Christians get nod to attend Christmas mass in CMCO, RMCO areas; no carolling allowed

A general view of St John’s cathedral in Kuala Lumpur March 14, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A general view of St John’s cathedral in Kuala Lumpur March 14, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Christians will be allowed to attend Christmas mass in areas under the conditional and recovery movement control order (CMCO) on December 24 and December 25, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced today.

However, he said Christmas carolling is banned in all areas.

“The special session is to allow Christians to attend prayers on December 24 and December 25 in areas under CMCO and RMCO only. Not allowed in areas under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO),” he said.

Ismail Sabri however pointed out that the Christmas mass has a set time period and will be monitored by enforcement authorities.

He said visitations are only allowed on December 25, while open houses are banned.

Ismail Sabri also highlighted the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be observed, including the setting up of health screening counters to vet church attendees, and stressed that only healthy visitors must be allowed into the premises.

Church management and committee members must also have undergone health screening before starting their duties, while no body contact is allowed among church attendees.

“For December 24, 2020, prayer ceremonies must be held from 5.00pm to 9.30pm with a division of two sessions only (1 hour 30 minutes per session) and interspersed with sanitation operations for 45 minutes before starting a new one. 

“Whereas on December 25, 2020, prayer ceremonies must be held starting 7.00am until 1.45pm with a division of three sessions only (1 hour 30 minutes per session) and interspersed with sanitation  operations for 45 minutes before starting a new session.

“Prayer ceremonies in the Minor Basilica, cathedrals, churches and chapels shall be in full compliance with the opening SOPs of houses of worship which has been issued, and is subject to the space available in the house of worship and physical distancing,” Ismail Sabri added.

On Christmas celebrations in landed homes located in CMCO and RCMO areas, he said no more than 20 family members are allowed to congregate at any one time, while for homes of less than 1,500 square feet, no more than 10 people are allowed to do so. No more than 15 people are allowed to gather at any one time for homes measuring 2,500 square feet.

Family members are also to wear face masks and ensure physical distancing.

Ismail Sabri said that any business activities can only be done in areas allowed by local council authorities or other enforcement agencies, adding that the public are however encouraged to do business via online.

Christmas mass however is banned in areas under the enforced movement control order (EMCO), while home celebrations are limited to only family members living in the same premises. Visitations are also banned.

Business activities are also not allowed to be conducted physically.

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