Leaders of Scotland’s Jewish community welcomed news from the Scottish Government that places of worship can reopen from Wednesday 15 July following the extended coronavirus lockdown.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement on Thursday, with the caveat that numbers would be strictly limited, singing and chanting will be curtailed, and physical distancing will have to be observed.
It was one of several areas in which lockdown restrictions were eased, as Sturgeon also relaxed the number of people who can attend funeral and wedding services.
Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC), said: “We are grateful to the government for working closely with, and listening to all faith communities, to ensure inclusion and open discussion around matters relating to faith and religion in Scotland.
He added: “It is vital that we continue to follow guidelines and put precautions in place to ensure that all communities remain safe and healthy.
“We have been holding regular meetings with all of Scotland’s Jewish communities to discuss issues arising from the pandemic and will continue to do so in order to ensure we can maximise participation and the safety of our communities.”
In England, ministers worked with faith leaders through its Places of Worship Taskforce to develop guidance which enabled the safe reopening of places of worship from Saturday 4 July, with many of the same stipulations.
Sturgeon has not said that the coronavirus in Scotland had been suppressed to “a low level” triggering the gradual reopening of shops, hairdressers, dentists, bars and restaurants, although shoppers will be required to wear face masks.