Have a safe Lag b’Omer
Hackney Council and the London Fire Brigade are urging members of the Jewish community to commemorate the festival of Lag b’Omer safely and considerately this year and in line with social distancing measures.
The festival, which takes place between 29-30 April, normally involves building a bonfire and commemorating the death of a prominent rabbi. In some communities it is also an occasion at which a boy receives his first haircut.
And while it is important that people can celebrate, this year some Lag b’Omer traditions and customs - such as public bonfires and other public activities - cannot be held due to social distancing rules, which are in place to protect everyone from the spread of coronavirus.
The Council and London Fire Brigade (LFB) have issued the following advice:
- Do not build bonfires in public places as this will attract crowds
- Only build bonfires in private gardens
- Do not invite anyone other than those already in your household or your social bubble
- Avoid gathering large groups
- Do not attend public events
- Follow the fire safety advice provided by the London Fire Brigade.
The Council, the Met Police and the LFB have been carrying out joint patrols in the borough during the festival to ensure that Covid rules are enforced and all communities are kept safe. They have issued some advice and guidance to a number of households.
Even though Lag b’Omer took place under lockdown conditions last year, there was still a substantial increase in the number of incidents attended by local crews, which we believe to be a result of bonfires lit as part of the festivities.
In previous years there have also been examples on various social media platforms of bonfires that seemed to flash and/or explode; this suggests that accelerants, like aerosols or petrol for example, had been used to start the fire.
Though we are keen to see that our community enjoys this festive period, we do not want to see anyone harmed as a result of out-of-control fires or fires involving dangerous materials, therefore we would urge anyone wishing to celebrate Lag b’Omer to take a moment to read our fire safety information ‘Bonfire Safety Tips’ (above).
I would ask all members of the community that if the fire brigade responds to incidents during the festive period they are given the space to work quickly and efficiently.
Current Covid restrictions mean people must:
- Not meet indoors with people you don't live with or are not in a bubble with
- Only meet outdoors within the rule of six or a larger group from two households
- Keep 2m away from those you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with
If everyone keeps following the rules and case numbers stay low, the next step in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown is set to ease further restrictions on 17 May.
If you believe there has been a Covid breach, please contact the police on 101. If you want to make a noise nuisance complaint, please contact the Council on: hackney.gov.uk/noise; or call: 020 8356 4455.