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Churches in Wales to close for three Sundays in national lockdown

by Cara Bentley

Churches in Wales will be closing as part of a two week ‘firebreak’ to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Welsh Cabinet have decided to enforce a ‘short, sharp shock' to slow down the virus, which will start at 6pm this Friday.

The national lockdown covers the half-term school holidays and will end on 9th November.

Places of worship, including churches, will close for two weeks as well, other than for funerals or wedding ceremonies, although wedding receptions will not be allowed. 

Church ministers will be allowed in the building to broadcast from it without a congregation. 

The Archbishop of Wales, Most Reverend John Davies, told Premier he was disappointed church buildings would be closing but said the decision would be well considered:

"I'm really hoping that people will understand that a decision like this would not have been taken lightly, it would have been taken on the very best advice."

He added that he hoped people would re-engage with other forms of worship: "These holy sites have a huge hold actually on people's minds and hearts and I would just want to urge people to re-engage with social media, live-streaming and other ways of remaining in contact."

Reverend Aled Edwards is chief executive of Churches Together in Wales, he spoke to Premier following the decision and said he hoped this means greater freedom further down the line. 

"We would not want to put our congregants in a difficult position where they are put at risk and we would like to think, and we would like to pray, that - possibly - what this might do is give us a chance of having a reasonable marking of Christmas."

Everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home and work at home unless their work is essential or cannot be done at home. 

All non-essential retail and tourism will close as it did in March.


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