PLAN FOR REOPENING WORSHIP ‘INSENSITIVE’ TO RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES, SAYS BAILLIE

Jackie Baillie MSP and Riverside Parish Church, Dumbarton.

By Lucy Ashton

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has said that the Scottish Government’s “messy” and “confusing” approach to re-opening places of worship has been “insensitive to religious communities”.

This follows the statement last week from the First Minister that stated that places of worship would reopen on 5 April, the day after Easter Sunday.

However, at a press briefing the following day the First Minister confirmed that she hoped the reopening would occur in time for Easter and Passover, the latter starting on 27 March.

Jackie Baillie MSP said:  “It is welcome that the First Minister has now changed her position, and hopefully we will see places of worship in our local community open towards the end of March – in time for Easter to be observed safely.

“However, the SNP government’s messy and confusing approach to re-opening places of worship has been insensitive to Scotland’s religious communities. It is worrying that initially, Nicola Sturgeon failed to take account of major religious festivals, and this has caused significant anxiety to people across Scotland.

“Had the announcement been made to Parliament rather than at press briefings, it could have been subject to proper scrutiny from MSPs – and perhaps we could have avoided this damaging uncertainty.

“The Scottish Government should now consider whether the limit of congregation sizes to 20 could be lifted in larger venues if it is safe to do so. A one size fits all approach is not appropriate as restrictions are lifted.”

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