us that we mess with it at our peril.

"And so perhaps more than ever, now is a time for great caution."