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Churches and mosques refuse to reopen in level 3 lockdown

Published May 28, 2020


DURBAN - While religious leaders welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that places of worship can reopen in level 3 lockdown, some churches and mosques’ have decided they will not reopen.

The Claremont Main Road Mosque (CMRM) released a statement earlier today, that it has decided against opening the mosque at this point in time because of the continued public health risks.

“We have carefully considered this step as a continued proactive measure to minimise the risk of spreading the virus and preserve life,” read the statement.

Under the new regulations, only small gatherings allowed, no more than 50 at a time and strict measures such as wearing face masks

and hand sanitising would need to be implemented.

Siviwe Notshe of The Every Nation Church in Bryanston said although he misses the congregation they will not be reopening the church during this time.

“In light of the President's comments, we would like to update you on the road ahead. We will not be reopening our church during this time. Bottom line our thoughts are that the church remains closed, but our bibles and our hearts remain open,” he said.

“This sudden, seemingly rushed move is questionable,” the Jesuit Institute South Africa, a Catholic focused organisation, said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We do not need to open churches right now to practise our faith. Prayer, acts of kindness, reading sacred texts and service of neighbour can continue without gathering in the midst of this pandemic,”

“Evidence of cluster spread in other parts of the world suggests that even in places of worship where strict social distancing rules were upheld there were reports of infection. The more people mix, the more there is potential for spread. Places of worship are not immune to the virus. This move seems to contradict the President’s often repeated phrase that we must be “guided by the overriding principle of doing whatever it takes to preserve life,” said the organisation.

Meanwhile, At Boshoff, the founder of the Christian Revival Church (CRC) said: “No CRC will have public meetings at this time. Our members safety, as well as their spiritual well being, remain our top priority. We will, therefore, resume meeting in small prayer groups/home cells of no more than 12 for fellowship prayer.”

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