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California Mosques Resume Services with Outdoor Prayers

After months of closing their doors due to the COVID-19, mosques in Santa Clara County, California, have found new ways to welcome worshippers back.

According to a new plan, mosques in the city will host prayers in their parking lots. The open area would allow social distancing while avoiding crowds in closed buildings.

Mosques will also host three prayers a day outside, and six prayers on Friday to avoid overcrowding.

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The plan came as a result of cooperation between a coalition of South Bay mosques and the Santa Clara County Public Health department.

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“We have never seen a mosque close down during any catastrophe. Have you ever seen Hajj close?” Akbar Syed, President of the Evergreen Islamic Center in San Jose, said, SF Gate reported.

“It has a big impact on our community of course. It feels like something is missing when you cannot come.”

The mosque outdoor prayers started earlier this month with only 25 people allowed. The number expanded later to 35 who have to register on Eventbrite beforehand.

“We are full every single prayer, even Fajr,” Syed said.

“For Friday prayers, which are our most holy prayers, we host three different prayer times at 1:30, 2 and 2:30 p.m.”

Concerns Over `Eid

Though the live is coming back to normal, Syed fears the COVID-19 pandemic will have its toll on upcoming `Eid Al-Adha.

The South Bay coalition of mosques met on Wednesday night to discuss plans for the upcoming Eid holiday. The final decision will come out next July 22.

“Some people are suggesting we do several prayers a day and break it up into small groups but personally I think we should celebrate at home,” Syed said.

“Of course, I will be sad but here we care first and foremost about the health of our community. We cannot risk having anyone get sick.”

Mosques across the world have resumed services after months of lockdown due to the coronavirus.

Some Muslims’ reaction to the reopening of mosques went viral including that of an American Muslim basketball player who couldn’t contain his excitement as mosques reopened in Qatar.