Religious Affairs Minister Provides Guidelines for Christmas Services during Pandemic
Minister of Religious Affairs on 30 November 2020 issued Circular on Guidelines for Christmas Prayers and Services during COVID-19 Pandemic.
“The Circular is issued as guidelines for Christians who will hold Christmas prayers and services in their respective places of worship while following health protocols, especially in the context of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the public from the risk of its impact. Places of worship must be the best example in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Minister of Religious Affairs Fachrul Razi said in Jakarta, Monday (30/11).
The provisions of the Circular are as follows:
- Christmas prayers and services should be carried out in a simple manner and should emphasize more communion among families;
- Christmas prayers and servicess, apart from being held in congregation in places of worship, are also broadcasted online with the rituals of worship prepared by management of places of worship ;
- The number of people who can participate in congregational Christmas prayers and services should not exceed 50 percent of the capacity of the places of worship ;
- Obligations for places of worship managers:
- Preparing officers to carry out and supervise the implementation of health protocols in the area of places of worship;
- Performing regular cleaning and disinfection in the area of places of worship;
- Limiting entrance/exit of places of worship in order to facilitate the implementation and supervision of health protocols;
- Providing hand washing/soap/hand sanitizer facilities at the entrance and exit of places of worship;
- Providing temperature checking devices at the entrance for all attendees of places of worship. Any person with a temperature more than 37.5 Celsius (2 checking in 5 minutes) is not allowed to enter the places of worship;
- Maintaining physical distancing by placing a special mark on the floor or chair, with a minimum distance of one meter;
- Limiting the number of participants in places of worship who gather at the same time to facilitate physical distancing;
- Shortening the time of worship without reducing the values of Christmas;
- Providing flyers on following health protocols in the strategic area of places of worship;
- Implementing health protocols specifically for participants/guests who come from other cities.
- Obligations of people who will participate in congregational Christmas prayers and services:
- The participants should be in good health;
- Use face masks since leaving the house and in the area of the places of worship;
- Maintain hand hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap or applying hand sanitizer;
- Avoid physical contact such as shaking hands or hugging;
- Maintain a minimum one meter distance between people;
- Avoid staying for a long time in places of worship or gathering in the area of place of worship other than for the purpose of compulsory prayer;
- Children and elderly people who are prone to contracting diseases as well as people with comorbidity who are at high risk of COVID-19 should access online prayer in their respective homes with procedures prepared by management of places of worship;
- Actively support the implementation of health protocols in places of worship in accordance with the provisions.
“The guidelines should be implemented by all Christians in Christmas prayers and services in their respective places of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic. Matters that have not been regulated in the guidelines can be specifically regulated by the leaders of National Churches Congregation and the leaders of Indonesian Catholic Churches,” the Minister said. (PR of Ministry of Religious Affairs/UN) (RI/MMB)