On the CBCEW website, Nichols was quoted saying that the decision to close the churches came from a desire to be "good citizens," and was the correct choice at this time.
"We're going to play our full part in it. That was the call of St. Paul that we ought to be good citizens and today we ought to be good citizens playing our part in the protection of the vulnerable, in our support for the NHS and in the preserving of human life, which is so precious to God in the face of this virus," said Nichols.
The CBCEW website explained the imprudence of keeping churches open, even though the government did say it was permissible.
"None of [the government's] four specific reasons for leaving home concur with the visiting of a church for solitary prayer," said the statement. "In addition, keeping churches open could undermine the desire of the government for people to remain at home, the very fact of them being open may draw people out of their homes, many of which would be the most vulnerable to infection."
The bishops' conference said that they had received advice from Professor Jim McManus, vice president of the Association of Directors of Public Health. McManus had spoken with "a senior civil servant" who agreed that the carve out for houses of worship to remain open was "a mistake."
"Keeping churches open sends an utterly inconsistent message and therefore they must be closed for the benefit of others and stopping infection," said the statement.
While Catholic Masses, including funerals, baptisms, and weddings, have been suspended or postponed until further notice in the United Kingdom, other faiths are continuing with their traditions.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi of United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, posted on Twitter that he was thankful for the religious exemptions in the order, which included that Jewish religious practices would be allowed despite the lockdown.
"I am deeply grateful to the Government for their efforts to ensure that even in these times of profound challenge, due consideration was given to Jewish and Muslim burial rites in emergency legislation," said Rabbi Mirvis.