Covid Update for St Matthew's following the lifting of Covid restrictions

The PCC met to review how we should respond to the lifting of all remaining legal Covid restrictions by the Government, and we agreed the following:
Mask wearing
We will continue to ask people to consider wearing masks when attending large gatherings in church - such as the 10.30am service, including when singing - in the interests of protecting others and reassuring anyone who might be feeling anxious.
Hand hygiene
We will continue to encourage good hygiene principles and provide sanitiser around the building. We will also display signage conveying the key public health messages. 
The bibles have been put behind the chairs. 
Collection/Planned giving
For the time being, we will not reintroduce passing round the collection plate.  We’ve formed a working party to look at our planned giving as a church generally, and this will be one of the areas that the group will look at.  In the meantime, please can we strongly encourage every regular church member to join the planned giving scheme – see Steve Goddard, our planned giving officer for details
.  If you are not in the planned giving scheme, please do give regularly to the work of the church with a donation left in the collection plate at the back of church.   We also hope shortly to introduce a contactless giving point in church.
We agreed that for now, we would continue with the Peace as at present, i.e. remain in our places and exchange the Peace without physical contact.
We are offering ‘intincted’ wafers at Communion.  This means that the person presiding at Communion will dip the wafer into the wine using tongs and then place the wafer on each person’s hands.  If you would prefer just to receive the wafer as at present, you will of course be welcome to do so.
We did discuss whether we should reintroduce the Common Cup but it was clear that whilst many people long to receive from the cup again, others are anxious about it.  We agreed that we would keep this under review and consider the possibility of reintroducing the Common Cup - for those happy to receive in that way - from Easter Sunday.   
Unfortunately, current Church of England rules do not permit us to introduce individual cups at Communion.
9am Service
We agreed that we would reintroduce the 9am Service of Holy Communion in the Lady Chapel after Easter, and at that point the 2pm service would close.
We discussed the fact that the provision of free lateral flow tests will end at the beginning of April.  We agreed that the church would buy a supply of lateral flow tests so that those such as clergy and members of the Companions group who need to visit people who may be vulnerable – such as the elderly, those in hospital or in care homes – will be able to take a test beforehand.