Statement from the Muslim Community of Memphis
Partial & Gradual Reopening of Masjids
January 31, 2021
For the past month, the Greater Memphis Area Masjids temporarily suspended the congregational prayers due in combination to local health directives which included a "Safer at Home" ordinance, the expert recommendation of Muslim Physicians across the city, and the high surge of COVID-19 in the area. The time-frame for the temporary suspension was in line with the "Safer at Home" ordinance from December 26th - January 22nd which was then extended to Jan 31st after recommendations from infectious disease doctors and the serious security concerns at the time following the inauguration.
The Greater Memphis Area Masjids and religious leadership met again yesterday for the latest update from our infectious disease experts to help determine the next steps needed to move forward. The update described the start of the downward trend in cases and decrease in a number of stats due to the restrictions that were set in place. However, due to the high peak we started from when the closure was initiated we find ourselves still at a critical point with the number of cases higher than the largest peak from the first wave of the pandemic. In addition, there are concerns regarding a new strain of COVID that has started to emerge that may end up more infectious than the current strain. There have been cases of this strain detected in Tennessee already. The expert recommendation is to wait two weeks but a limited reopening is possible with precautions intact.
With all of this in consideration, leadership agreed to begin a partial and gradual reopening of masjids in the area over the next few weeks that would be split into two tiers. The first tier will be starting their limited reopening Feb. 1st and the second tier would be at a date to be announced two weeks from now (See Below). The details of the gradual reopening including prayers, Jummah, capacity, and restrictions will be released by each masjid in upcoming communication.
Tier 1 - Limited Reopening Feb 1st
Memphis Islamic Center
Tier 2 - Limited Reopening Date TBA
We will continue to monitor the situation over these next few weeks in case there is a change in information that may impact our masjids.
We've seen this pandemic impact us locally as community members have unfortunately suffered from this disease, have been hospitalized, or have lost their lives. Our priority remains the health and safety of everyone. Every decision at this critical and increasingly difficult time is to ensure we protect every life in our community and city at large. We are hopeful to provide a safe and long-term return to our masjids.
We are urging our community to do your part and as much as possible please stay at home outside of essential activities, avoid social gatherings, and when in public continue to wear masks and practice social distancing in all activities. We also encourage everyone to take the vaccine when it's available to them. Please reach out to your masjid leadership should you have any questions.
All Islamic Centers in the Memphis Area have supported this position:
Memphis Islamic Center
Please read the latest Shelby County Health Directive 17 and find TN Vaccine Information below.