Coronavirus: guidance to members and our communities as of 4 March, 2020
Date Uploaded: 
Wednesday 4th March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to pose a threat and the United Synagogue has issued further guidance and will continue to update its communities as is reasonably practicable.

A copy of the email sent to United Synagogue communities is below. 


Guidance issued 4 March 2020.



Dear communities,

Please read carefully the following guidance. There are two action points:

  1. Please inform your members of the guidance in Part one "Guidance to be shared with your members". You should also consider how to communicate with your members who are not on email.
  2. Please action the guidance in Part two "Guidance for Synagogue premises", including the link to the two posters to be displayed.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to be in touch with Andrew Brayam via


Thank you for all you do for the United Synagogue.


United Synagogue – Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

Guidance for Chairs and Coronavirus key contacts 


Update: March 4, 2020 


Further to our guidance issued last week, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to pose a threat and the United Synagogue is issuing further guidance today. As the situation develops, we will update communities as is reasonably practicable.


The following note provides links to the national advice and additional recommendations that we are making in a United Synagogue context.


National advice 


Government latest information: Click here


NHS guidance: Click here


Government travel advice: Click here


Additional advice in a United Synagogue Context


Part one: Guidance to be shared with your members 

  • Members should not attend shul if they have:
    • Recently visited one of the areas or been in contact with someone who has recently visited one of the areas listed in government guidance where there are currently Coronavirus clusters. See the ‘Returning travelers’ section here
    • Been in contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed Coronavirus
    • Flu symptoms or a cold (even if mild)
  • If following these guidelines would mean, for example, a member was unable to say kaddish in a minyan for a loved one, please consult with your Rabbi to find an appropriate solution which might include someone else saying kaddish on their behalf.
  • Following NHS guidelines, members are encouraged to wash their hands regularly using warm water and soap.
  • Given that the virus can be transferred by hand, we suggest members refrain from shaking hands and/or kissing when greeting. Following this, members should refrain from kissing mezuzot, communal siddurim and chumashim and sifrei Torah until the threat is over.


Part two: Guidance for Synagogue premises 

  • There should be sufficient and clear signage for members and visitors regarding:
    • not attending if they have visited one of the areas listed above, or if they have been in contact with someone who has
    • Please click here to download the two posters for you to print and display which includes the relevant locations and highlights the importance of good hygiene.
  • Communities should provide hand-cleaning stations on site as well as information on the using and disposing of tissues and washing hands. We are procuring a limited stock of hand sanitizer centrally: please do be in touch if you have been unable to buy it yourselves.
  • Shuls using kitchens for kiddushes and functions should ensure a supply of hand sanitizer and ensure surfaces are kept clean.
  • Communities should ensure Caretakers and/or Cleaning staff focus on ensuring surfaces, toilets, kitchens and door handles receive extra attention using anti-bacterial cleaning products. Cloth hand-drying towels are not appropriate in toilets or kitchens and should be replaced with paper.
  • We are aware that some communities are starting to implement changes relating to kiddush and other functions serving food, and are happy to share what they are doing if requested. While we are not requiring our communities to make any changes at this stage, our advice could change and we advise HOs to consider how they would manage were advice to change, particularly in relation to smachot and special occasions.