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Jakarta legislature wants quick reopening of churches

Indonesian capital's legislative council chief says churches are vital in preserving people's peace of mind during pandemic

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Jakarta legislature wants quick reopening of churches

A novena prayer is held in St. Joseph Church in East Jakarta without a congregation during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo: Katharina R. Lestari/UCA News) 


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The chairman of the Jakarta Legislative Council has urged authorities to make sure places of worship are among the first places to reopen once “new normal” measures to end a partial lockdown in Indonesia’s capital come into force.

“It is time for people to feel safe and to not be scared, so I want the Jakarta administration to review regulations on people’s activities, including religious activities in places of worship,” Prasetio Edi Marsudi, the head of the city's legislature, said on June 1.

Partial lockdown restrictions involve a ban on large gatherings in places of worship.

An easing of the lockdown is scheduled to take place on June 4, but it is not clear what activities will be allowed to resume.  

Marsudi said places of worship must be reopened “because there we can ask God to give us strength, patience and health during this pandemic.”

Father Vincentius Adi Prasodjo, secretary of Jakarta Archdiocese, said the Catholic Church is ready to implement “new normal” measures laid out by the government late last month.

The measures require organizers of gatherings to sanitize locations with disinfectant regularly, to limit the number of entrances and exits, to provide sanitation facilities at entrances and exits, and to take people’s temperature on entry.

Father Prasodjo said the archdiocese stands ready to adopt such measures.

“We have been preparing worship protocols for the new normal and we must ensure that every parish is ready to adopt them,” he told UCA News.

Reverend Gomar Gultom, head of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, said Protestant churches will shorten Sunday services during the “new normal.”

“The longer the service, the higher the risk of Covid-19 transmission,” he told UCA News. “Wearing a face mask is a must, especially while singing hymns which can transmit the coronavirus through respiratory droplets.” 

As of June 1, Jakarta had 7,485 out of 26,940 recorded Covid-19 cases in Indonesia with 518 out of 1,641 deaths.

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