Strict safety measures will be put in place…

In the beginning of June, houses of worship in UAE started to make preparations to welcome worshippers back.

No official date was announced at the time, but now, the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) has announced that mosques and other places of worship will gradually reopen from July 1.

The announcement was made on the authority’s official Twitter channel late night on June 29.

The series of tweets were by Dr Saif Al Dhaheri, an official spokesperson of the NCEMA, who stated that instructions and controls related to the gradual reopening of the houses of worship will be circulated and published by the relevant authorities.

The announcement stated that, based on ongoing assessments, should any cases be detected, the house of worship will be immediately closed and necessary measures will be taken.

According to Emirates News Agency WAM, exceptions to the reopening include mosques situated on external roads, or in industrial areas, labour cities, shopping malls and parks. It also added that Friday prayers at mosques will remain suspended until further notice.

All houses of worship will operate initially at 30 per cent capacity.

Rules to be followed:

A video released by the Dubai Media Office on Twitter outlines the rules that must be followed at mosques.

Dr Saif Al Dhaheri requested that individuals who have had contact with, or live in close proximity to, confirmed Covid-19 cases not attend the prayers performed at mosques.

Ablution – the act of washing parts of the body with the intent of purification usually done before entering a mosque – must now be performed at home.

Those who do go to the mosque, should bring their own prayer mat and remember to take it with them when they leave. They must read the Qurans on their own electronic devices or bring their own Quran from home. The Qurans at mosques should not be used.

Masks and gloves will need to be worn at all times and worshippers will need to maintain a three-metre distance from others – stickers placed on the ground will help guide worshippers. A row will be left vacant between each prayer line for further safety.

Food and any other items must not be distributed.

Al Dhaheri further added that seniors over the age of 60, children under the age of 12 and those with chronic illnesses should refrain from going outdoors to pray.

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Other houses of worship

According to an announcement made by parish priest Father Lennie Connully of St Mary’s Catholic Church on the website, the Government of Dubai has set certain terms and conditions to be followed when the church will open. Preparations are underway and only once the government representatives are satisfied will the church reopen.

The parish priest also stated that the church won’t be able to operate at 100 per cent attendance and a pre-registration system was likely to be introduced and that there would be a limited number of services.

Temperatures will be checked and the church will also add in sanitisation tunnels. This will also be followed by the Gurunanak Darbar Sikh Temple and the Hindu Temple in Bur Dubai, who stated that they will also operate at limited capacity.

Worshippers will need to reach out to their houses of worship to get details on the rules, regulations and reopening dates.

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