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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

Chester Cathedral re-opens

We were delighted to re-open Chester Cathedral at 12 Noon on Monday 6 July. We’ve been closed since 30 March, but now everything is in order, ready for us to welcome visitors and worshippers back into the Cathedral to discover and encounter faith. We are open in-line with current UK Government guidance on indoor attractions – and are pleased to have been awarded the Visit England ‘Good To Go’ industry standard, confirming that we have all the necessary processes in place to reopen safely. You may view our ‘Good To Go’ Certificate here.

Most areas of the Cathedral are now open, although certain chapels, parts of the cloisters and other areas remain closed. We hope to open these as a further phase of our re-opening. The Gift Shop re-opens on Monday 6 July. The Refectory Café will re-open during the week commencing 6 July.

The Cathedral is currently open:
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 4pm (with the exception of Monday 6 July: 12 Noon – 4pm)
Sunday: 12 Noon – 4pm

We’re determined to make your visit safe and enjoyable. All of our staff are wearing face masks and are sanitising, and washing their hands regularly. They are here to support you in prayer, and are here to ensure the following measures are observed. If you have any concerns, please approach any of our team during your visit.
 

Cathedral Re-opens for Supervised Prayer and Reflection

Preparations are underway and measures are being put in place at Chester Cathedral so it can re-open its doors and welcome people back into the building safely for private prayer and reflection on Monday 15 June 2020.

Measures to keep people safe will include limiting the number of people allowed inside at any one time, hand sanitisers at appropriate points, and signage to remind people of the health and safety around social distancing.  For the time-being, the Cathedral will open limited hours of 10am – 4pm daily.

The Refectory Café, gift shop and toilets will not be open at this time and will re-open as part of a later phase.  The Cathedral Gardens re-opened a number of weeks ago, to allow people space within the city to pray, relax and reflect.

The Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford said “We welcome the announcement that places of worship can open from Monday 15 June. Here at Chester we have been working towards a phased reopening and our primary concern is the safety of everyone – the public, our worshippers, our visitors, staff and volunteers.”

“There is much to be done, and while we long to open our doors again, and welcome back those who wish to light a candle, say a prayer or reflect on these unprecedented times, we must ensure the safety and well-being of all.”

Chester Cathedral relies upon the generosity of its congregation and visitors to open its doors and maintain the magnificent building at the heart of the city. Having closed in March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic brings financial insecurity upon the Cathedral, and now, more than ever, it needs your support to recover over the coming months and years.  People can donate to the Cathedral by clicking to chestercathedral.com/donate-now

Meanwhile, Chester Cathedral will continue to offer digital services to all, and these can be found at chestercathedral.com/stream

 

Cathedral Closure, 24 March 2020

Chester Cathedral and churches in hundreds of parishes across our region are now closed to all forms of worship, including private prayer and reflection, weddings, and baptisms. Funerals can continue under strict guidelines set out by the Church of England.

Stay Home, Save Lives

The decision is part of a series of stringent measures anounced by the Prime Minister to stem the spread of Coronavirus and save lives.

In Chester, the Cathedral and Abbey have kept a rhythm of prayer and openness to God alive for centuries.Even though the Cathedral will be closed to the public the clergy will still maintain a pattern of daily prayer, praying for the needs of the nation and our world at this time.

Prayer has been offered at Chester Cathedral, and in hundreds of parish churches across the county for many centuries, and it will continue. In the coming days Chester Cathedral and the Diocese of Chester will seek ways in which they can reach out to people through prayer, social media and through serving communities in the City of Chester and across the diocese at large.

Regular updates will be published on the Cathedral website and Diocese of Chester website, here.

Commenting on the decision, The Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of Chester said: “At this challenging time for the whole human race we know how important it is to pray to our loving Father who created and gave us life. All we know about God tells us that we should love and care for one another. In these unprecedented days that means limiting our contact with others for a season to cut transmission of a deadly virus. It is with regret that we must close Chester Cathedral to individuals who would otherwise want to come here for prayer and reflection. We hope you will join your prayers with ours from home.

In the mean time we will ensure that you can join with the prayers of the community that lives here on the internet at chestercathedral.com/stream.

Church buildings across the Diocese of Chester will open again as soon as they are advised that this would be of public benefit.

 

Changed but not stopped, 17 March 2020

To all stakeholders

Chester Cathedral has regrettably taken the decision to cancel all public events and acts of worship with immediate effect. The clergy and adult choir will continue to provide worship through online streaming at 5:30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays and at 10am on Sundays here.

The church building will remain open for personal prayer, reflection and meditation from 10:30-4pm daily until further notice. Entry during this time will be via the doors on St Werburgh Street. This will be kept under constant review.

By removing the majority of church furniture and dedicating our cleaning team to the remaining areas, we hope to provide a safe space for as long as possible.

The cathedral Refectory, Shop and Falconry will remain closed until the end of April.

The cathedral office will remain open with limited staff between 10:30-4pm although we are encouraging most of our staff to work from home in line with government advice.

