Impact of the current lockdown on Parish Administration

11th January 2021

On Thursday 7th January 2021, Archbishop Eamon announced that parishes in the Archdiocese of Armagh would suspend public worship in support of the current efforts to protect our people and our health services and in support of the universal message for people to stay at home and to only go out if essential. This will of course have a knock-on impact on other parish and diocesan activities. Based on the above and government guidelines we advise to parishes the following;

Parish Administration

  • Parish offices should be closed to the public and all business conducted by phone or online.
  • Parish secretaries and clergy should ensure that access to offices by staff is kept to a minimum and all social engagements are avoided (e.g. shared coffee breaks and meals).
  • All meetings of Parish groups should be held virtually or cancelled until further notice.
  • The work of Parish administration can continue but administrative staff should work from home where possible.
  • Access to the parish offices should only be necessary with strict application of social distancing guidance, including the points made above.
  • Where it is not possible to carry out administrative duties from home, staff may continue to come to work and should work in isolation as detailed above.
  • If the above options are not possible, consideration should be given to furloughing / flexible furloughing* of these personnel.

Parish Centres / Halls

  • Staff of Parish Centres / Halls should work from home where possible.
  • If their work requires presence on-site, access with strict application of social distancing guidance will be authorised.
  • Where there is no work available, consideration should be given to furloughing / flexible furloughing* of these personnel.

Maintenance and Cleaning (Sacristans. Cleaners and Caretakers)

  • Sacristans, Cleaners and Caretakers of Parish premises, if their work is required, can access with strict application of social distancing guidance.
  • Where there is no work available, consideration should be given to furloughing / flexible furloughing* of these personnel.

Use of Parish facilities

  • Facilities run by parishes should now close operations with notifications given to outside groups who have booked facilities up to 6th February. A further review should then be carried out based on available recommended government advice and guidelines.

*For further information on the furlough / flexible furloughing scheme please refer to email sent to Parishes on the 8th January 2021 by John McVey