The United Synagogue has issued new guidance which focuses on “protecting older and medically vulnerable members” from coronavirus – urging them to stay away from shul.
The new advice comes amid the prime minister’s unprecedented peacetime measures to try to control the spread of Covid-19, including ways to shield the elderly and most vulnerable. On Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested people aged 70 and older could have to isolate for four months as the infection spreads.
While “not prohibiting the attendance of members over 70” to its 62 congregations, Chief Executive Steven Wilson urges those “who are medically vulnerable to refrain from attending” shul, and other community events, telling them to “act with responsibility”.
The US told its communities to consider cancelling “all non-religious service events aimed at those in these ‘at risk’ groups” and to “consider cancelling all non-essential social and educational events and programmes”, as well “cancelling kiddushim given that they are not essential and potentially bring with them a greater chance of the virus being spread”.
The United Synagogue also said it “will soon be launching a helpline for members who are self-isolating or who have been advised to stay at home”, which includes help with “regular or Pesach shopping and collecting medication”.
Other advice includes exploring “new ways of connecting to members, including via livestreaming, videoconferencing and social media or on the phone.