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https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/05/22/places-of-worship-will-remain-closed-for-eid-ul-fitr/

Places of worship will remain closed for Eid ul-Fitr

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Staying at home for Eid ul-Fitr will help to protect friends and family from coronavirus (COVID-19). The great effort on social distancing already achieved throughout Ramadan can be maintained by praying in the morning at home, not gathering in open space for Eid prayers and not meeting with friends and family.

The festival of Eid ul-Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and takes place this year on Saturday 23rd May. As with other religious festivals during COVID-19, it is important to adapt traditional practices for people to protect themselves, their friends and families. The Government’s stay alert and safe (social distancing) rules apply to all UK citizens and are supported by a wide variety of Muslim community organisations including the British Board of Scholars and Imams.

Eid celebrates the end of fasting and traditionally consists of prayer, feasting and social gatherings with family and friends. In previous years, it has been usual for many British Muslims to attend special services held in mosques, local parks and streets around the country. Whilst places of worship remain closed and social distancing measures are in place, the celebration of Eid will need to be adapted this year.

Maintain social distancing

Social distancing that has been achieved by staying at home for Ramadan remains important and Eid ul-Fitr provides a moment to reflect upon this hard work so far and celebrate the resilience and sacrifices that have been made by all Muslim communities thus far.

Maintaining social distancing is particularly important for multigenerational households with elderly parents and grandparents who may also have underlying health issues.  Visiting families and friends for Eid will increase the risk of spreading coronavirus, especially to those who may be most vulnerable at a time when the virus is still widely circulating.

We are learning more about the impacts of COVID-19 all the time. Social distancing may be especially important for people of black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds as evidence suggests a disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on different ethnic groups.

This year, celebrate Eid ul-Fitr with families using digital technology such as Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Facetime, Viber and other technological means.

Osman Dar, Consultant in Global Health at Public Health England said: “A warm Eid Mubarak to everyone. May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala accept our fasts, prayers and zakat, and strengthen our resolve to come out of this collective challenge more united, more caring, and more compassionate towards each other.

"This Eid will be a time for quiet celebration and sombre reflection as we remember those we have lost, while striving together to protect our families and preserve our communities going forward. Let us remain steadfast in supporting the most vulnerable and in helping, as best we can, the many ongoing efforts to control this pandemic. Peace and blessings to all and stay safe insha’Allah.”

Protect yourself and others

In addition to performing wudu before prayers, healthy hygiene should also be maintained through handwashing for 20 seconds, using soap and water or a hand sanitiser, when you enter your home, blow your nose, sneeze or cough and eat or handle food, to help protect yourself and others. People preparing food for others, shouldn’t do so if they have any symptoms of coronavirus or any other flu-like illness, even if the symptoms are mild.

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable you’re strongly advised to continue shielding measures to keep safe by staying at home and avoiding all contact with others, except for essential medical treatment or support.

Some people, including those aged 70 and over, those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women, are clinically vulnerable, meaning they are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus’. As we begin to ease restrictions, this group who are clinically vulnerable should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their immediate household.

Remember, if you have symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus, and do not require hospital treatment, or if you live in a household with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by coronavirus you must remain at home until you are well. Read more about the availability of testing if you are symptomatic and about self-isolation and household isolation.

Read the staying alert and safe social distancing guidance for the full details on the reasons you can leave your house and who you can meet up with.

When you do need to go out, you should follow the guidelines on staying safe outside your home. Most importantly, this includes the key advice that you should stay two metres apart from anyone outside of your household. Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example on public transport or in some shops.

The most important thing we can all do in fighting coronavirus is to stay alert. We must control the spread of the virus, in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

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