Coronavirus: Places of worship in UAE to remain closed for now.


Community Development Authority asks religious leaders to plan for eventual reopening.

Dubai: Places of worship in the UAE will continue to remain closed for the time being, a senior Dubai government official said on Thursday.

The decision of the authorities is to keep the places of worship closed for the time being, said Dr Omar Al Muthanna, CEO of the Community Development Authority in Dubai which oversees the places of worship.

He was addressing a group of leaders of various religious faiths who attended a multi-faith virtual prayer, organised by the Jebel Ali Church Complex and Interfaith Committee in Jebel Ali, to seek the Almighty’s blessings for an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The virtual meeting was held as part of the multi-faith Pray for Humanity global initiative being organised by UAE’s Higher Committee for Human Fraternity later this evening.

In response to a question on when places of worship will reopen, Dr Al Muthanna said: “The good news is that you can see that things are easing up in different sectors…So we can definitely say that we will open eventually, of course. But as you can see, right now the decision is to remain closed.”

He urged religious leaders to plan and prepare for the reopening.

“Start thinking and planning how this will be rolled out in your place (of worship)…I invite everyone to think how they will roll this out [reopening] with some stickers on the ground, making sure sanitisers are available and finding maximum capacity of the facilities [while observing physical distancing rules].”

He said the authority had held discussions on the topic last week and will continue to communicate with the religious heads.

“Give us time to plan and use the time to plan,” he said, while inviting ideas from religious heads to ensure safety of believers once they return to places of worship.

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