The worshiping places play an important role in implementing spiritual leadership for many people and bringing communities and ages together. Still, their communal nature also offers them areas that are particularly vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory disorder that can be transmitted from person to person. Patients with COVID-19 will experience mild to severe respiratory difficulties, including fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat, congestion, muscle or body aches, headache, the new loss of taste or smell, or runny nose, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It is not the same as other kinds of coronaviruses that commonly wander among people and cause mild illnesses, like the common cold. The risk for serious disease from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at the highest risk
A place of worship refers to an area used for regular religious services, communal worship, or related meetings by religious organizations. It involves the use of surrounding grounds, for example, appending car parking, courtyards, or gardens for which the venue administrators are also responsible.
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The transmission of COVID-19 occurs mainly by the respiratory droplets produced by coughing and sneezing and in contact with contaminated surfaces. The worshiping places play an important role in implementing spiritual leadership for many people and bringing communities and ages together. Still, their communal nature also offers them areas that are particularly vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The government should work with faith leaders to analyze and improve this guidance, as required, in line with the changing circumstances and facilitate the safe availability of worship places for as broad a range of activities as feasible when it is safe to do so.
The religious leaders should utilize the guidance below and seek to incorporate additional changes that could be made to their religious ceremonies that usually include close contact and shared things between individuals. Places of worship and faith communities should accommodate religious services, particularly where ceremonies would otherwise have taken place over several hours or days, to secure the safety of those present and reduce infection spread. It is advised that the rituals and services should be settled in the shortest reasonable time. Once completed, members should be motivated to reduce the risk of contact and spread infection promptly. If appropriate, you should reconfigure places to enable worshippers to be seated preferably than standing, which lessens the risk of contact. It is recommended that, where feasible, worship places continue to stream worship or other events to prevent large gatherings and continue to reach those who are self-isolating or particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
This includes restricting the number of people engaging as far as possible.
Ensure 6 feet distance between people or family units of the same families during services.
Clean between each meeting and regularly sanitize high-contact surfaces.
Place hand sanitizers in high-contact locations (for example, bathroom, entry, and exit) and ask staff, members, and visitors to disinfect their hands before entering the worship place.
Any person visiting or employed in a religious service must already keep six feet of social distance from another person not in the corresponding household is exempt from the face-covering requirement.
If worship is being done as a venue for practicing or performing (singing, chanting, or a musical instrument), you should follow the performing art's guidance.
Assure that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms (or who has been in contact with others who have symptoms or who has been said to self-isolate) does not attend a worship place or participate in singing activities even if they do not have any symptoms.
Music plays a significant part in worship, and recordings are possible. We suggest using them as an alternative to live singing or performing.
Avoid playing musical instruments at a volume that makes normal communication challenging or encouraging shouting when people try to converse before or after worship.
Spoken statements during worship should also not be in a raised voice.
Any instrument played while worshipping should be entirely cleaned before and after use.
Any singer (for example, a church choir) should be positioned in a way that prevents face-to-face performance as far as possible.
The duration of any singing should be limited as far as possible.
Good ventilation plays a vital role in decreasing transmission. The ventilation can be improved by getting plenty of fresh air by opening windows.
Always ensure a gap of at least 2 meters between any performers and the first line of worshippers.
If worship takes place inside, the gathering should not participate in any venture that can create aerosols, including singing, chanting, and shouting.
The maximum number of people present should consider the space area and the requirement to maintain 2-meter social distancing at all times.
Ask all above 65 years or who have an underlying at-risk health condition to stay home and watch services online.
Consider putting signage telling members, staff, and guests not to enter if they are symptomatic or tested positive for COVID-19.
Achieve no-contact greetings.
Avoid delivering out materials.
Preserve cafes, coffee, and other self-service terminals closed.
Practice safe etiquettes for any communion and gathering to avoid contact.
Dispatch services in a way that promotes social distancing.
Place easily visible signage to tell everyone of best hygiene practices.
Possible faith leaders should not encourage cash donations and continue to use online or contactless giving and resources.
Cash should be collected in a receptacle set in one place and handled by one individual instead of being passed around. Regular cleaning and hygiene should be practiced, and gloves are worn to take cash offerings where the offering continues.
Last reviewed at:
01 Apr 2021 - 4 min read
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