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Scottish churches must close doors in new national lockdown

by Marcus Jones

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that all places of worship will be banned from hosting physical gatherings for the whole of January as part of a national lockdown.

The only in person services allowed are weddings, limited to five people, and funerals where just 20 will be allowed.

Ms Sturgeon announced the changes in a statement at the Scottish Parliament, which was recalled from recess to discuss stricter measures, telling MSPs taking no action could see Covid-19 capacity in hospitals overrun within "three or four weeks".

She said: "We have an opportunity in Scotland to avert the situation here deteriorating to that extent but we must act quickly."

A legally-enforceable stay at home order will apply from Tuesday's with the only exemptions being work, essential shopping and outdoor exercise.

Later, Boris Johnson is expected to announce similar measures for England, but it's unknown whether churches will be stopped from holding in person services.

Danny Webster from the Evangelical Alliance isn't in favour of a ban on churches but told Premier moving online for the next month would be wise.

"Maybe for the protection of our community and our witness to the wider community we don't meet for now and just do our services online," he said.

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