Limited spaces to perform private worship with no congregational activities; Elderly and young urged to avoid mosques for the time being
27 May 2020
1. In line with the precautionary measures for the safe reopening of religious places of worship, mosques in Singapore will reopen in progressive phases from 2 Jun 2020. The cautious approach taken is in view of possible hidden cases in the community, and to support the national effort to curb the community spread of COVID-19. Mosques will offer limited spaces for individual prayer to cater to the needs of mobile essential workers. Congregational and Friday prayers will remain suspended until further notice. The full range of physical mosque services which will resume on 2 June is appended at Annex A.
Keeping Mosques Safe
2. The community has adapted well since the closure of the mosques on 13 Mar 2020. Mosque services such as Islamic learning were moved online, while other services traditionally conducted at mosques such as congregational prayer and communal activities were suspended and carried out at home instead. Zakat beneficiaries continued to receive financial and developmental assistance, and the mosques continued to be the channel for charitable works and doing good during the month of Ramadan with its key support for the SGUnited Buka Puasa initiative.
3. As Singapore moves into the first phase of easing of circuit breaker restrictions, Safe Reopening, we must continue to keep mosques safe to protect our community, and do our part in the national fight against the virus. In order to do this, Muis will introduce maximum precautionary measures to minimise the possibility of a second wave of community infections, and consequently having to close mosques again.
4. Mosques will open gradually in Phase 1 as follows, to ensure that proper precautionary measures are in place to safeguard the health and wellbeing of worshippers:
a. 2 June to 7 June – mosques will open for limited operating hours from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. (the full list is at Annex B)
b. 8 June onwards – Most mosques will allow individual worship for 5 daily prayers; while some mosques will continue to offer limited operating hours. Muis will provide more details of this subsequently.
5. During Phase 1, mosques will not organise congregational prayers, including Friday prayers, in line with the national guidelines for places of worship. These will instead be organised in later Phases when the overall situation allows.
6. In addition to regular disinfection of common spaces, mosques have also put in place a physical checking, temperature taking and Safe Entry system. Mosques will also implement safe distancing measures in terms of distinct zones or marked spaces for worshippers from different households. Mosques will limit the number of persons able to perform worship, in line with national guidelines.
7. The community will also need to do their part in the safe reopening of mosques. Individuals visiting the mosques must abide by these practices and also bring along their NRIC or scannable personal identification documents for the Safe Entry system. They must adhere to the necessary precautionary measures, including donning masks, bringing their own personal prayer items such as prayer mats, avoiding inter-mingling with others at the mosque (including no handshakes) as well as avoiding coming to the mosque if they are unwell.
Restrictions on Numbers of Worshippers
8. In Phase 1 of the safe reopening of mosques, limited prayer spaces will be provided for the community to perform private worship. In line with the national guidelines, up to five prayer zones will be demarcated, with each zone able to accommodate up to five individuals from the same household.
9. Given the limited prayer spaces, the community is urged to give priority to individuals performing essential services and who, due to the nature of their work, are unable to perform prayer at a fixed workspace. This will include mobile delivery drivers and riders as well as drivers of personal hire vehicles and taxis.
10. We also urge other members of the community who can perform their worship at home 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. 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.
Gradual Easing of Protective Measures
11. As the rate of community transmission eases, and Singapore moves into Safe Transition and eventually Safe Nation, mosques will also gradually ease protective measures to allow for an increased but safe number of mosque users as well as a more variety of activities, including congregational prayers. However, measures may be tightened again if the national situation were to worsen.
12. 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.
MAJLIS UGAMA ISLAM SINGAPURA