TAMPA, Fla. — Monday marks the beginning of Ramadan. Thousands of Muslims in the Tampa Bay area will be fasting from sun-up to sun-down for a month. Many of them will be congregating to pray in local mosques.
ABC Action News in-depth reporter Anthony Hill is digging deeper to find out what's being done to protect those who attend local mosques as the pandemic continues.
As Ramadan begins, thousands of Muslims in the Tampa Bay Area will fast to feel empathy for those who have little and will gather to pray to feel a stronger connection with God. However, with the deadly COVID-19 virus still going around, local mosques are having to take extra precautions.
"We make sure every nook and cranny in this facility is sanitized on a daily basis," saysMohamed Aqqad, an administrator at the Islamic Society of Tampa Bay. He says they're taking this virus seriously. "So, we're taking the precautions even beyond what the CDC had advised us to do."
Upon arrival, temperatures are taken. "If they have a higher-than-normal temperature. We're lucky. We're one of the lucky establishments that we have a clinic on site."
Aqqad says last year five people had a higher-than-normal temperature. They swiftly sent them to the on-site clinic where it was discovered they had Covid-19, preventing the spread to others.
Before entering the mosque, each person has to go through a sanitizing tunnel, which sprays a mixture of chemicals to help neutralize the Covid-19 virus. "So their clothes on the outside are fully sanitized."
If they don't have a mask, they're given one, and once inside, people are advised to stay socially distanced. They've even installed dividers to create a barrier between people while still being able to pray together. "So, I can pray, and the person next to me can pray, so we don't exchange our breath."