We respectfully ask that all visitors adhere to the following guidelines:

· If one person in any household starts to display symptoms of coronavirus, everyone living in that household must stay at home for 14 days.

· Symptoms are a high temperature AND/OR a new continuous cough.

We do appreciate the level of concern the current situation is causing and we are doing all we can to follow the latest government advice to minimise risk.

Briefing Number 4, 13 March 2020

To all staff, volunteers and worshippers

This notice updates arrangements for worshippers at Chester Cathedral following further advice.

Worshippers

Chester Cathedral will remain open as a place of prayer and worship for as much time as is possible.  The coming weeks will be a period when this is as necessary as ever for many people.

During worship over the coming weeks and until further notice, in line with practice across the Church of England and following Government and NHS advice, please note the following temporary changes to our normal practice:

  • We will offer Communion in one kind only to all communicants i.e. the consecrated bread/wafer/host, with the priest alone taking the wine. The Communion rails will not be in use, please receive without kneeling.
  • We have suspended handshaking or other direct physical contact during the sharing of the Peace and when greeting at the entrance/exit doors.
  • Once the Cathedral has obtained sufficient supplies of hand sanitizer this will be offered to all worshippers as they enter the Nave doors.  For the time being worshippers are urged to carry hand sanitizer with them.
  • We have suspended direct physical contact for blessings and ‘laying on of hands’.
  • Seating will be reordered into smaller groups with greater distancing between groups.
  • Collection plates and bags will not be handed around during services but will be placed at the doors.  Electronic contactless giving will be encouraged.
  • The Sunday School will stop operating if schools are closed but provision will be made for children’s activities in the South Transept.  The creche facilities, mats and tables will also be moved to the South Transept.
  • Coffee and tea will be available after the 10:00am Sunday service but must be bought from the Refectory counter.  It will not be served for the time being from the volunteer managed tables.

If you have a new persistent cough or fever please remember that you need to isolate yourself for seven days and call NHS 111 if you need medical help.  Please do not attend the Cathedral under these circumstances but if you think there are ways we can help please call 01244 324756.  We are working on a system to provide buddies and assisting with shopping for people in need.  We will communicate details once this is established.

Remember:

  • Catch it – sneeze into a tissue
  • Bin it – bin the tissue
  • Kill it – wash your hands with soap and water
  • Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands

 

Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford
Dean of Chester

Briefing Number 3, 11 March 2020

To all staff, volunteers and stakeholders

Chester Cathedral is committed to remaining a safe place for everybody who comes through the doors: employee, volunteer, visitor and worshipper. The spreading coronavirus currently presents a number of challenges.  We intend to respond to these challenges as well as we can in order to retain the Cathedral as a place of prayer and reflection during these troubled times without causing risk to anybody’s health and wellbeing.

If you have any reason to suspect that you may have contracted the virus your first responsibility is to look after yourself and ensure that you do not spread the illness any further.  You should contact the NHS Coronavirus Helpline 111 directly.  Further advice can be found on the UK Government web site at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public.

We have introduced enhanced procedures for maintaining cleanliness during this period including sanitizing of surfaces and contact points and regularly checking our facilities.  If you see anything that you think needs attention please alert a member of the verger team or the Cathedral Office.

Remember:

  • Catch it – sneeze into a tissue
  • Bin it – bin the tissue
  • Kill it – wash your hands with soap and water
  • Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands

Employees, volunteers, visitors and worshippers who may not have already contracted the virus but who are concerned about the risk of doing so should read the following advice.

Employees

COVID-19 is thought to be transmitted through contamination of hands and fingers which in turn touch mouth, eyes and face.  Our main line of defence is through good hand hygiene.  Staff are encouraged to wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitizers, especially before and after handling objects passed between other people (e.g. keys, money, etc.).  You should talk to your line-manager if there are unreasonable obstacles to doing this so that better arrangements can be made.

If you have a medical condition or other circumstances that make you feel particularly vulnerable at this time please talk to your line-manager to ask whether there is anything that can be done, for instance in some circumstances employees will be able to do their work from home.

We are not currently planning to suspend any Cathedral activities but we will keep this under review in line with advice from UK Government, NHS and the Church of England.

Volunteers

Chester Cathedral depends heavily on its large band of committed volunteers.  We understand that a number of volunteers may feel too vulnerable at present to continue to attend whilst the Coronavirus is circulating in the UK.  We will do our best to manage if you have to withdraw temporarily.  Please let your team leader or the Cathedral Office know if this is the case so that we can plan the work.

Pleased be assured of our fullest support whilst you continue to work as a volunteer here. In the same way as other members of staff, please be conscious of your own hand hygiene (see above).  Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizers, especially before and after handling objects passed between other people (e.g. keys, money, etc.).  You should talk to your team leader if there are unreasonable obstacles to doing this so that better arrangements can be made.

Worshippers

Chester Cathedral will remain open as a place of prayer and worship for as much time as is possible.  The coming weeks will be a period when this is as necessary as ever for many people.

