The leader of Harrow Council has “strongly advised” that places of worship only remain open in “exceptional circumstances” during the third national lockdown.

Cllr Graham Henson wrote to community leaders outlining the council’s position on how to help manage the latest restrictions following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday (January 4).

While communal worship is still permitted, the council leader has urged faith leaders to think about whether this is the wisest option given the Covid-19 situation in Harrow.

“Under the new rules and with the new infectious strain, just as with schools we would strongly advise places of worship only open in exceptional circumstances,” Cllr Henson wrote.

He added additional support is available for those who wish to move services online who have not already done so.

And he reminded people around the limits when it comes to number of attendees at funerals (30), linked ceremonies such as ashes scatterings (six), and weddings (six).

These events, he reiterated, should only take place in “exceptional circumstances” as the country tries to navigate a high number of Covid-19 cases.

Many services in Harrow have moved online, or will do imminently, in response to the pandemic.

For example, St John’s Church, in Sheepcote Road, will have its final service on Sunday (January 10), while events at Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue became virtual once London was placed under Tier 4 restrictions.

However, Harrow Central Mosque, in Station Road, will remain open during this latest lockdown.

Update: Harrow mosques suspend public worship due to Covid-19

It noted that face masks will be mandatory, washing facilities will be unavailable, prayer areas will be marked out and worshippers must bring their own mats.

Representatives from the mosque also urged people not to loiter nearby or congregate at the nearby traffic lights.

According to the Government, those who do visit places of worship must not mingle with those outside their household or bubble and social distancing should be observed at all times.