Coronavirus in Leicester

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Religion, faith or belief

Together with other public bodies across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, we are working closely with faith groups and organisations to do what they can to limit the spread of coronavirus and support our local communities.

Further information

The challenges and opportunities presented to us across faith communities, groups and organisations at the current time are quite different; in part because each one has its own distinct demographic identity in the make-up of its communities.

We are taking national guidance and working with faith communities, groups and organisations as we act to make the best response locally.

This page includes information and advice on a range of topics, featuring links to Government guidance where appropriate as well as good practice collected locally and from other parts of the country (indeed, from around the world).

Following the announcement yesterday regarding the relaxation of measures for the ‘local lockdown’ in Leicester, we wish to inform you that the way we need you to celebrate Eid-al Adha hasn’t changed.

Collective worship will only be permitted from Monday 3 August 2020, and once the Government has made the necessary changes to legislation. The position therefore remains that congregational prayer is still not permitted at the current time; only individual prayer is allowed in places of worship.

This means that the guidelines remain the same:

  • Please celebrate Eid al-Adha safely within your own home and with members of your own household only.
  • Please do not invite people who don’t live with you into your home or go to other people’s houses – even if they are close friends or family.
  • Please continue to pray at home. Places of Worship are still not permitted to open for congregational prayer. You may attend for individual worship and reflection only.
  • Outdoor Eid prayers are still not permitted as you are not able to gather in groups of more than 6 people. If you do meet with people please make sure it’s outside, in a group of no more than six people, and always keep at least two metres away from people that you do not live with.
  • We know that it is traditional to visit cemeteries during Eid al-Adha, but we would ask this year that you only go if strictly necessary. If you do visit our cemeteries, please follow the advice provided to you.
  • For family and friends who don’t live with you, consider celebrating by using technology such as video calling.

Continued restrictions on our activities and the need for social distancing will affect how we can observe the many special occasions in faith calendars.

Each of the communities affected has responded in their own ways to the necessary restrictions. All continue to make changes to how they will mark festivals, celebrations, commemorations and other special occasions.

The strict infection control measures required during the coronavirus pandemic also limit close contact with people who are dying or have recently died. Where restrictions on visitors continue, it may not be possible for faith representatives to perform some or all of the usual rituals.

There may also be issues with allowing family members at the bedside, particularly if, for example, they are having to self-isolate, they are in the high-risk vulnerable group, or they are unable to acquire the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

Places of worship remain closed and will not reopen until July at the earliest. This obviously presents some challenges for our communities and groups across Leicester. The government has now established a taskforce to develop a plan to reopen places of worship in a phased and safe manner. Information about that can be found at GOV.UK.

This continued closure, together with the restrictions on gatherings and the need to maintain social distancing, means that worship and some of the religious rituals and practices so important to our beliefs are not now possible.

We’ll add further information about changes to worship, rituals and practices soon.