Staying alert for Eid Al-Adha this month will help to protect friends and family from coronavirus (COVID-19). The great effort communities across the country made to adapt ritual practise and control the virus during Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr, now needs to continue, so that people can celebrate safely while preventing the spread of infection.
A huge number of sacrifices have been made in recent months, as communities have had to adapt how they celebrate different festivals and other important occasions. It is vital this work is not undone and that we continue to remain flexible in order to control the virus. The most important actions you can take are to maintain social distancing during festivities and practise frequent hand washing, for 20 seconds.
The festival of Eid Al-Adha starts on Thursday 30th July and ends on Monday 3rd August. As with other religious festivals during COVID-19, it is essential 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.
Mosques have now reopened for prayer and service, but in a COVID-Secure way and to ensure social distancing. This means most Mosques are not able to welcome as many worshippers as before. You should speak to your local Mosque to find out what arrangements have been put in place.
There are also guidelines everyone needs to follow when outside the Mosque to ensure they stay safe for Eid. These include not gathering in large groups in people’s homes. Whilst you can gather outdoors in groups of no more than 30, these gatherings will be organised by local Mosques in partnership with local councils, in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance.
These restrictions are in place to keep all our families, friends and communities safe during this time, and we recognise that this may make Eid-Al-Adha feel different. Faith leaders continue to use digital tools to bring worshippers together for prayers and sermons and we would encourage you to take advantage of these services to mark Eid-Al-Adha safely.
Osman Dar, Consultant in Global Health at Public Health England said:
Please do continue to keep your distance from those people you don’t live with and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds more often throughout the day. In enclosed public spaces make sure to wear a face mask and stay alert to your surroundings. Please have a happy and blessed Eid.
Maintain social distancing
Maintaining social distancing is vital for multigenerational households with elderly parents and grandparents, who may also have underlying health issues. Visiting families and friends homes over Eid will increase the risk of spreading COVID-19, 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.
Mosques have had to adapt, and it means that fewer people than normal are able to attend. Where feasible it would be advisable to organise Eid prayers outdoors in an appropriately spaced and COVID-secure settings. You could also celebrate with families and friends using digital technology such as Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Facetime, Viber and other technological means.
Protect yourself and others
In addition to performing wudu at home before prayers and bringing your own prayer mat to the mosque or Eid prayers venue, healthy hygiene should also be maintained through handwashing for at least 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 COVID-19 or any other flu-like illness, even if the symptoms are mild.
Remember, if you have symptoms that may be caused by COVID-19, and do not require hospital treatment, or if you live in a household with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by COVID-19, 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.
Please 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 play an important role and can help us protect each other, reducing the spread of the disease if you are in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible, where you will meet people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example on public transport or in shops.
The most important thing we can all do in fighting COVID-19 is to stay alert. We must control the spread of the virus to protect the NHS and save lives.
To all those celebrating please stay safe and Eid Mubarak