During worship over the coming weeks and until further notice, in line with practice across the Church of England, please note the following temporary changes to our normal practice:

  • We will offer Communion in one kind only to all communicants i.e. the consecrated bread/wafer/host, with the priest alone taking the wine;
  • We have suspended handshaking or other direct physical contact during the sharing of the peace and when greeting at the entrance/exit doors;
  • We have suspended direct physical contact as part of a blessing or ‘laying on of hands’.
  • Everybody who distributes Holy Communion will use a hand sanitizer beforehand. You should be able to receive bread at Holy Communion with confidence.

Visiting Chester Cathedral

Please be assured that we will do our best to ensure the Cathedral is a safe place for discovery, encounter and faith.  We hope your visit here will be a time to remember and treasure.  Please do your best to help by respecting other people and maintain good hand hygiene, especially when touching surfaces shared with other people.

This advice will be regularly reviewed as circumstances change and may be supplemented or superseded by subsequent briefings.

 

Briefing Number 2, 10 March 2020

To all staff, volunteers and stakeholders

Chester Cathedral is committed to remaining a safe place for everybody who comes through the doors: employee, volunteer, visitor and worshipper. The spreading coronavirus currently presents a number of challenges. We intend to respond to these challenges as well as we can in order to retain the Cathedral as a place of prayer and reflection during these troubled times without causing risk to anybody’s health and wellbeing.

If you have any reason to suspect that you may have contracted the virus your first responsibility is to look after yourself and ensure that you do not spread the illness any further. You should contact the NHS Coronavirus Helpline 111 directly. Further advice can be found on the UK Government web site at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public.

We have introduced enhanced procedures for maintaining cleanliness during this period including sanitizing of surfaces and contact points and regularly checking our facilities. If you see anything that you think needs attention please alert a member of the verger team or the Cathedral Office.

Remember:
• Catch it – sneeze into a tissue
• Bin it – bin the tissue
• Kill it – wash your hands with soap and water
• Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands

Employees, volunteers, visitors and worshippers who may not have already contracted the virus but who are concerned about the risk of doing so should read the following advice.

Employees

COVID-19 is thought to be transmitted through contamination of hands and fingers which in turn touch mouth, eyes and face. Our main line of defence is through good hand hygiene. Staff are encouraged to wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitizers, especially before and after handling objects passed between other people (e.g. keys, money, etc.). You should talk to your line-manager if there are unreasonable obstacles to doing this so that better arrangements can be made.

If you have a medical condition or other circumstances that make you feel particularly vulnerable at this time please talk to your line-manager to ask whether there is anything that can be done, for instance in some circumstances employees will be able to do their work from home.

We are not currently planning to suspend any Cathedral activities but we will keep this under review in line with advice from UK Government, NHS and the Church of England.

Volunteers

Chester Cathedral depends heavily on its large band of committed volunteers. We understand that a number of volunteers may feel too vulnerable at present to continue to attend whilst the Coronavirus is circulating in the UK. We will do our best to manage if you have to withdraw temporarily. Please let your team leader or the Cathedral Office know if this is the case so that we can plan the work.

Pleased be assured of our fullest support whilst you continue to work as a volunteer here. In the same way as other members of staff, please be conscious of your own hand hygiene (see above). Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizers, especially before and after handling objects passed between other people (e.g. keys, money, etc.). You should talk to your team leader if there are unreasonable obstacles to doing this so that better arrangements can be made.

Worshippers

Chester Cathedral will remain open as a place of prayer and worship for as much time as is possible. The coming weeks will be a period when this is as necessary as ever for many.

Please remember that if you have a cold or flu symptoms you should avoid passing germs on and should particularly avoid taking Communion wine. Our worship traditionally involves touch including times when Christian people may greet one another (often with a handshake) or share bread and wine at Holy Communion. If you attend worship you are completely free not to do these things. This is always the case but may be more likely over the coming weeks.

• When greeting people either at the entrance/exit of the church or during the Peace you may find it preferable to wave rather than shake hands. Please do not try to shake hands with anybody who waves at you.
• Everybody who distributes Holy Communion will use a hand sanitizer before handling the bread and chalices. You should be able to receive bread at Holy Communion with confidence.
• We will continue to use the “common cup” for wine at Holy Communion. If you do not wish to receive from the cup the simplest signal is to hold your arms crossed in front of your chest so that the servers know. It is perfectly acceptable to receive bread and not the wine.
• The practice of intinction (dipping bread into the wine) has been thought to reduce the likelihood of infection in the past. We are advised that this is not the case now and therefore request that the practice is not continued. We recognise that this may be hard for some people. You should be reassured that sipping from the silver chalice is less likely to transmit infections.

Visiting Chester Cathedral

Please be assured that we will do our best to ensure the Cathedral is a safe place for discovery, encounter and faith. We hope your visit here will be a time to remember and treasure. Please do your best to help by respecting other people and maintain good hand hygiene, especially when touching surfaces shared with other people.

This advice will be regularly reviewed as circumstances change and may be supplemented or superseded by subsequent briefings.