Mosques in capital reopen with strict regulations in place

The mosques of the Greater Male' Area reopened its doors to the public on Sunday after two months.

The mosques in the capital were closed when Male' city was placed on lockdown after the first case of local transmission of COVID-19 was identified in the capital on April. Congregational prayers were suspended before that on March 18 as a precaution. The government recently began relaxing some of the precautionary measures taken due to a significant decline in the number of poisitive cases recorded in the Maldives.

Islamic Ministry on Sunday said while the city will begin a new and more relaxed phase of the lockdown starting Monday, the ministry is allowing the use of mosques without forming congregations. The decision was taken after discussion with the Health Protection Agency (HPA), the National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC)'s Technical Advisory Group and religious scholars, said the ministry.

Effective from Maqrib prayers on Sunday, all mosques in Male', Hulhumal'e, Villimale', Thilafushi and Gulhifalhu are now open with the required precautionary measures in place. The Islamic Ministry placed strict conditions to re-open the moseues, including the removal of all carpets at the mosques, temporarily discontinuing the use of air conditioners, cleaning and mopping the mosques before every prayer, making hand washing facilities available.

The minstry urges all worshippers to make ablution at home and take their own prayer mats to the mosque. The use of masks and practicing social distancing is also recommended. The ministry further asked those who have symptoms of the flu to refrain from going to the mosque, and asked all worshippers to immediately leave the mosque after performing their prayers instead of prolonging their visit. The ministry also advised against handshaking and using Quran copies available in the mosques.

The Islamic Minisry said eases regarding congregational prayers will be granted if HPA allows further relaxations.