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Poll Results: Should places of worship be open through the second lockdown?

There's much disagreement over what should be able to stay open during the second lockdown, from gyms to schools to places of worship. We asked Peterborough Matters readers if they think places like churches, mosques and synagogues should stay open through November - here's what they said.
Places of worship have been told that they need to close through the second lockdown, after a push from religious leaders to allow them to remain open (Photo: John Baker)

It was a close one - just over 44% said that places of worship should not be open, with 42% saying that they thought they could be open and that worship could be done with social distancing guidelines in place.

Specific services and events got the approval of 11% of respondents - perhaps with services like the Remembrance Sunday commemoration in mind.

Around 2% of people said that they didn't know.

Faith leaders have been calling for places of worship to remain open despite the country heading into a month-long second lockdown.
On Tuesday, archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell and other faith leaders, including Qari Asim, of Makkah Mosque in Leeds, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, wrote a letter to Boris Johnson in which they said: "We understand entirely that the country faces significant challenges and the reasons behind the government’s decision to bring in new measures.

"But we strongly disagree with the decision to suspend public worship during this time. We have had reaffirmed, through the bitter experience of the last six months, the critical role that faith plays in moments of tremendous crisis, and we believe public worship is essential."

However, Downing Street said that outlawing services inside places of worship was part of "a package of measures which is designed to slow the spread of the virus and it was determined that while private prayer could be allowed, sadly it wasn’t possible to go any further than that".

Some Peterborough residents felt that places of worship should be open, saying it was important to give people hope. Others disagreed vehemently, saying people could pray at home without putting lives at risk.

One responder, Matt Rowbottom, explained that his church will be meeting up to pray - but entirely online. "Prayer can be done anywhere. Sung worship will continue to be part of our Sunday service on-line and participated in, in the safety of our homes," he said. "The important thing is to keep to the guidelines, stay safe and stay connected to one another. We have been blessed with the technology."