The UK Government has flatly rejected claims of “success” made on Monday morning by an Orthodox Jewish group in Stamford Hill that ministers had “agreed” to its proposals to allow small Jewish religious weddings.
The Jewish Community Council of North London (JCC), led by Levi Schapiro, said it had “successfully been working with government officials on a very senior level” and had offered “plans to ensure weddings and religious ceremonies can be removed from lockdown orders”.
The JCC added that “the government has accepted our proposed plans to allow small weddings with limited guests,” saying it “will be announced imminently”.
However, on Tuesday, a government spokesperson said: “All weddings, including religious weddings, remain prohibited to control Coronavirus and protect the public.
“We understand the inconvenience and disappointment this will cause and in step two of our recovery strategy we will examine how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups to better facilitate small weddings.
“We will continue to work with councils and faith groups over the coming weeks to explore how best to achieve this safely. Final decisions will be based on scientific evidence at the time.”
On Monday, shortly before the JCC announcement, the government published a guidance document titled ‘Our Plan to Rebuild’ which noted so-called Step 2 actions to ease the lockdown restrictions, which could include small weddings.
It further noted the government’s “intention to enable small wedding ceremonies from 1 June,” dependent on the national situation nearer the time.
The JCC said it had been “inundated with calls from constituents, community members and Askonim raising concerns about weddings and Simchas during lockdown”.