March 12, 2020
The Islamic Shura Council of Southern California STRONGLY urges the Muslim Community not to offer congregational Friday prayers (Salatul Jumuah) this week in order to minimize the risk of COVID-19. In conjunction with scholarly consultation with the Board of Imams and medical discussions on this topic with a physician task force, all congregants are advised to pray the noon prayer (Salatuz Zuhr) at home or work. Those who are able to have a small gathering at home, work, or in a public place may perform the Jumuah if they are aware of the rules associated with that. This follows suit in the rapidly evolving situation with this health crisis, including following all necessary steps recommended by local health officials to protect all our citizens in Southern California. The Public Health Officer in San Bernardino County, for example, has already issued an order to cancel or postpone all large gatherings until further notice. Please continue to stay connected to updates from authorities for your city and area.
Given the current state of public safety with COVID-19 and after having ongoing discussions with medical and religious experts, the critical points below must be enforced immediately:
All Islamic centers and organizations should act in accordance with updated directions and recommendations of their municipal health authorities, such as the Orange County Public Health Care Agency, LA County Dept. of Public Health, the San Bernardino County of Public Health, Riverside Department of Public Health, and Public Health Services – County of San Diego. This includes but is not limited to:
- Limiting mass gatherings and large events at their facility to the guidelines from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Collective activities should NOT be attended by adults 60 and older, people with chronic medical conditions especially those at higher risk for severe illness such as those who have traveled and/or are under quarantine, those with underlying medical histories of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, etc.
- All Islamic organizations are asked to cancel or postpone non-essential community programming such as lectures, classes and weekend programs, particularly if cases of transmission are confirmed in the county.
- COVID-19 prevention methods are to be communicated through health agency advisories and access to readily available supplies provided to facility staff and participants, including sinks with soap, hand sanitizers, and tissues. Proper and frequent hand hygiene should be done including no handshaking, hugging and other forms of limiting physical contact.
- Mosque congregations when resumed or if performed, MUST:
- Abide by all guidance and instructions of local health directives such as those from the CDPH, including posted signs and readily available control measures (such as hand sanitizer, tissue, trash receptacles, etc)
- Keep the premises sanitized including the specific cleaning recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Limit numbers of congregants to minimally needed levels as per the recommendations by reinforcing those who should not attend, as above. Restrict time of gathering and require all attendees not to stay behind after services. Apply limitations on social distancing individually and maximum capacities collectively safely and saliently, based on consensus guidelines
- Food items for sale should be prepackaged and/or sealed.
- Keep constant contact with your jurisdiction’s official health care mandates and directions by viewing updates as they develop. Follow and respect the decisions made by regional Islamic centers and leadership. Adhere to medical guidance and advice throughout without causing undue duress.
- Keep praying for everyone’s well-being and protection and strengthen your faith and conviction in divine wisdom
- Circulate linked guide for future gatherings, stress and exercise abundant caution for all.