In COVID-19 Updates

Update 18 from COVID-19 Crisis Task Force

As-Salāmu ‘Alaykum

To our Community members and attendees,

Jumu’ah Mubārak & Wilādat Mubārak to you all on the auspicious birth anniversary of our 8th Holy Imām, Imām Ali ar-Ridha (a). We pray that through his intercession for the quick recovery of those who are unwell and the safety of all of humanity during these unprecedented times.

We hope you are all keeping well.

In Friday’s morning report, Ontario reported 165 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the provincial total to 35,535. 31 of the province’s 34 public health units—every unit except Toronto, Peel and York—are reporting five or fewer cases, with 14 of them reporting no new cases at all. New cases in Toronto, Peel and York make up 80% of the total number reported today.

It has been two weeks since most of the GTA moved into stage two of recovery, and 10 days since Toronto and Peel moved into the second stage. It is positive to hear that while numbers have fluctuated, there has been no noticeable spike in the number of new cases.

On Monday June 29, 2020 the ISIJ Board of Directors hosted a Virtual town hall where many came forward with various questions relating to the reopening of the ISIJ Centres.

The COVID-19 Crisis Task Force convened for their weekly meeting on Tuesday June 30, 2020 to further discuss and deliberate on these queries.

1. Are drive-in programs an option?
After weighing the pros and cons of having drive-in programs at our centres, the task force decided that this would not be a feasible option for the month of Muharram or for any programs. In addition to parking logistics, technical hurdles, being mindful of our neighbours and managing crowds to adhere to guidelines, the drive-in programs option has many other factors of consideration and, at present, we cannot cater to these.

2. Would the ISIJ of Toronto consider renting several banquet halls for Muharram programs if our centres remain closed?
Renting several banquet halls for Muharram programs is not something the ISIJ of Toronto is considering. Just as we did in the Holy Month of Ramadān, we are able to livestream the program and relay it to our members and attendees while they are in their own homes, safe and in adherence with provincial recommendations.

3. Can sports such as badminton, that are considered ‘contactless’, restart at the ISIJ of Toronto centres?
At present, as our task force is working diligently to outline and put into practice, protocols and guidelines for reopening the ISIJ of Toronto for funerals and/or weddings for a maximum of 20 individuals, we are not comfortable reopening for sports. As we continue to monitor the progress of our reopening plan, we may consider the possibility of allowing sports at a later phase in our ‘Phase-by-Phase’ approach to reopening ISIJ centres.

4. When will we reopen for funerals and weddings for a maximum of 20 individuals?
Members of the COVID-19 Task Force are finalizing Standard Operating Procedures and guidelines for attendees as well as responsibilities such as sanitization and disinfection of our centres before and after each event. Once these are in place and a mock event has been carried out we will assess and advise on a clearer timeframe for reopening.

As reiterated in earlier communications, the process to reopen is carefully measured and gradual, with the well-being and safety of our community and attendees being of paramount importance.

Please keep our community and all of humanity at the forefront of your prayers. May we be relieved of this difficult situation soon.

With Salāms & Du’ās

ISIJ Secretariat Office
Islamic Shia Ithna-Asheri Jamaat of Toronto
905.695.9786 | [email protected]