To prepare for return of Friday prayers, Egypt initiates widespread mosque sterilizations

Minister of Religious Endowments Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, ordered every directorate of the ministry nationwide to carry out a widescale campaign for cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization in all mosques across the country from Monday to Thursday, to prepare for the return of Friday prayers.

He instructed that spacing signs continue to be placed around the entire area of the mosques, especially if previously established signs do not fully cover the mosque’s area.

The minister further stressed on the attendance of all workers in mosques, including imams, workers, and muezzins.

Gomaa also decided to prevent any non-obligatory leave for all mosque workers, as well as all leaders and inspectors, from Sunday to Friday, in order to better prepare for the upcoming Friday prayers.

Since March 21, the Religious Endowments Ministry had halted Friday and congregational prayers, and closed all mosques and their attachments, as part of the government’s precautionary measures to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

Mosques reopened gradually on June 27 for the five daily prayers, though Friday’s remained suspended.

Gomaa announced that Friday prayers would return within various major and university mosques starting Friday, August 28.

He stressed that worshipers and mosque supervisors must abide by 13 measures for these Friday prayers.

These include social distancing, wearing a mask, using a personal prayer rug, opening the mosque ten minutes before prayer and closing it after immediately, abiding by the number of worshippers allowed depending on the size of the mosque, sermons lasting within ten minutes, toilets and halls for holding social events remaining closed alongside shrines, and funeral prayers will remain banned inside mosques.

The minister further stipulated that workers in each mosque will be responsible for implementing coronavirus precautionary measures.

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