By Jenness Mitchell & Courtney Cameron
Sunday church services have taken place across Scotland for the first time since lockdown began in March.
Since Wednesday, places of worship have been allowed to reopen for communal prayer and religious services after the Scottish Government eased further restrictions.
However, services are strictly limited to a maximum of 50 people and for the moment do not include communal singing or chanting.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the guidance was about “enabling such services to take place as safely as possible”.
Many places of worship have been live-streaming services.
Ronnie Convery, director of communications for the archdiocese of Glasgow, told STV News that it had been “four long months”.
Following Sunday service at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Glasgow, Mr Convery said: “Today is a day that people have waited for, for a very long time.
“The last public Sunday Mass, held here in the cathedral in Glasgow, was in early March, so it’s been four long months.
“And people are used to going to Mass every Sunday, so you can imagine it’s been a period of famine for them.
“So, today is a significant day to come back.”
Mr Convery said precautions had been put in place to keep everyone safe, including adherence over face coverings and social distancing.
He added: “Everybody has a responsibility to act prudently.
“[Capacity is] limited to 50 at the moment, which is a shame because this cathedral can hold ten-times that. So, there is a great demand for places.
“But hopefully with social distancing, obeying the rules, more and more people will be able to come back.”
On Wednesday, Scotland’s hospitality and tourism sectors reopened.
Hotels are back in business, while hairdressers, pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants are now able to welcome customers indoors as part of phase three of the route map out of lockdown.
As part of the Scottish Government’s contact tracing system, customers are expected to provide contact details so people can be tracked following any potential positive cases of coronavirus.
Speaking last week, the First Minister said: “I would make a plea to all customers to accept that, if you want to go somewhere like a hairdresser or a place of worship or to a popular restaurant, you will be asked to provide contact details.
“You should cooperate with anyone who is asking you to do that.
“In fact, if you’re not prepared to provide your contact details, my message to you is pretty blunt: don’t go to these places, because you could be putting others at greater risk.”
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