A council is urging people to follow coronavirus guidance ahead of an upcoming Jewish festival.

Hertsmere Borough Council says it is reminding people to stay safe during celebrations after the borough was put on the ‘watch list’ by the government following a spike in cases.

This weekend people will be celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish new year.

The council is wishing people happy and peaceful celebrations and has written to leaders in the Jewish community to offer support and to help them prepare for COVID-19 safe celebrations.

Cllr Morris Bright, leader of the council, said: “All religious communities in Hertsmere have shown great resolve throughout the coronavirus pandemic, adapting to a different way of life by attending virtual gatherings and live streaming religious services to their homes. Firstly, thank you all for everything you are all doing to help keep Hertsmere’s residents safe.

“The celebrations and events coming up in the next few weeks are an important time for our Jewish communities, often shared and celebrated with friends and family. Unfortunately, we are not through this pandemic yet and we have seen a notable increase in the area in recent days. The challenge to prevent the spread of the virus is as important as ever.”

He added: "We also have plans to write and work with faith leaders ahead of other religious holidays and festivals in the coming weeks and will also issue advice before big secular celebrations too.

“All religious gatherings and celebratory events must be planned in accordance with government guidance and legal requirements, whether they take place inside places of worship or outdoors."

Safer Neighbourhood Inspector for Hertsmere Rachael Robertson said: “We join our council colleagues in sharing best wishes to the Jewish communities ahead of the High Holy days.

“As with other religious events this year, the pandemic has meant a change to the way we’ve had to mark them. As cases of COVID-19 nationally are on the rise, I’d reiterate advice to maintain social distancing and following government guidelines to ensure you and your family and friends remain safe and well.”

Organisers of official events involving more than six people must submit a notification form and a COVID-19 risk assessment to the Safety Advisory Team to ensure all reasonable steps are taken to mitigate the risk of viral transmission, in line with government guidance.

For more information visit www.hertsmere.gov.uk/organisinganevent