Those medically vulnerable or aged over 70 have been told to avoid shivas and funerals in the latest United Synagogue advice.
“Instead choose to offer comfort in other ways, such as by telephone and in writing. Even if you are not in these ‘at risk’ groups please give serious consideration as to whether to attend,” says the guidance, released by the United Synagogue Burial Society on Tuesday.
Restrictions will be placed in the coming days on the number of people attending funerals at all cemeteries maintained by the movement, according to the new guidelines.
Mourners should hold “very small gatherings” at funerals and shivas to avoid the potential spread of the virus and refrain from shaking hands, kissing and hugging.
“Individuals or community representatives might consider livestreaming funerals or shivas in order to allow those who are at risk or self-isolating to be included,” the guidance says.
The chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis suspended on Tuesday all services across 120 shuls under his auspices in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.