Gov’t Issues Circular on Health Protocols for Religious Activities
In a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas issued Circular Number 20 of 2021 on Health Protocols and Religious Activity Restrictions in Places of Worship during the level 3 and level 4 of Public Activity Restrictions (PPKM) in Java and Bali. This circular also regulates the extension period of micro scale PPKM.
“This circular is issued as an effort to prevent and break the chain of COVID-19 transmission which the case number is currently increasing with new variants that are more dangerous and contagious. This circular also aims to build security to public in performing religious activities,” said Yaqut on Saturday (24/7).
Yaqut further said that this circular is expected to be a guideline for public in performing religious activities in places of worship during the level 3 and level 4 of PPKM in Java and Bali and micro scale PPKM.
The provisions regulated in the circular are as follows:
- Places of worship in regencies/cities in Java and Bali with criteria level 3 and level 4 are contemporary not allowed to hold mass religious activities during the enforcement of the PPKM and must optimize online worship or worship at home.
- Places of worship in regencies/cities in the Orange Zone and Red Zone of COVID-19 are not allowed to hold mass religious activities during the enforcement of the PPKM and must optimize online worship or worship at home.
- Places of worship in regencies/cities in the Green Zone and Yellow Zone of COVID-19 are allowed to hold mass religious activities during the enforcement of the PPKM by observing strict 5M health protocols (wear a mask, wash hands, keep a safe distance, avoid crowds, and reduce mobility).
The additional provisions about strict health protocols are:
A. Committees in places of worship:
- must provide officers to inform and supervise the enforcement of 5M health protocols;
- must conduct a body temperature checking with thermometer gun for each congregation;
- must provide hand sanitizers and places for washing hands using soap with clear and running water;
- must provide backup medical masks;
- must prohibit all congregations with unhealthy condition to participate in performing religious activities in the area;
- must set the distance between congregations when performing the worship;
- must not allow to distribute charity boxes to all congregations;
- must ensure that there are no crowds before and after the worship by arranging access in and out for congregations in the area;
- must regularly disinfect the room for worship;
- must ensure good air ventilation and sunlight entering the place of worship and if using air conditioner (AC), it must be cleaned periodically;
- must ensure that the religious activities are only followed by at most 30 percent of all congregations;
- must ensure that all congregations perform the worship for a maximum of one hour;
- must ensure the sermon must meet the following provisions;
- the preachers must wear proper facial masks and face shield;
- the preachers must preach their sermon in 15 minutes
- the preachers must always ask all congregations to observe health protocols
- must wear proper facial masks;
- must wash hands with clear and running water or hand sanitizer;
- must maintain 1-meter physical distance;
- must be health with body temperature below 37 degrees Celsius;
- are not self-isolation patient at home;
- must bring their own prayer equipment;
- must avoid physical contact;
- are not just returned from a long trip;
- people over 60 years old as well as pregnant and nursing women are suggested to worship at home.
(PR of Ministry of Religious Affairs/UN) (AP/LW)