Preparing for Phased Reopening: Discussion Guidelines Launched
This week (18 May) will mark the ninth consecutive week that mosques across the UK have suspended activities since the UK Government’s enforced lockdown on 23rd March, with many mosques having voluntarily suspended even earlier to minimise risk to their congregations.
Mosques, madrasas and community centres are looking forward to the time when they can safely re-open, with the UK Government’s latest conditional recovery plan currently indicating partial re-opening could be from 4 July at the earliest, subject to adopting ‘Covid-19 Secure’ guidelines.
Following consultation with over 300 Muslim institutions and scholars across the UK earlier this month, today the MCB is issuing initial discussion guidelines with the aim of helping leaders of mosques, madrasas and community centres plan carefully for a safe and phased re-opening in line with public health regulations.
Further support in collaboration with a range of partners is also planned to be made available in the coming weeks, including training webinars, legal advice, posters and notices, checklists, medical advice and fundraising advice. You can register your interest for support by clicking here.
MCB Secretary General, Harun Khan, said:
“Once clearer guidelines for re-opening as early as July are issued by the UK Government, the decision on how and when to re-open lies with the trustees of each institution, who are ultimately legally responsible for the safety of their building and its users. Trustees are advised to exercise caution and to consider the full range of factors in their planning.
“By working together at a local level, we can ensure that any mosque, madrasa or community centre planning to re-open gets the support and guidance they need to help them do so in the safest way possible, and crucially that community members are aware of the mandatory measures required of them to keep safe. Many Muslim institutions have been working closely with one another – often via regional Muslim networks or local Councils of Mosques – to co-ordinate services for volunteers for COVID-19 response projects during Ramadan, and we urge these networks to only strengthen in the coming weeks.”
An MCB-convened task force has been actively co-ordinating and developing guidance for supporting Muslim institutions to safely re-open once the lockdown is eased, in collaboration with a range of partner organisations. Anyone wishing to contribute to this work can get in touch at [email protected].
Due to the ongoing restrictions on community gatherings across all four UK nations, Eid Al-Fitr this weekend will need to be celebrated largely at home, with limited outdoor interaction and no Eid prayers in mosques or public spaces. Guidance for Muslim communities in the UK for celebrating Eid during lockdown is planned to be issued shortly.
With thanks to all institution leaders and scholars who contributed to the online consultation in early May 2020, and to the Muslim Council of Wales for supporting in the initial drafting of the discussion guidelines.
Latest coronavirus advice can be found online at: www.mcb.org.uk/coronavirus