Religious Affairs Minister Provides Guideline for Ascension Day Service during Pandemic
Minister of Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas issued circular on guidelines for prayers and services for Ascension Day of Jesus Christ during COVID-19 pandemic.
“Efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 must be made by all religious groups. For that reason, I have issued a circular on guidelines for prayers for Ascension Day of Jesus Christ in order to cut COVID-19 transmission chain and to provide security to all Christians in performing prayers and services during the Ascension Day,” he said on Friday (7/5).
The Minister appealed officials at the Ministry to disseminate the circular to the public, particularly to churches’ managers and facilitators, as well as the Christians.
“I hope guidelines and health protocols stipulated by the Government can be followed by all, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to provide security to all Christians,” he said.
The provisions of the Circular which was signed on 6 May 2021 are as follows:
- Obligations for places of worship managers:
- Ensuring that Ascension Day prayers and services being held in places of worship (church) adhere to strict health protocols. The number of people participate in the services should not exceed 50 percent of the capacity of the places of worship;
- Preparing a schedule of time of services (in shift) by taking into account capacity of the places of worship;
- Performing regular cleaning and disinfection in the area of places of worship;
- Providing hand washing/soap/hand sanitizer facilities at the entrance and exit of places of worship;
- Shortening the time of worship without reducing the values of worship;
- Deploying internal officers to supervise the implementation of health protocols in the area of places of worship;
- Limiting entrance/exit of places of worship in order to facilitate the implementation and supervision of the health protocols;
- Checking body temperature of people before entering the places of worship;
- Maintaining physical distancing by placing a special mark on the chairs at the places of worship;
- Facilitating Ascension Day prayers and services through virtual manner.
- Obligations for people who will participate in Ascension Day prayers and services at churches :
- Ensuring that they are in good health;
- Wearing face masks or face shields outside the houses and in the area of places of worship (church);
- Maintaining hand hygiene by frequently washing hand with soap or applying hand sanitizer;
- Avoiding physical contact such as shaking hands, hugging, or cheek kissing;
- Maintaining safe distance among participants;
- Avoiding staying too long in places of worship or gathering in the area of places of worship other than for the purpose of compulsory prayer; and
- Children and elderly who are prone or at high risk of getting COVID-19 should perform the prayer at home through online service.
(MINISTRY OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS PR/UN) (RAS/LW)