Newham Council has announced that it is making a limited number of its parks available on Friday for prayer events to take place safely to mark the celebration of Eid al-Adha.
The decision follows a request from Muslim faith leaders to allow limited, socially distanced and regulated use of specific park areas, to avoid the risk of overcrowding at Mosques and their surrounding areas.
The Council is working with the Muslim community to allow for time limited worship in safe and defined areas, in a socially distanced outdoor environment.
All the events are subject to risk assessment and event management planning to ensure safety for all those attending and other park users. Applications to attend the events will be strictly via residents’ own local mosques in order to facilitate effective track and trace systems and control numbers of attendees.
Councillor Zulfiqar Ali, Cabinet member for education, health and adult social care said: “All of our faith communities have been dutifully complying with the rules around gatherings and social distancing for several months as a result of Covid-19. Even with the relaxation of lockdown, restrictions on the numbers of people who can gather in congregation inside places of worship are severely limited.
“As we approach the celebration of Eid al-Adha, the Council was approached by leaders of the Newham Muslim community for permission to hold special prayer events, outside in local parks. We are delighted to have been able to work with the community to facilitate these events which will be held on Friday, in a safe and controlled manner. The events will allow worshippers to come together in safety to exercise their devotions and avert the risk of over-crowding in Mosques and their surrounding areas.”
Councillor Muzibar Rahman, Deputy Cabinet member for communities, said: “Through this coronavirus crisis our faith communities made great sacrifices to follow the rules and restrict the spread of the virus. Working closely with Newham Muslim faith leaders, council officers have been able to enable these special Eid events, which will allow worshippers to come together safely, in a controlled manner, while reducing the risk of infection spread.”
Mosques and outdoor gatherings will have limits to the number of worshippers, but stay home if you’ve been shielding or you are unwell and are displaying symptoms of Covid-19. This may include a high temperature, a continuous cough, or if you lose your sense of taste or smell.
If you are planning to attend organised prayer events, observe social distancing, take hand sanitiser and use it, take your own prayer mat and face covering, and bring your name and telephone number on a piece of paper for signing in and contact tracing purposes.
While you are there, follow any one-way systems in place and instructions from stewards. Only gather near those who you live with. Toilets will not be available. When you leave, follow the instructions for exit and keep moving as you go.
If you are planning to celebrate at home or visit family or friends, observe social distancing, gather in groups of six people or less and use face coverings where possible. If you are able, celebrate with friends and family using digital technologies such as Zoom or Facetime. Do not prepare food for others if you have any symptoms of Covid-19. Stay home if you are feeling unwell or have been shielding.