Religious Affairs Minister Issues Guidelines for 2021 Christmas Celebration during Pandemic

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 2 Desember 2021
Category: News
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Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas on November 29, 2021 issued Circular Number SE. 31 of 2021 on Prevention and Control of Corona Virus Disease 2019 during the 2021 Christmas Celebration.

“The Circular is issued as a guideline for Christians who will hold Christmas worship and celebrations in places of worship by observing health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the public from the risk (of COVID-19),” the Minister said in Jakarta, Thursday (12/2).

Yaqut said that the implementation of religious activities and Christmas celebrations in places of worship must comply with policies in accordance with the implementation of Level 3 Activity Restrictions (PPKM).

The provisions stipulated by the Circular are as follows:

The 2021 Christmas celebration during the COVID-19 pandemic shall be carried out under the following conditions:

  1. Strict health protocols shall be implemented in churches/places that function as places of worship, in accordance with the Level 3 PPKM.
  2. Churches shall establish Health Protocol Task Force for COVID-19 Handling and work hand in hand with Regional COVID-19 Task Force.
  3. During the worship activities and Christmas celebrations:
    1. The worship activities and the celebration shall be conducted in a simple manner;
    2. The worship activities and the celebration shall be carried out in an open space;
    3. In the event that the worship and the celebration are carried out in a church, they shall be held in a hybrid format; and
    4. The number of people who can participate in worship activities and Christmas celebrations in congregation shall not exceed 50 percent of the room’s capacity or 50 people.
  4. In organizing Christmas services and celebrations, church administrators are obliged to:
    1. assign personnel to provide information on, and supervise, the implementation of health protocols;
    2. provide a temperature checking equipment at the entrance for those entering the church;
    3. carry out body temperature checks using a thermo gun;
    4. provide hand sanitizers and facilities for washing hands using soap with running water at the entrance and exit of the church;
    5. carry out regular cleaning and disinfection of the church area;
    6. use the PeduliLindungi application when entering and exiting the church and only those with the yellow and green categories are allowed to enter;
    7. manage the mobility of congregation members and the entrance and exit of the church in order to facilitate the implementation and supervision of health protocols;
    8. set the distance between the congregation, not less than one meter, by placing a special mark on the floor, yard, or chair;
    9. make arrangements for the number of congregations/people/church visitors to gather at the same time to maintain social distancing restrictions;
    10. provide medical masks;
    11. prohibit congregation members with unhealthy conditions from participating in worship/religious activities;
    12. advise the congregation aged 60 years and over and pregnant/lactating mothers to carry out worship activities at home;
    13. ensure that the donation box or the offering bag are placed in a specific place;
    14. ensure that there are no crowds before and after the worship/religious activities by managing access to enter and exit the church;
    15. ensure that places of worship have good air circulation and sunlight;
    16. avoid ceremonial meal;
    17. ensure that the implementation of the sermon meets the following conditions:
      1. pastors, priests, or clergy members shall wear face masks and face shields properly; and
      2. pastors, priests, or clergy members shall remind the congregation members to always maintain their health and comply with health protocols.
  5. Participants of the 2021 Christmas Celebration must:
    1. use masks properly;
    2. maintain hand hygiene by washing hands using running water or using hand sanitizer;
    3. keep a distance of at least one meter from other congregation members;
    4. be in good health (body temperature shall be below 37 degrees Celsius);
    5. not currently be in self-isolation;
    6. have not just returned from an inter-region trip;
    7. bring their respective worship equipment;
    8. bring plastic bag for storing footwear; and
    9. avoid physical contact or shaking hands.
  6. It is forbidden to carry out parades for the 2021 Christmas celebration which involve a large number of participants.
  7. Middle-ranking officials and high-ranking officials at Ministry of Religious Affairs shall:
    1. conduct dissemination on health protocols;
    2. ban the mudik (annual exodus) for employees during the 2021 Christmas and the 2022 New Year;
    3. monitor the implementation of the 2021 Christmas celebration at the Central Government level;
    4. carry out coordination with heads of Ministries/Agencies, Commander of the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI)/Chief of the Indonesian National Police (Polri), leaders of State-Owned Enterprises, COVID-19 Task Force as well as community and religious leaders at the central level; and
    5. report the results of monitoring to Minister of Religious Affairs through Secretary General of Ministry of Religious Affairs on a regular basis.
  8. Chancellor/Chairperson of Christian and Catholic State Universities, Head of Provincial Office of Ministry of Religious Affairs, Head of Regency/City Office of Ministry of Religious Affairs, Christian and Catholic religious education institutions, and Christian and Catholic religious counselors shall:
    1. conduct dissemination on health protocols;
    2. ban the mudik (annual exodus) for employees during the 2021 Christmas and the 2022 New Year;
    3. monitor the implementation of the 2021 Christmas celebration at local government institutions at the province, regency/city, district, and sub-district/village levels as well as at Regional-Owned Enterprises or Village-Owned Enterprises;
    4. carry out coordination with Governors, Regents/Mayors, District Heads, Sub-District Heads/Village Heads, local leaders of the TNI/Polri, leaders of Regional-Owned Enterprises or Village-Owned Enterprises, COVID-19 Task Force as well as community and religious leaders at the regional level;
    5. report the results of monitoring by Head of the Regency/City Office of Ministry of Religious Affairs to Head of Provincial Office of Ministry of Religious Affairs on a regular basis; and
    6. report the results of monitoring by Head of the Provincial Office of Ministry of Religious Affairs to Minister of Religious Affairs through Secretary General of Ministry of Religious Affairs on a regular basis.
  9. Head of the Provincial Office of Ministry of Religious Affairs and Head of Regency/City Office of Ministry of Religious Affairs shall monitor places of worship in rest areas and shopping/mall areas during the 2021 Christmas and the 2022 New Year. (PR of Ministry of Religious Affairs/UN) (RI/ MUR)
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