On the 11th of May 2020, the UK government has announced its new social distancing measures and has taken the first step in the process of easing the quarantine. Highlights of this new advice are that “only those who cannot work from home should go to work” such as construction and manufacturing employees and social distancing measures must be followed as usual. It is also indicated that the government is still in the process of working on guidance for employers to make workplaces “COVID-secure”.
Essentially, the UK government has not changed its guidance for places of worship in the new advice, and therefore, MINAB strongly advises that mosques should remain closed during the easing lockdown process. It is still not known when places of worship can be reopened, but this all depends on whether safe social distancing and best hygiene practices can be implemented.
Currently, places of worship including our mosques are potentially at high risk of spreading coronavirus due to people coming together in mosques. Therefore, as stated in previous statements, MINAB reiterates that Mosques and Islamic centres must remain closed. It has been extremely painful and emotionally challenging for the Muslim community to close their mosques to the public and for congregation members to perform their prayers in private during the holy month of Ramadan.
On a positive note, many of our mosques have served as a model by turning the mosque buildings into morgues and food banks to serve the public and contribute to the nation’s struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic. With the forthcoming Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, MINAB urges that the Muslim community should celebrate Eid at home with family by following the social distancing measures.