Shuls can stay open in lockdown England, but not in Scotland

Board of Deputies thanks government for allowing collective worship to continue


Synagogues can remain open for religious services under the new lockdown announced in England by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday evening, but places of worship are to close in Scotland. 

Unlike the first lockdown last year when shuls had to be shut, communal prayer may still take place provided social distancing measures are adhered to. 

But many synagogues have already taken the decision to close again with the surge of the new variant of coronavirus. 

In Scotland, ministers of religion can broadcast services from houses of worship.

While schools will now be shut till half-term, other measures introduced under tier-4 in England remain in place.  Funerals may be held with a maximum of 30 people and stone-settings with six. 

But wedding ceremonies are prohibited unless in exceptional circumstances – for example, if one partner is gravely ill – and only with six people present. 

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, said, “We are grateful to the government for allowing communal worship and key life-cycle ceremonies to continue but urge people to be meticulous in the following the guidelines over numbers and social distancing.” 

In the wake of the cancellation of exams, she added, “We ask that arrangements be urgently put in place to ensure fairness in the education system and around results. We call for vaccines for teachers and other school workers to be expedited.  

“Just as in wider society, Covid-related deaths in our community have risen sharply over recent weeks. Nobody can afford to be complacent.” 

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