Winterbourne's MP calls for churches to be opened for 'private prayer' at Easter
April 09 2020
Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti has called on the Government to relax coronavirus restrictions around churches, which are currently closed, to allow Christians to observe Easter.
Mr Lopresti, whose Parliamentary constituency includes Winterbourne, has written to the Housing, Communities, and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick to ask for a temporary relaxation on closures to allow Christians "to go for private prayer, provided they continue to observe social distancing and other appropriate guidance to restrict the spread of infection".
He said: “On Easter Sunday people will be allowed to go to shops to buy essentials, to exercise for their health, and to even go to takeaways and off-licences, provided they observe social distancing.
"Why should they not be able to go to church and pray at Easter, one of the most important events in the year for Christians, providing the same rules apply?”
The Voice has contacted the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government for a comment.
A government spokesperson said it would respond fully to Mr Lopresti's letter "in due course".
The spokesperson said: "We know it’s important that Christian communities are able to worship and celebrate around Easter. So, although it is with regret that churches and other places of worship will remain closed to congregation members over the holiday, we are heartened to see families and congregations find new ways to come together such as by live streaming services.
“We do not want this to go on for a day longer than it has to but these restrictions are in place to protect the NHS and save lives, so it's vital that people continue to stay at home.”
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said that guidelines published three weeks ago were "very clear that places of worship shouldn't open", adding: "The reson those guidelines are in place is to protect the public from the spread of this disease, and to save lives."