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mosques, churches in England to partially reopen from June 15

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Mosques and other places of worship in England will reopen for private prayer from June 15.

Under the plans, expected to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, weddings and other group activities will still be restricted until at least July 4.

Mosques, churches and synagogues are expected to put additional social distancing measures in place, including limiting the number of worshippers attending.

“Ensuring places of worship can open again, beginning with private prayer by individuals, has been my priority,” said Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.

“Their contribution to the common good of our country is clear, as places of solace, comfort, stability and dignity. And the need for them is all the greater as we weather the uncertainties of the pandemic.”

Northern Ireland has already allowed private worship, but Scotland and Wales have not yet done so. The Scottish government is expected to announce plans for reopening on June 18.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) welcomed the reopening of mosques, but urged clarity on the guidelines in place for congregations.

“Mosques are provisioned primarily for congregational worship, so there is currently significant uncertainty and concern from mosque leaders on how the new regulations can actually be implemented,” the MCB said.

“We urge the government to give clear and unambiguous guidance to plan effectively to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone.”

Mosques and other places of worship across the UK closed in March as coronavirus infections and fatalities in the country surged.
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