SINGAPORE – Ten local mosques will allow 150 worshippers at each Friday prayer session in a pilot programme starting on Nov 13.
The aim is to lift the limit to 250 people at each session by the end of the year, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said on Sunday (Nov 1).
The mosques are located across the island – Al-Islah, Al-Istighfar and Darul Ghufran in the east, An-Nur, Assyafaah and Yusof Ishak in the north, Angullia and Sultan in the south and Al-Khair and Maarof in the west.
The new limit will allow each mosque to serve 750 worshippers across three sessions every Friday – at 12.45pm, 1.45pm and 2.45pm.
The 150 worshippers at each mosque will be split into three zones of up to 50 people, which complies with existing Culture, Community and Youth Ministry guidelines.
Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong said on Sept 26 that a pilot of worship sessions of up to 250 participants will be conducted from Oct 3 for religious organisations that have safely conducted services for 100 people.
All religious organisations have also been allowed to conduct services of up to 100 people since Oct 3, with congregants split into zones of up to 50 each.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Social and Family Development Minister and Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, said the decision to start the pilot was influenced by the low community coronavirus case count.
Congregants entering the 10 mosques under the pilot must check in using the TraceTogether app or token, which has been available at 40 of Singapore’s 71 mosques since Oct 23.
“This will be the practice that we want to get our community used to, because when everyone has got a token in the nation, this will become compulsory when we enter certain places,” said Mr Masagos, who was speaking on the sidelines of an event to commemorate the birth month of the Prophet Muhammad on Sunday.
Muis added that using TraceTogether means quicker contact tracing while also allowing for the localisation of possible infections so mosques will only have to clean and disinfect areas frequented by positive cases.
“This allows for faster and safer reopening of mosque premises and reduces the time to reopen,” it said.
Mr Masagos noted that while Covid-19 restrictions are being eased at places of worship, the pandemic is not over: “We need to put all these safe measures (in place) to ensure that the infections do not go out of hand, as we have seen in many places.
“Because when we let down our guard… that is when one infection may be a super-spreader incident that can cause an explosion of infections in the community.”
Registration for Friday prayers on Nov 13 and 20 at all mosques can be done from 10am on Nov 10 at this website.
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