SINGAPORE: Mosques will provide limited prayer spaces for private worship from next Tuesday (Jun 2), as part of progressive reopening plans amid the COVID-19 situation.
As Singapore exits its “circuit breaker” period, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) said that the reopening of mosques in Phase 1 will be conducted with “maximum precautionary measures”.
This is to minimise the possibility of a second wave of community infections and consequently having to close mosques again.
READ: Transition to a 'new normal' after circuit breaker: How will measures be lifted beyond Phase 1?
From Jun 2 to Jun 7, mosques will open for limited operating hours from 1pm to 6pm and provide up to five marked private prayer zones. Each zone can accommodate up to five individuals, or up to five households with a maximum of five individuals per household.
Given the limited prayer spaces, MUIS urged the community to give priority to mobile workers who are unable to perform prayers at a fixed workspace. This includes delivery drivers and riders as well as drivers of personal hire vehicles and taxis.
Those who are able to perform their worship at home are also urged to continue to do so.
“The elderly, who are especially vulnerable to infection, are strongly discouraged from coming to the mosques during this first phase of safe reopening, for their own protection,” said MUIS.
Other vulnerable groups such as the young are also discouraged from performing prayers at the mosques for the time being, in line with the overall guidance to stay at home.
From Jun 8, most mosques will be open for five daily prayers, while some mosques will continue to offer limited operating hours. Further details will be provided by MUIS.
Congregational and Friday prayers will remain suspended during Phase 1, in line with the national guidelines for places of worship. They will be organised in later Phases with the overall situation allows, said MUIS.
In addition to regular disinfection of common spaces, mosques have also implemented physical checking, temperature taking and the national SafeEntry system.
Those visiting mosques are reminded to bring along their identification card or scannable personal identification documents for the SafeEntry system.
READ: Singapore to exit circuit breaker on Jun 1, visiting of parents, places of worship allowed with restrictions
Worshippers will also have to wear face masks, bring their own personal prayer items, avoid inter-mingling with others at the mosque, refrain from shaking hands, and stay home if they are unwell.
Pre-school services at 15 mosque-based kindergartens will also resume from Jun 2, in line with the Early Childhood Development Agency’s guidelines.
As the rate of community transmission eases, mosques will gradually ease protective measures to allow for an increased but safe number of worshippers as well as more activities, including congregational prayers. However, measures may be tightened again if the national situation were to worsen.
“As such, we urge the community to work closely with mosque leaders to continue to curb the spread of the virus by adopting the necessary precautions when visiting our mosques, and to visit mosques during this period only when necessary.
“At the same time, our mosques are committed to continuing to serve the socio-religious needs of the community with mosque services continue to be available to the public during this period, including via online channels.”