Shuls and care homes to remain shut following updated pandemic advice
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Shuls and care homes to remain shut following updated pandemic advice

'There will be no changes to synagogue operations and all our present policies remain in place, including, sadly, the full closure of our buildings', the United Synagogue said

Synagogues will remain shut until at least the summer under updated government advice on the pandemic.

Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a “road map” out of lockdown, including easing of some restrictions including some outdoor activities.

Reacting to the announcement, the United Synagogue wrote to rabbis, rebbetzens and chairs saying it remains “enormously troubled” by the virus threat.

Calling the situation in care homes “tragic”, the letter said “many of us are mourning for people that we have lost in our communities, and we sense that we have a long path ahead to a new normal.”

It added “There will be no changes to synagogue operations and all our present policies remain in place, including, sadly, the full closure of our buildings”, and that “relaxing of certain outdoor activities does not allow for Minyanim outside”.

Jewish Care’s chief executive Daniel Carmel-Brown said: “We understand that the current situation is upsetting for many, but we must continue to prioritise the health and safety of everyone we care for.

When there are any changes to our policy on visitation to care homes, independent living facilities or community centres, we will let those affected know as soon as possible.”

For now, we must continue as we are.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “While the Government has indicated a route-map out of lockdown, the situation remains very dangerous. We would advise everyone in the Jewish community to observe Government advice carefully. We must do everything to ensure that this awful virus does not take an even greater toll on our community and wider society than it has already.”

On Monday, Boris Johnson released a 50-page document that outlined the government’s roadmap to unlocking. It suggested in ‘step 3’ of the government’s plan, places of worship, including synagogues, may be reopened.

More than 360 British Jews are known to have died after contracting Covid-19.

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