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Places of worship in Saskatchewan prepare for Phase 3 of province’s reopen plan

Places of worship in Saskatchewan prepare for Phase 3 of province’s reopen plan
WATCH: Things will look a little bit different as places of worship begin to welcome back members when Phase 3 of Saskatchewan's reopen plans takes effect on June 8.

Places of worship in Saskatchewan are preparing to welcome back members, as the third phase of the province’s reopen plan begins on June 8.

Churches in the province weren’t ordered to close during the novel coronavirus pandemic, but restrictions were put in place limiting congregations to no more than 10 people.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan releases guidelines for child-care facilities, churches to reopen

Those restrictions have left some to close their door temporarily while moving online with virtual services.

“Before the pandemic, we would gather together at the mosque with five daily prayers — before sunrise, afternoon, then late afternoon, right after sunset and at darkness,” said Naveed Iqbal Qadiani, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at serving missionary.

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“We started doing all the programs virtually online. I, myself, started doing kids classes online every day for at least one hour. We tried to tell them Islamic stories.”

Next Monday, places of worship will be allowed to open to a third of their normal capacity — a maximum of 30 people per service.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan churches face financial uncertainty amid coronavirus pandemic

Congregations will still be required to uphold social distancing practices, common surfaces will need to be frequently disinfected and signage will need to be in place showing people building entrances and exits.

The province is also prohibiting people from handshaking and sharing objects such as the Bible, Torah or the Quran.

With these rules in place, some services are choosing to continue promoting virtual services but will offer in-house to those wanting to attend in person.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Cancellation of Saskatchewan drive-in church service questioned

Qadiani said despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, he believes it has given families a great opportunity to spend quality time together.

“This is what we see as a positive. People are usually so busy with work, but families are being given family time,” Qadiani said.

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“The mosques are closed, but its heart is open all the time.”

Saskatchewan churches face financial uncertainty amid coronavirus pandemic
Saskatchewan churches face financial uncertainty amid coronavirus pandemic

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

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