Turkey to allow Friday prayers mid-June
Friday prayers will be allowed under certain restrictions starting June 12, Ali Erbaş, the head of the country’s Religious Affairs Presidency (Diyanet) has said.
Turkey on March 16 suspended mass prayers in mosques until the risks from coronavirus outbreak are over.
“We will be able to perform Friday prayers in the yards of the mosques,” Erbaş said in a televised interview.
People will be required to bring their own prayer rugs and social distancing rules will be strictly observed.
Worshippers will also have to wear protective face masks as they enter the premises of the mosque.
Authorities will reportedly keep contact information of people who attend the collective prayers. This will allow to keep track of the people in case of a possible COVID-19 infection among the congregation.
Turkey has started to relax some of the measures it initially introduced to arrest the spread of the virus.
“Turkey would start easing them in May, June, and July as the spreading pace began slowing over the past two weeks,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 4 after a cabinet meeting.
The number of confirmed cases in Turkey has neared 145,000, with the death toll from COVID-19 exceeding 4,000. More than 104,000 people have recovered from the disease. The country has conducted over 1.5 million coronavirus tests so far.