After months of praying at home, the country’s residents are once more able to join their fellow worshippers in mosques, churches and temples as of July 1. Capacity will be limited to 30 percent, with three meters of space between each person.
Ablutions before praying should be performed at home, while face masks must be worn inside the mosque and worshippers should bring their own copy of the Quran and their own prayer mat, which they must take home again with them.
They should also download the Al Hosn tracing app.
Prayer rooms in malls, labor camps, commercial and industrial centers, parks and on motorways will remain closed for the time being. Friday prayers in mosques also remain suspended, so mosques will close on Fridays.
Children under 12, the elderly and anyone with a chronic or respiratory disease are not allowed in any place of worship. If Covid-19 is detected in anyone attending, that place of worship will be closed immediately.
The changes were announced on Monday by Dr Saif Juma Al Dhaheri, spokesman for the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority.
“The public is again instructed to comply with precautionary and preventative measures while coming for prayers, including adhering to a minimum three-meter safety distance between worshippers and avoiding congregations and handshaking in all forms,” said Dr Al Dhaheri.
Government spokeswoman Dr Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi again warned people not to fall into a false sense of security.
As the UAE gradually returns to normal, pre-pandemic life, all the good work done so far in containing the virus could be undone if people relaxed too much and became reckless about adhering to safety measures, she said.
“Despite the successes…. the current situation is beset with challenges, as the coronavirus is evidently capable of spreading,” she said.
Anna Pukas has reported from all over the world as a foreign correspondent for British media. She is now an editor based in Abu Dhabi.