Turkey is to resume mass prayers in mosques on Friday, as the country further eases restrictions against the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Ali Erbaş, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), told Anadolu news agency on Thursday that he will lead the first Friday prayer at the courtyard of Istanbul’s Fatih Mosque.
Erbaş said that mosques with courtyards or with suitable adjacent open areas have been given permission to open for prayers.
At first only afternoon and Friday prayers will be performed with worshippers, and other daily prayers will be allowed in the coming weeks.
Erbaş said that people coming to mosques will have to wear masks and have been asked to bring prayer rugs with them – although single-use prayer rugs will be offered.
The Diyanet had announced a nationwide suspension of mass prayers on March 16 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.