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Posted On: 20 June 2020 04:27 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 09:11 am

MoPH issues precautionary guidelines for praying in mosques

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Included in Phase 1 of the four-phased gradual lifting of restrictions is the partial opening of mosques which started on June 15 with around 500 mosques reopened with the exception of Friday prayers. Aside from the core precautionary measures to be applied throughout all phases, the Ministry of Public Health also released research-based guidance on best practices to facilitate a gradual and safe restoration to mosques and effective measures to protect the health of worshipers and mosque workers by reducing the risk of Covid-19 transmission during the performance of the prayer in the mosque.

Read below the precautionary measures for praying in mosques:

Pre-opening procedures

  • Disinfect the mosques listed to open on phase one based on their location and readiness to implement the precautionary measures.
  • Establishment of an admin group to manage and oversee the compliance with the precautionary measures.
  • All mosques employees must be to assure their health status prior to the opening of mosques.

Opening and closing

  • ​Opening the mosque 5 minutes before the call for prayer and closing it 5 minutes after the prayer.
  • The mosques' doors will close once the prayer starts or when the mosques agreed capacity is reached.

Infection prevention and control

  • Ensure hand sanitizing before entering the mosque.
  • The toilets and ablution places are closed.​
  • The temperature of all workers should be checked (entry prohibited for those over 38 degrees).
  • Ehteraz App to be downloaded by all employees and customers, and check that the status is green to allow entry.
  • Masks to be worn by all, the worshipers and mosques’ employees and workers.
  • Worshipers and the mosques’ employees and workers are encouraged to use a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of it directly into a waste bin. Otherwise, the elbow can be used to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Avoid physical contact, e.g., handshakes, etc.
  • Provide sanitizers at the entrance and multiple locations within the mosque.
  • Advise worshipers, employees, and workers to avoid touching their nose, eyes, and mouth.
  • Surfaces, carpets, corridors, and areas where shoes are kept should be cleaned and disinfected regularly and after each prayer.
  • A housekeeping record log must be maintained.
  • Worshipers are encouraged to bring their own Qur’an or use their phone application to read it.
  • At least half of the windows and doors should be kept open during prayer time to ensure proper ventilation inside the mosque. They can be closed after the prayer ends, and worshipers leave the mosque.
  • Packs of tissue papers should be available and accessed when needed.
  • Waste bins should be distributed throughout the mosque.
  • Worshipers will not be allowed to enter the mosque without wearing a mask and bringing their prayer mat.

Physical distancing

  • ​Maintaining a minimum safe distance of 1.5 meters between worshipers should be encouraged by the Imam.
  • Floor markings should be used on the mosque’s carpets to guide the worshipers’ position and maintain physical distancing.
  • Provide enough space on the sides of the mosque to allow for worshipers’ exit from the first rows without the need to go through the others.​

Regulating entry and exit

  • ​​Open an entrance 5 minutes before the call for prayer to regulate the entry of worshipers and ensure the proper implementation of precautionary measures.
  • Doors should be opened after the end of each prayer to facilitate the exit of worshipers. They will be closed 5 minutes after each prayer.
  • Worshippers are urged to avoid crowding during entering and exiting the mosques.​

Mosque employees

  • ​​​A response procedure in alignment with MOPH guidance should be in placed to deal with suspected cases.
  • An isolation room should be assigned at the mosque, and the residency of workers to separate suspected cases until the medical team from MOPH is alerted.
  • All employees are encouraged not to go to work if they developed respiratory symptoms or fever and should report sick to their employer.​

Vulnerable groups

  • Vulnerable groups are advised to pray at home.
  • Children aged 12 and below are not allowed to enter the mosques.

Education and awareness

  • ​​​Regular awareness of precautionary measures.
  • Urge those with high fever, coughing, and those with respiratory infections not to go to the mosque.
  • Posters are distributed in the mosque to remind worshipers, and mosques’ employees of the precautionary measures and the process of reporting discrepancies or violations.
  • Each mosque should have a sticker or poster at its entrance indicating the maximum occupancy.

Source: Ministry of Public Health Qatar