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The Grenfell Tower Inquiry has been suspended following the announcement of new coronavirus restrictions.
The Inquiry had been due to resume hearing oral evidence on 11 January after a Christmas break, but is now not expected to restart until February, when it will be held remotely.
A statement issued by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry said: “This
was a difficult decision, but the increase in transmissibility of the new
variant of coronavirus means that there is a significant increase in the risk
of infection facing anyone who travels to and works at the Inquiry’s premises,
notwithstanding the robustness of the arrangements in place. In the current
circumstances it is unreasonable to ask witnesses and Inquiry team staff to
travel into a particularly high-risk area to attend the Inquiry.”
It said that it would temporarily introduce remote hearings
from February “only for as long as it is absolutely necessary”. During the
first coronavirus lockdown last year, the idea of remote hearings was discussed
with remote participants but not pursued. This time, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry
panel decided it was “better to have remote hearings than no hearings at all”
while the current restrictions are in place.
The statement added: “The Inquiry hopes to start remote hearings
as early as possible in February, and will write to core participants as soon
as possible to confirm the resumption date and any other details, including how
bereaved, survivor and resident core participants will be able to follow the