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How Diepslootians Feel About Returning to Places of Worship

COVID IN THE KASI – LOCKDOWN DAY 64

Places of worship have been closed since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown. President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that they may reopen from the first of June, when lockdown level 3 begins.

In Diepsloot, the feelings about this are mixed. While some believe it is still too risky, especially at a time when the infection rate is increasing daily, there are those who look forward to returning to their places of worship.

“I think it’s good that the President has realized how important it is to have people of faith come together and pray not only for themselves but for the country to overcome this pandemic. I’m very happy that we are allowed to go back to church and worship!”, says Mr. Gumede*, praying outside the gates of the church before going to work.

For places of worship that choose to reopen, there are strict regulations. There may be no more than 50 people per service and everyone must wear a face mask. A two metre physical distance must be allowed for between worshippers.

“Before the lockdown was announced we were already practicing social distancing. When we arrived at church, we would be counted and have our hands sanitised. If the church was already occupied by 50 people, the rest would wait outside until the next service began… So this won’t be anything new to us. We have done it before and we were following the rules”, he continues.

This church seems to be compliant, but we can’t assume that all places of worship will be the same. The question is, how will places of worship be monitored to ensure that the health and safety of worshippers is taken seriously?

*not his real name

By Lerato J. Molefe