It's not just restaurants and the mall that's back in action after closing down due to Coronavirus measures. Here’s what you need to know as places of worship reopen.
The Egyptian Prime Minister announced that places of worship - shut down since March due to the Coronavirus pandemic - are to reopen under strict new conditions. Much like everything else opening up, this process will come with a set of rules. Under the first phase of the reopening, mosques – with the exception of smaller mosques known as ‘Zawiya’ - will reopen starting Saturday June 27th, but Friday prayers will continue to be prohibited until further notice. Similarly, churches will reopen for daily prayers and mass prayers, except on Sunday when mass remains banned.
Mosques will be open for 10 minutes prior to each of the five daily prayers, and shut down again 10 minutes afterwards. In order to maintain safety and hygiene regulations, all worshippers are required to bring their own prayer rug and are only allowed into the mosque if they’re wearing a mask. They must also follow social distancing protocol once inside the mosque. Bathrooms – where prayer cleaning rituals are usually carried out – will stay closed. Prayer areas for women and Islamic shrines will continue to be closed while funerals and wedding ceremonies in mosques are still prohibited. Failure to abide by any of the above rules will result in the mosque being shut down again.
Churches will be allowed to reopen at 25% capacity with at least 1.5 metres of space between each person. On Sundays, only priests will be in attendance at the prayers. Halls for funerals, weddings and baptisms will also reopen at 25% capacity, and with a minimum 1.5 metres between each person. All other activities – such as church meetings – will continue their suspension until further notice.