As mosques are getting ready to welcome the ‘ummah’ [worshipping community] back for worship from Friday, June 5 government has set out protocols which must be adhered to.
This is part of government’s Stage One of the processes of easing restrictions as the country contains the coronavirus pandemic.
All religious bodies are to have 25% attendance with a maximum number of 100 congregants who can worship at a time in a church or at a mosque.
The worshipers are to observe a mandatory one-metre rule of social distancing between congregants.
All congregants are required to wear masks at all times, wash hands with soap under running water or rub with alcohol-based hand sanitizer before entry.
Also, they are to avoid shaking hands or body contact and are to register details including phone numbers, manually or digitally. Digital registration can be done on GH COVID-19 APP on PANABIOS APP which can be downloaded at no cost.
In addition, mosque leaders must ensure these protocols are observed:
I. Thermometer guns or thermal scanners must be provided for checking the temperature of members at entry points of all venues as necessary.
II. Ensure a No mask: No entry Policy
III. Provision of hand washing facilities with running water and soap and/or FDA approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
IV. Provision of adequate waste management facilities (bins, cans, bin-liners and single-use tissues).
V. Provision of adequate toilet facilities for use by members.
VI. Regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places (like bathroom and toilet surfaces) and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs/handles, preferably every 1-2 hours depending on the rate of utilization.
VII. Designate a holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the premises/event can be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation.
VIII. Regular disinfection of venues used for mosque gathering, preferably once every month. For example, fumigation and disinfection must be carried out with recognized entities like Zoomlion.
IX. Professional cleaners with the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning items to clean the facilities regularly and handle waste appropriately.
X. Provide adequate ventilation, i.e. open windows to allow for the maximum circulation of fresh air, if possible, avoid confined air-conditioned rooms.
XI. Display approved health promotion materials on COVID-19 at vantage points to remind people to keep to social distancing protocols, wearing of the masks, regular handwashing, coughing, and sneezing etiquette.
XII. Ensure a No handshake, No hugging and No Spitting policy at all time.
XIII. Follow established evacuation procedures (as outlined in Annex 1) to enable evacuation if a participant becomes sick during the event and has to be evacuated.
XIV. Form COVID task force comprising of members who are preferably health workers. They must be trained in Health Promotive prevention measures, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), and Evacuation Procedures by Ghana Health Service.
XV. The COVID task force should Call 112 or 311 for support to enable evacuation if anyone develops fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing during the gathering.
XVI. Unwell Persons are not allowed to attend mosques
XVII. Older persons and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, heart diseases, diabetes, liver disease, and asthma are advised to stay away from going to the mosque.
XVIII. Sharing personal items such as watches, jewelry, pens and phones should be discouraged.
XIX. If an individual is confirmed positive for COVID-19, all contacts must be traced and screened.
XX. Ensure each worshipper uses their personal mat (Sajaada), or disinfect mats provided by the mosque before and after use.
XXI. Ablution should be performed in the house by adherents before entering the Mosque.
XXII. Use easily removable footwear such as slippers
XXIII. Allow people to come out of the mosque to collect slippers one after the other instead of crowding at the entrance
XXIV. Put a bowl at the entrance of the mosque for the offering of Fisabidali.
XXV. Sanitize microphones immediately after each use.
XXVI. Spend at least five minutes of worship time to educate mosque attendees on Covid-19.