First look: Inside York Minster, as it prepares to reopen

The Revd Canon Michael Smith, pastor at York Minster, in his protective visor. Photograph: Richard McDougall
15 Jun 2020 @ 4.25 pm
| News

This is how York Minster will look when it reopens tomorrow (Tuesday).

The great cathedral will welcome people back for individual prayer from 4.30pm-6.30pm Tuesday to Saturday, and from 2.30pm-4.30pm on Sundays.

Tomorrow will be the first time since the Minster closed its doors on 16 March in response to the coronavirus pandemic that people have been able to visit the sacred space, light a candle, reflect and pray.

One of the Minster policeman signs the way forward

A number of measures are being put in place to help keep people safe during their visit.
These include limiting the number of people allowed inside at any one time, signage and reduced seating to allow people to socially distance from one another, a new one-way system, hand sanitiser points and additional cleaning measures.

Phased return of staff

One of the new boards

Only the main Nave area of the cathedral will be open for individual prayer, with a one-way system and signage encouraging social distancing, facilitated by staff equipped with PPE.

A member of York Minster’s clergy will be available each day for anyone in need of pastoral support and care.

The new signage being sorted
Ready to welcome people back
There is more room between the seats

The Dean of York, the Right Revd Dr Jonathan Frost said:  “I am delighted that we are able to take this next small but significant step towards seeing the Minster fully re-opened by initially opening for individual prayer.

“All of us who live, work and pray here, look forward to the doors being fully opened in the days ahead.”

The cathedral is initially reopening with reduced hours to allow a phased return of its staff and to allow its new arrangements to be tested and adjusted before extending its hours.

Due to major work being done to the cathedral’s Grand Organ, the Nave has been temporarily arranged so seating within the cathedral faces the Great West Window, which contains the Heart of Yorkshire, so that its symbol and message of love can provide a focus for people.

Online services

Card image cap

While the Minster has been closed it has moved worship online, and this will continue with a new, pre-recorded Sunday Evensong service broadcast each week at 4pm via the cathedral’s Facebook and YouTube channels and on its website.

More information via: