YORK Minster will reopen for public worship tomorrow and for sightseeing visits on Saturday July 11.

Clergy and staff greeting visitors will wear masks and visors, and the Central Tower and Undercroft Museum will initially remain closed, and there will be no guided tours.

The first public service to be held at the cathedral since it closed on 16 March will be Evening Prayer at 5.30pm tomorrow, followed by services on Sunday of Morning Prayer at 10am, Holy Communion at 11am and Evening Prayer at 4pm.

A spokeswoman said that in line with government and Church of England guidance, a number of measures had been put in place to help keep visitors and staff safe.

"These include limiting the number of people allowed inside, reduced seating and a one-way system to allow people to physically distance from one another, hand sanitizer points, additional cleaning measures and staff and clergy wearing face masks and visors to welcome visitors," she said.

"Worshippers attending public services will also be asked to leave their name and contact details to assist with the NHS Test and Trace programme, in line with government guidance."

She said services would initially be simpler and shorter, with no congregational singing or sharing of the Peace, and the suspension of the Common Cup during Holy Communion would continue.

"There will also be no plate collection at the end of services, although people are encouraged to make a donation using contactless donation points inside the cathedral."

The Dean of York, the Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost said: “We are delighted to open our doors again to welcome people for public worship and to explore this magnificent sacred space.

“Over the last few weeks we have welcomed many for individual prayer, but to gather again for worship – with relevant physical distancing measures in place – will be a huge encouragement for many.”

The spokeswoman said the regular service pattern at the cathedral from Tuesday July 7 will be Monday to Saturday Morning Prayer (7.30am), Holy Communion (7.50am) and Evening Prayer (5.30pm) and Sundays Morning Prayer (10am), Holy Communion (11am) and Evening Prayer (4pm).

"While the cathedral has been closed its clergy have taken worship online, and will continue to produce a pre-recorded Evensong service broadcast at 4pm each Sunday via its website and social media channels for those who are unable to immediately return to the building for worship," she said.

"People have been able to visit the cathedral for individual prayer since Tuesday 16 June, and from Saturday 11 July the Minster will extend its opening hours for this and welcome its first sightseeing visitors since March.

"General visiting hours will be Monday to Saturday 11am to 4pm, and Sunday 12.20pm to 2.30pm, and visitors coming for sightseeing will need to pre-book a timed arrival slot via www.yorkminster.org, with tickets now available for visits from 11 – 31 July 2020."

She said parts of the cathedral will initially remain closed, including the Central Tower and Undercroft Museum, and there will be no guided tours.

"The Minster has been approved for the UK-wide ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard, launched this week by national tourism organisations for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, which demonstrates it is adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance," she added.