Vicars are offering to maintain a register of worshippers who enter their church buildings to help persuade ministers to allow them to reopen safely as the lockdown eases, new plans have revealed.
Fonts and Holy Water stoups will be emptied and hand santizer stations set up at entrances and exits to allow Church of England premises to allow parishioners to pray in the pews under the plans.
Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, has committed not to allow places of worship to open until July 4 at the earliest.
New Government guidance on the easing of the lockdown on Monday made clear that "it is still not possible to pray in a church, mosque, synagogue, temple or other place of worship".
A Church of England risk assessment - titled Towards Re-opening Church Buildings: Covid-19 Risk Assessment Checklist for Parish Churches - sets out how places of worship will have to change in a post-coronavirus world.
The seven page advice states that clergy must also "prepare a suitable form to record contact details of people entering the building" as part of a new Covid-19 secure routine.
The assessment recommends that vicars ensure that "Holy water stoups and the font are empty" and "water systems are flushed through before use" to limit the possible spread of the virus.
Vicars also must ensure that they have "hand sanitizer available for people to use on entry and exit of the church building".
Clergy must also "confirm who is responsible for removing potentially contaminated waste e.g. hand towels from the site".
Other unpublished guidance for weddings - which is being circulated among Church of England clergy this week - recommends that different pens are used when members of families sign a church's marriage register.
The unpublished guidance on private prayer asks parishioners to email prayer requests to the clergy, rather than the more conventional approach of writing the requests on cards and putting them on a noticeboard.
Vicars are also advised not to use disposable lighters to ignite church candles while children's toys and books should also be put away and pews roped off to keep worshippers in the same place to make cleaning easier.
Rector Marcus Walker, from St Bartholomew the Great, London's oldest parish church, said he expected churches to be only open for private prayer, rather than full services, for months.
He was planning two metre marks on the church's floor with "a walkway around the nave" adding that "the best way of describing it will be like a motorway with off ramps".
Rev Walker added: "We’ll also have prayer stations around the church so that people can veer off the main walk around [for private prayer] and have them clearly marked out."
The Catholic Church is looking at a one in, one out system to allow for private prayer, a big clean at the end of each day from June 15, subject to Government permission.
In synagogues, Jewish leaders are considering asking parishioners to bring their own prayer books, while Sikhs are making plans for regular cleaning of gudwaras.
On Monday night Dame Sarah Mullally, the Church of England's Bishop of London who is leading the Church's talks with ministers, challenged Mr Jenrick to set a date to reopen places of worship.
She said: “We all want to see places of worship open as soon as is safe and practical and we have been very actively planning to that end, drawing up really detailed advice to help local churches prepare.
“While I welcome the Secretary of State’s declaration of intent to see them begin to reopen, at least initially for individual prayer, I would encourage ministers now to set a date so that we all know where we stand."
Speaking to the Telegraph on Monday night Robert Jenrick, the Communities secretary, told The Daily Telegraph he was working to reopen places of worship "as soon as possible".
Mr Jenrick said: “I understand just how difficult it is for people of faith not to be able to worship.
"That’s why we are working with in partnership with faith leaders, through our taskforce, to develop guidance to enable the phased and safe reopening of places of worship.
“Getting our places of worship safely open is a priority for me as Communities Secretary, and this commitment is shared across the Government.
"We will issue the necessary guidance as soon as possible and ensure places of worship have sufficient time to put measures in place to safely welcome worshippers back as soon as possible."