Are churches open in lockdown?
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Churches offer an important function for many in society particularly amid the unprecedented and difficulties many have suffered during the coronavirus crisis. The third lockdown in England has been implemented in response to the new Covid variant which is more easily spread than the original strain. But are churches open in lockdown?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented a national lockdown in England on Monday, January 4.
From that time until at least mid-February people are being told they must remain at home unless they have an essential reason to leave.
These reasons may include essential shopping, attending a medical appointment, going to work, volunteering, meeting your bubble, going to school, exercise once a day, undertaking worship or undertaking activities related to moving house.
All non-essential retail outlets must close and those who shielded in March 2020 must recommence doing so.
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Mr Johnson revealed there are more than a million cases in the country equating to one in 50 people having the virus in England.
The PM said: “I want to say to everyone right across the United Kingdom that I know how tough this is, I know how frustrated you are, I know that you have had more than enough of Government guidance about defeating this virus. But now more than ever, we must pull together.”
The PM added: “The weeks ahead will be the hardest yet but I really do believe that we are entering the last phase of the struggle.
“Because with every jab that goes into our arms, we are tilting the odds against Covid and in favour of the British people.
“And, thanks to the miracle of science, not only is the end in sight and we know exactly how we will get there.
“But for now, I am afraid, you must once again stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
Speaking from Downing Street on Thursday, Mr Johnson discussed the rollout of the vaccine, announcing plans for the rollout to be ramped up massively from January 15.
He said almost 1.5 million people have now received the first dose of the vaccine and unveiled plans for a new booking service for vaccinations which will soon be operational.
Mr Johnson also revealed no-one will be required to travel more than 10 miles to get vaccinated.
He said: “I know there is now one question at the very top of your minds and that is how fast and how effectively we can get these millions of new vaccines into the arms of the most vulnerable and those who need them most.
“And you want to know that we in government, the NHS, the Armed Forces, local and regional government, government at every level are truly throwing everything at it round the clock if necessary.
“And I believe that with the country once again in lockdown and all the difficulties that means for you, for your family, for students, for education, for your businesses, and of course with the tragic number of deaths that we’re seeing and that we’ve seen today, you have a right to understand exactly how we are cracking this problem and how the national vaccine effort is progressing.”
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On Thursday, the Government confirmed there had been 52,618 new cases of the virus.
There were 1,162 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
Hospitals are also feeling the burden of the crisis, with 3,600 new patients admitted into hospital on Thursday.
There are currently 30,370 patients in hospitals or which 2,821.
In addition, 1,296,432 people have received the first dose of the vaccine, 21,313 people have also received the second dose.
Mr Johnson added: “We are in a race against time, but I can assure you we’re doing everything we can to vaccinate as many people as possible across our whole United Kingdom.
“And in the meantime, please stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.”
Are churches open in lockdown?
The Government’s website reads: “You can attend places of worship for a service.
“However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.
“You should maintain strict social distancing at all times.”
The decision to keep churches open comes after ministers said in December that they recognised the importance that many people placed on religious worship.
To ensure churches are made as safe as possible, the following guidance has been issued by the Government:
- Social distancing between different households must be observed at all times
- You cannot attend church with anyone outside your household.
- A statutory risk assessment must be undertaken and all reasonable measures implemented to reduce the risk of transmission at churches.
- For funerals, no more than 30 people can attend.
- For weddings and civil ceremonies, only six people may attend.
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