CLOSURE OF CHURCHES AND BURIAL GROUNDS IN NORTHERN IRELAND

All places of worship and burial grounds in Northern Ireland were closed at 11 pm on Saturday 28th March under the order of government, Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (NI) 2020.  These new regulations were announced late on Saturday night and came into force almost immediately.

 

The government regulations state that all Church buildings and burial grounds in Northern Ireland are to be closed immediately.  The relevant sections of the law read as follows:

 

Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (NI) 2020. Section 4, subsections 5,6  and 8:

 

(5) A person who is responsible for a place of worship must ensure that, during the emergency period, the place of worship is closed, except for uses permitted in paragraph (6).

(6) A place of worship may be used— (a) for funerals, (b) to broadcast an act of worship, whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast, or (c) to provide essential voluntary services or urgent public support services (including the provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation sessions or support in an emergency).

(8) A person who is responsible for a crematorium or burial ground must ensure that, during the emergency period, the crematorium or burial ground is closed to members of the public, except for funerals or burials.