Places of worship across Wolverhampton have been supported by the City of Wolverhampton Council to make their premises Covid-secure and welcome back worshippers for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
Among them is the Jaamia Masjid Aqsa (Wolverhampton Mosque Trust) on Waterloo Road in the city centre. The entire premises have been deep cleaned and systems put in place to maintain social distancing, including a one-way system, floor markings, marked prayer spaces and screened cubicles for worship.
Trained volunteers are available to support worshippers, Friday prayers take place in staggered sessions and people are required to enter and exit through different doors.
Temperatures, along with contact details for NHS Test and Trace, are taken on arrival at the mosque, and a sanitising station has been set up outside. People are also required to bring their own prayer mats and face coverings.
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Faith leaders in Wolverhampton have worked extremely hard over the last few months, firstly in ensuring that lockdown measures are strictly adhered to in order to protect lives and now in reopening their churches, temples and mosques in a Covid-secure manner.
“They have been meeting with our Director of Public Health John Denley and Prevent and Cohesion Officer Deborah Smith on a regular basis since March, working together to address questions and concerns in the community and to keep them informed of the evolving guidance.
“We have also shared with them a wide range of resources to help them reopen, including signage and support in completing their risk assessments, and it’s great that they are able to safely welcome people of all faiths safely once more.”
Jaamia Masjid Aqsa (Wolverhampton Mosque Trust) Vice Chair and Minister of Religion Rashid Raja said: "During the Covid outbreak, we kept the mosque closed as per national guidelines and, when the opening began, we phased it to individual worship and then for collective worship. Preservation of life comes first, and we have put in place all the measures we possibly could for our community."