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  1. Book seating at the Mass
  2. Arrangements in church
  3. Questions and answers
  4. Miscellaneous information


How to book seating at the Mass in St Paul’s Church

Please ring our dedicated booking telephone number on 07729 283 978 (Mobile call charges will apply). Please note that this mobile number is the only way to reserve your seat bookings for Mass (calls to this number are solely for this purpose):

  • from Mon to Thurs between 10am to 12 Noon
  • Fri between 10am to 11am only. 

We intend that 10am Mass will be a regular event, and you can book each week for the following Sunday on this telephone line.

Please note: the 10am Mass will be recorded and available on Facebook Live -> St Paul’s Facebook Live . If you have any concerns about the use of live streaming during a service or a Mass please speak with Fr Peter Burke. The following privacy notice is displayed in church -> St Pauls Live-Stream-Privacy-Notice 11Aug20

Booking is not required to watch the Mass on Facebook Live.


Arrangements in church

Re-opening St Paul’s Church for prayers and worship at this time means many exceptional COVID-19 precautionary measures are needed to ensure the safety of all involved, including:

  • Social distancing: the number allowed in church is much reduced. To provide maximum seating, we decided on 1m+ spacing knowing that parishioners must bring and wear a face covering. Parishioners must book their seats in advance, preferably using the online booking system.
  • NHS Test and trace requires your contact details to be recorded and verified on arrival. You will be asked for your consent to the parish recording and retaining your details needed for Test and trace.
  • Anti-infection measures has been achieved by scrupulous attention to cleanliness. We have withdrawn missals, closed the church toilet, ask you to use hand sanitiser and have increased the cleaning of the church pews.

If attending a mass in Church please wear a face covering, and to give time for the Stewards to take you to your seat please arrive early, but no more than 15 minutes before the Mass time.

These arrangements are described in more detail in:


Questions and Answers 

These questions and answers attempt to address typical concerns and issues. This Q&A list will be updated frequently.

The answers reference current regulatory documents from the UK Government and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. References are shown in [..] and are listed below. 

Q. Will Mass be celebrated on other Sundays after 9th August?

It is our hope and intention we can celebrate Mass on each Sunday from 9th August 2020.

However this does depend on:

  • the current advice and guidance from regulatory organisations such as the UK Government and the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
  • the availability of visiting priests.
  • the availability of parish volunteers to undertake the key roles, such as the stewards and eucharistic ministers. 

The up to date schedule of planned masses will be in the side bar of each page of this web site. 

Q. I have mobility problems and will not be able to walk down to the front of the church.

Sorry to hear you have mobility problems. Our current approach for safe movement around the church is that parishioners will enter through the front door and exit through the side door, so attending church at this time may not suit you.

This reflects the advice from [4] “In defining the number of people that can reasonably follow social distancing, … areas should be taken into account (such as entrances, exits) and where possible alternative or one-way routes introduced”. Changing our current approach from an one-way movement around the church means we would have to introduce other very complicated restrictions. If you want to attend Mass in church during this time we suggest those with mobility impairment should bring their walker if that sufficiently helps their mobility, or if appropriate arrive in a wheelchair and book the wheelchair seat in the church.

We will review our our approach as advice and guidance changes.

Q. I live in Greater Manchester. Can I come to the Mass at St Paul’s in Poynton?

At the moment you are very welcome to come to Mass at St Paul’s church.

The UK Government regulations were updated on 6th August for the local Greater Manchester restrictions. We believe that parishioners and visitors from Greater Manchester can attend Mass at St Paul’s Church, as the precautionary measures at St Paul’s are sufficiently COVID-19 secure.

[3] says “socialise with people you do not live with in … places of worship … You may attend these venues with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with), but should avoid interaction with individuals or groups from other households.” and “You may attend a … church, .. but you should socially distance from people outside of your household.“

Parishioners and visitors in areas with local restrictions will need to check their specific local limitations before attending Mass at St Paul’s church.

Q. I do not like wearing a face covering. Do I have a choice?

Using face coverings allows us to use 1m+ social distancing and seat more people in the congregation. Using face covering will be mandatory in churches for the 9th Aug Mass. However, we are waiting for further clarification from the UK Government on 8th August, as it is not clear whether there will be any change in detail and to the exemptions listed.

[5] says “For members of the public, from 8 August the places where you will have to wear a face covering will be expanded to include … place of worship … We recommend face coverings are worn in these settings now but this will not be mandatory until 8 August. Further information will be available soon.”. This is reiterated in [6].

However [5] continues “You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • young children under the age of 11 (Public Health England do not recommend face coverings for children under the age of 3 for health and safety reasons)
  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  • to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • to eat or drink if reasonably necessary
  • in order to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you remove your face covering

There are also scenarios when you are permitted to remove a face covering when asked:

  • if asked to do so in a bank, building society, or post office for identification
  • if asked to do so by shop staff or relevant employees for identification, the purpose of assessing health recommendations, such as a pharmacist, or for age identification purposes including when buying age restricted products such as alcohol
  • if speaking with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound. Some may ask you, either verbally or in writing, to remove a covering to help with communication”.

So this is not as clear cut as we would like, and we await the advice from the UK Government on 8th August..


[1] Removed as no longer applicable.

[2] Removed as now contains general information only.

[3] UK Government, 31st July 2020.

[4] UK Government, last updated 4th August 2020. This a useful and extensive document.

[5] UK Government, last updated 31 July 2020.

[6] CBCEW Guidance for the Celebration of Mass,, last updated 3rd August 2020.


Miscellaneous information

Relevant documents on terms of use of your personal data and data privacy -> GDPR, consent and security

Relevant documents on terms of use and data privacy relating to the Setmore product we may use to provide this service -> Terms of use, -> Privacy statement, -> EU Data Processing Addendum

St Paul’s: Seat booking administration (log in required) -> Booking administration

Booking seats in St Alban’s Church, Macclesfield -> St Alban’s home page

CBCEW -> Guidance dated 8th July, which contains guidance sheets for different activities, for example “Guidance for the Celebration of Mass” dated 7th July.

NHS Test and Trace -> How it works and -> Maintaining records

[11 Aug 20]