SEKHUKHUNE – Following consultations with religious leaders, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) has determined that as part of the regulations for level 3, commencing on 01 June 2020, the current restrictions on congregational worship would be eased.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said places of worship may re-open subject to strict restrictions that were absolutely necessary if they were to prevent infections from rising in accordance with norms and standards that would be set out in the regulations.
Ramaphosa said churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other recognized places of worship may resume services, but those would be limited in size to 50 people or less, depending on the space available.
The President said social distancing would have to be observed and all worshippers and participants would have to wear face masks in line with the current regulations.
Ramaphosa said: “Our religious organizations must put protocols in place for, among other things, thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing places for worship before and after services. Our faith communities must ensure that any religious rituals that carry the slightest possibility of exposing worshippers to risk should be avoided, and that where they form an essential part of religious practice, that sanitization is paramount.”
When the President addressed the nation on Sunday, 24 May 2020, he said that they had been discussing with leaders of the religious community who had made a number of proposals around a gradual resumption of some religious activities and the manner in which they would like to exercise their functions.
Ramaphosa said the NCCC discussed the proposals put to them by religious leaders and determined that they should accede to the proposals put forward in accordance with certain norms and standards.
The President urged all South Africans to heed the call of leaders of various faith communities for a national day of prayer on Sunday, 31 May 2020.
“We will once again come together to pray for the healing of our land and protection of our people,” said Ramaphosa as he referred to Sunday 31 May 2020 which is set for the national day of prayer.