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Mosques, churches to reopen Thursday with set of enhanced health measures

Restaurants allowed to offer dine-in services with 50% seating capacity

By JT - Oct 01,2020 - Last updated at Oct 01,2020

AMMAN — Mosques and churches in the Kingdom will open their doors according to new health measures starting Thursday. 

Meanwhile, restaurants are allowed to resume dine-in services as of Thursday, but must limit seating capacity to 50 per cent and ensure compliance to a slew of new health measures.

Mosques will be reopened for all prayers, including Friday prayer, from Fajr prayer (dawn prayer) as of Thursday, according to health measures circulated to Awqaf directorates.

Awqaf Minister Mohammad Khalaileh, during a joint press briefing at the Prime Ministry on Wednesday, said that workers in mosques and their affiliated committees must pledge to adhere to all public health and safety measures

The mosque workers must ensure separate prayer mats for each worshipper, compliance to wearing face masks and physical distancing between worshipers, besides other instructions.

Mosques that register infections, or mosques located within infected areas will be closed until the epidemiological condition is improved.

Meanwhile, President of the Jordan Churches Council Archbishop Christophorus Attallah said that prayers in all churches in the Kingdom will be resumed as of Thursday, with full commitment to wearing face masks and physical distancing.

"Any church that reports COVID-19 infections will be closed for a period specified by the government," Attallah said during the joint press briefing.

 

New regulations for restaurants

 

Meanwhile, all restaurants are allowed to reopen their doors to the public as of Thursday, provided that they pledge to abide by the additional health measures, Tourism Minister Majd Shweikeh announced during the press briefing.

Shweikeh said that a mechanism has been developed to enable restaurants of all categories, popular and tourist, to comply with health requirements. Restaurants that adhere to these requirements are allowed to resume work as of Thursday, she stressed.

The minister added that the pledge is available on Restaurants.gov.jo

Authorities in Aqaba will launch a website outlining health measures for restaurants located in the port city, she said.

The pledge obliges restaurants to abide by public health and safety guidelines by completing an online certification process, which will be approved by the concerned authorities. Restaurants owners will receive an SMS notification once the request is approved. 

Besides limiting restaurants’ dining capacity to 50 per cent, restaurants are only allowed to seat a maximum of 10 people per table.

The safety guidelines also include leaving a two-metre distance between tables, maintaining physical distancing, putting safe distance stickers on the floor of the restaurant and providing services to customers only at tables. 

Holding or organising any parties in restaurants are not allowed. Restaurants are required to assign an employee to monitor compliance with safety guidelines, according to Shweikeh.

Restaurants are also required to carry out temperature checks of employees.

In the event of any infections reported among service providers, the results should be uploaded on the website, she said.

Restaurants should not allow entry of patrons without wearing facemasks and should provide hand sanitiser in all facilities. 

Also speaking during the briefing, Minister of Education Tayseer Nuaimi said that the current policy related to the attendance of students from KG1 to the third grade and Tawjihi will continue for another two weeks, until October 16, in all of the Kingdom's schools, private and public as well as UNRWA-run schools.

Students will be divided into two groups with rotated in-person attendance for three days for the first group and two days for the second group a week, while the group that is absent for in-class education will continue learning remotely, he said.

Parents have the option to send their children to school or resort to online education, the minister said.

Grades from 4 to 11 will continue online learning for another two weeks, until October 16, he added.

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