SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Ensuring the city’s Muslims don’t have to choose between prayers and vaccinations, San Francisco officials announced Monday that the city is providing prayer rooms at high volume vaccination sites.
Ramadan extends from April 12 to May 12 and is considered the holiest of days for Muslims. Those who follow the religion must pray five times a day and fast between dawn and sunset during Ramadan. With San Francisco’s Muslim population numbering around 7,000 residents, officials such as District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney and Human Rights Commissioner and Interfaith Council Board Member Hala Hijazi worked on finding away so religious responsibilities wouldn’t hinder the city’s vaccination efforts.READ MORE: 8 People Displaced by House Fire in San Lorenzo
The city now provides rooms at the Market and Moscone Center vaccination sites for residents to step aside from vaccination lines in order to pray and keep their place in line. Open to all faiths, the prayer rooms have rugs and are large enough to accommodate social distancing, while also providing privacy.READ MORE: UPDATE: Estrada Fire Near Watsonville 60% Contained; All Evacuation Warnings Lifted
“San Francisco is well ahead of the national average when it comes to vaccinating our residents and we’re going to continue doing everything we can to make sure that everyone has access to the vaccines in a way that is easy and accessible,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “We want everyone observing Ramadan to still be able to pray while going through the process of getting vaccinated, and I want to thank all of the community members and City staff who have worked to make this possible.”
Officials from San Francisco’s Department of Public Health and Department of Emergency Management, who helped implement the prayer room plan, are also providing literature written in English and Arabicabout vaccination services during hours when people will not be fasting.MORE NEWS: Hayward Woman Killed in Horrific Brentwood Crash
“The role of emergency management is to provide resources and remove obstacles to ensure an effective response to an emergency,” says Mary Ellen Carroll, executive director of the Department of Emergency Management. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Department of Emergency Management has prioritized equitable access to what our communities need to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Providing this safe and grounding space for prayer while getting vaccinated is one example of how our city’s response to COVID-19 strives to make access to the vaccine as comfortable and culturally competent as possible.”