Combating coronavirus: Safety measures revealed for non-Muslim places of worship in UAE

The reopening procedures involve developing appropriate solutions for the cultures and customs of each religion

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. he iconic Emirates Towers dominate the skyline beside the wide boulevard of Sheikh Zayed Road on December 3, 2007 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Image used for illustrative purpose. he iconic Emirates Towers dominate the skyline beside the wide boulevard of Sheikh Zayed Road on December 3, 2007 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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Non-Muslim places of worship, licensed with the Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai, will reopen after the compilation of all procedures and precautionary measures, that authority announced on Thursday.

"The reopening procedures involve developing appropriate solutions for the cultures and customs of each religion, and free Covid-19 test for workers in places of worship in cooperation with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA)," said Dr Omar Al Muthanna, CEO, licensing and monitoring sector.

Directed by the CDA, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) in Dubai and the DHA are working to ensure a safe return to the practice of religious rituals and the protection and safety of the community members.

The authority has prepared a list of general guidelines and precautionary measures that worship houses should follow in preparation for the reopening. These include scheduling prayers on specific timing, physical distancing procedures, and comprehensive sterilisation to be done by centres accredited by the Dubai Municipality.

Clergy to be tested for Covid-19

The CDA and the NCEMA will implement a comprehensive campaign, including field visits to places of worship as well as testing the clergy, to ensure their safety from the Covid-19.

"The CDA has worked diligently over the past weeks with the licensed houses of worship to find solutions that are appropriate to the cultures and customs of each religion so that the re-opening of houses of worship properly maintain the health and safety of visitors and worshipers," said Dr Muthanna.

"All places of worship must adhere to the general regulations for reopening, including the fact that the capacity of the house of worship does not exceed 30 per cent, and the commitment of worshipers to bring prayer books and their other prayer tools. In addition, worshippers should not to shake hands and only waving and peace remotely. We have prepared lists of the clerics registered with the CDA and we have cooperated with the DHA to allocate a special day in one of the medical centres to conduct a free examination for them, to confirm their safety from the virus," he explained.

"Downloading AlHosn app is a must for all visitors to the places of worship to follow any changes or health concerns," he added.

11 places of worship re-opened

Eleven places of worship have resumed receiving worshipers, while three places of worship apologised for not being available at the present stage.

"On Wednesday, we have seen the resumption of the places of worship for the prayers of all religions in Dubai. We are pleased that the CDA is part of an integrated system working to restore the life cycle to normal and preserve the health, safety and happiness of community members. It will continue to work with non-Muslim places of worship to ensure compliance with procedures is followed at every stage of gradual return", said Dr Muthanna.

Churches, gurudwara to open soon

Several churches were awaiting their final confirmation from the CDA to re-open after mosques re-opened on July 1.

"The GuruNanak Darbar in Jebel Ali will officially welcome worshippers on Saturday - from 9am to 9.30am and from 6pm to 6.30pm Saturday to Thursday," said Surendar Singh Kandhari, chairman of the Gurudwara.

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