London Mayor Sadiq Khan urges Johnson to close places of worship as Covid cases surge

Jan 11, 2021 by

by Harriet Sherwood, Guardian:

Places of worship in the capital should shut immediately because of the risks of Covid infection, Sadiq Khan has said, amid signs that churches, mosques and synagogues are already closing their doors.

In a letter to the prime minister setting out his reasons for declaring a major incident in London, the mayor urged Boris Johnson to order places of worship to close, among other measures to tackle the crisis.

Under the lockdown restrictions, places of worship in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are permitted to remain open. The Scottish government has ordered them closed.

On Friday, Blackburn and Derby cathedrals announced they were suspending public worship following stark warnings from health officials of rising infection rates and increasing pressure on hospitals.

“This has been a difficult decision to come to, but in the interests of public health, responsible leadership and a determination to work together to see the suppression of the Covid pandemic, I hope people understand our need to act at this moment in time,” said Peter Howell-Jones, the dean of Blackburn.

Peter Robinson, the dean of Derby, said: “To serve the common good, keep people safe and protect our frontline workers, we need to make this temporary and timely sacrifice, so that before too long we can all gather for worship again.”

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