Following the president’s announcement on the easing of restrictions last Sunday, Muslims across the country are preparing for what could possibly be their first congregational prayer after a ban on social gatherings was imposed on March 15, to curb the spread the of COVID-19 in the country.
Ahead of Friday, June 5, 2020, where the ease on the ban on religious gathering comes into effect, mosques across the country are putting in place measures to ensure hygienic measures outlined by government are enforced. Visiting some mosques in Nima today, their leaderships informed GhanaWeb that with the plans in place to congregate tomorrow, they were going to ensure all safety and hygienic protocols are adhered to including the policy of each congregant coming with their own mat for prayers.
Per the directives outlined by the government, mosques are to ensure that each worshipper uses their personal mat (Sajaada), or disinfect mats provided by the mosque before and after use. Further to the directives by government, the Office of the Chief Imam in a release also recommended that each worshiper comes to a mosque along with their own mat (Sajaada) for prayers.
At the Islamic Research Institute Mosque where a fumigation exercise had already been carried out earlier in the morning, a member of the COVID-19 Taskforce at the mosque, Musah Ahmed, told GhanaWeb that all is set for congregational prayers tomorrow and indicated that the mosque’s task force is going to ensure that social distancing and other hygienic protocols are enforced.
“By the grace of God tomorrow we are going to pray and we are going to give the distance that the authorities asked us. We will stand at the gate and put the Veronica Bucket outside and before you come in you will wash your hands outside. We have already announced that they should do their ablution in the house or unless you come with your butar or pure water with a Sajaada, which, is a separate mat for you alone.”
At the Masjid Abubakar Saddique where a fumigation exercise was underway, the Imam of the mosque, Imam Zakaria Omaru Ginko said while the leadership of the mosque continues to prepare for the reopening, the leadership is scheduled to meet with the community to outline measures that will be implemented during the congregation tomorrow. The Imam, however, said the directive to ensure that details of all congregants and their contacts are recorded to for contact tracing in case of a recorded case will be hard to follow since a lot of the community members, especially the elderly who may not have mobile phones.
“We will ensure adherence to the permitted number (not more than 100 congregants), provide Veronica Buckets for handwashing and also register our congregants. But the register will be a problem because we are supposed to write their names and their phone numbers. Most of the aged don’t,” the Imam said.
President Akufo-Addo in his address to the nation on Sunday announced the first stage of easing of restrictions starting on Friday, June 5, 2020. The President said “an abridged format for religious services can commence. Twenty-five percent (25%) attendance, with a maximum number of one hundred (100) congregants, can worship at a time in church or at the mosque, with a mandatory one-metre rule of social distancing between congregants. In addition to the mandatory wearing of masks for all persons at all times in churches and mosques, a register of names and contact details of all worshippers and handwashing facilities and sanitisers must be provided, with a maximum duration of one (1) hour for each service.”