Coronavirus: 4 mosques gear up to receive more worshippers

They will have added entry, exit points and staggered timings as part of pilot test group

Congregants at Masjid Al-Istighfar in Pasir Ris on June 26. It is among the four mosques that will be allowed to hold gatherings of up to 100 people - double the number they are now allowed to host at any one time. They will each implement dual zones
Congregants at Masjid Al-Istighfar in Pasir Ris on June 26. It is among the four mosques that will be allowed to hold gatherings of up to 100 people - double the number they are now allowed to host at any one time. They will each implement dual zones for congregants to pray. Muis said this would open up 600 more places for the three prayer sessions on Friday. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Four mosques in Singapore will open additional entry and exit points or stagger the timings for arrivals and departures of congregants, in a move to prepare for more worshippers on Friday and keep them safe from Covid-19.

These extra steps at Masjid Assyafaah, Masjid Mujahidin, Masjid Al-Istighfar and Masjid Al-Iman are to prevent the mixing of congregants, thereby reducing the risk of infection during prayer sessions, an Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday.

The Government had announced on Monday that it would ease some Covid-19 restrictions.

As a pilot test, 12 religious places will be allowed to hold gatherings of up to 100 people - double the number they are now allowed to host at any one time.

The four mosques in this pilot will each implement dual zones for congregants to pray.

Muis said this would open up 600 more places for the three prayer sessions on Friday.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said that while he is happy about the additional spaces, there is still a need to be careful as the risk of com-munity infection remains high, pointing to new waves of infections globally.

"I urge the community to remain resilient and patient, to follow the safe management measures that are in place and cooperate with the mosque officers and volunteers," said Mr Masagos, who is also the Minister for Social and Family Development.

In a separate Facebook post yesterday, Muis said it has been receiving queries on why congregants could not make repeat bookings for Friday prayers.

 
 
 

It explained that when congregants were first allowed to book prayer slots online for sessions from June 26, it had stated they could book only one slot for the following three weeks.

More spaces were provided subsequently, but congregants were informed that only those who had yet to obtain a slot could register for one.

Such priority will continue to be given to those who have not had a chance to do their Friday prayers in a mosque since June 26 as "this is still a large group", said Muis.

"We will inform very clearly in our announcements when there are sufficient slots to allow for repeat registration," it added.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2020, with the headline '4 mosques gear up to receive more worshippers'. Print Edition | Subscribe