Gov’t Issues Regulation on Guidelines for Religious Activities During COVID-19 Outbreak
Date 30 Mei 2020
Minister of Religious Affairs Fachrul Razi on Friday (29/5) issued Circular Number 15 of 2020 on guidelines for performing religious activities in places of worship to keep people productive and safe during the ongoing pandemic.
According to the Minister, the circular aims to respond to the people’s desire to pray at their respective houses of worship but still comply with prevailing health procedures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
“Places of worship must set the best example on curbing the spread of COVID-19,” the Minister said, Jakarta, Saturday (30/5).
According to Fachrul, the circular also provides a guideline for performing religious activities at places of worship during the pandemic.
The circular, Fachrul continued, also regulates the implementation of congregational prayers at places of worship based on the real situation of respective places of worship and zones status for COVID-19 infections.
“If there are COVID-19 transmission cases in areas categorized as yellow zones, places of worship will not be allowed to be re-opened,” Fachrul said.
Fachrul added that places of worship will be allowed to reopen if the COVID-19 basic reproduction number, R0 or R-naught, as well as its effective reproduction number, Rt, in their respective areas are below a certain threshold, adding that places of worship should also obtain a letter confirming that the area is safe from COVID-19 from their local COVID-19 task force.
“The letter will be revoked if new COVID-19 cases are found in the area surrounding the place of worship or if the place of worship is found to have violated the guidelines,” Fachrul added.
“The revocation sanction is carried out so that the management of the place of worship will be proactive and responsible in upholding the discipline of following the COVID-19 protocol,” Fachrul said.
On that occasion, Fachrul also said that large places of worship that regularly receive visitors from other regions may request for a special permission from their respective regional heads.
The circular also covers the 11 obligations of the caretakers of places of worship. They are as follows:
- Preparing special personnel in charge of conducting and supervising rigorous health protocols in the area of places of worship ;
- Sanitizing the area of places of worship with disinfection regularly;
- Limiting the number of the entrances and exits of all places of worship to ease the implementation and supervision of health protocols;
- Providing installation of sanitation facilities at the entrances and exits;
- Providing temperature check devices at the entrance for all congregation of places of worship;
- Applying safe distance restrictions by giving special marks on the floor/chair with the minimum safe distance of 1 meter;
- Limiting the number of visitors at any given time to ensure physical distancing measures are adhered to;
- Shortening the time of worship without reducing the provisions of worship perfection;
- Installing an appeal on the implementation of health protocol in worship house areas, which are easily visible for visitors;
- Submitting a letter of self-readiness to implement health protocols that have been determined; and
- Applying special health protocols for visitors who come from outside the worship house.
In addition, the circular also regulates the obligations of the people who will perform prayers at places of worship. There are nine points, among others:
- The visitors should be in good health condition;
- The visitors understand that a place of worship has a ‘safe from COFID-19’ letter from the authority;
- The visitors should wear face masks since they leave the house until they arrive in the area of the place of worship;
- The visitors should maintain personal hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap or hand sanitizer;
- The visitors should avoid any physical contact, such as shaking hands or hugging;
- The visitors should maintain a minimum safe distance of 1 meter between visitors;
- The visitors should not gather in places of worship for a long time, other than for compulsory worship purposes;
- Children and elderly individuals who are vulnerable to diseases should be forbidden from praying at places of worship;
- The visitors should participate in the implementation of health protocol at places of worship which is in accordance with the provisions.
In the case of special public events held at places of worship, including weddings, worship house caretaker is required to carry out the following rules:
- Ensuring that all visitors are healthy and test negative from COVID-19;
- Limiting the number of visitors to no more than 30 people, or 20 percent of the building’s capacity; and
- The event should be held in the most efficient time possible.
“Any further regulations in this guideline will be specifically regulated by Directorate General of Community Guidance at Ministry of Religious Affairs. The guideline will be evaluated in accordance with the development of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fachrul said. (Public Relations of Religious Affairs Ministry / EN)
Translated by: Syarifah Aisyah
Reviewed by: M. Ersan Pamungkas