Please forward this on to all sewadars and key figures within your gurdwara or organisation

The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. Whilst the number of cases in the UK remains small, it is important that gurdwaras and other Sikh institutions and organisations to be prepared.

This email provides guidance and advice for gurdwaras and others who work in the Sikh community.

The Health Secretary has said that widespread transmission of the virus is becoming “more likely”, and the Chief Medical Officer for England has said that we have moved from the containment stage to “now mainly delay” stage.

The Government advice page can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Most people recover from the Coronavirus after having flu like symptoms for about a week. There is no vaccine as yet.

Health advice can be found here – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

The symptoms of Coronavirus are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature
  • shortness of breath

The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. If you have those symptoms, call 111 for more advice and self-isolate at home whilst tests are undertaken.

Keeping the Sangat safe

  • Make sure that there are enough soap supplies by wash basins
  • Avoid using cotton towels. Use paper towels or hand dryers instead
  • Wash any rumaals and chunniya regularly, and ask people to put rumaals/chunniya in a separate wash basket after use
  • Have posters up to encourage people to wash their hands regularly whilst at the gurdwara
  • Be aware that hand sanitizers contain alcohol, so soap and water is the best way to ensure hygiene at the gurdwara
  • Try to avoid hugs and handshakes
  • Regularly clean the area in front of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib where people will be touching their head on the floor for mattha teek
  • Regularly clean surfaces that will be touched frequently, such as door handles and the golak

Langar and Prashad

  • Sewadars are encouraged to wear disposable plastic gloves when preparing and serving langar or parshad
  • Do not touch the hands of the person receiving the langar or parshad
  • Cups and plates should be taken to be washed immediately after use
  • If someone wishes to have more langar or water/tea, they should be served in a fresh plate or glass/cup
  • If someone wishes to have additional roti/parshadey, they should be served in a fresh plate
  • If a sewadar is coughing in or near the langar preparation or serving area, they should be removed from the area immediately
  • No sewadars should be allowed in the kitchen if they are not feeling well
  • People should wash their hands before and after having langar and prashad

Older people

Older people and those with underlying health conditions are most at risk from the Coronavirus.

Many gurdwaras attract a higher proportion of older people, so please be aware of the impact on them if any issues do arise

Contingency Plans

The Coronavirus is currently not a pandemic.

If the outbreak becomes a pandemic, there is the possibility of up to 1 in every 5 people being ill at the same time. This is known as a ‘Reasonable Worse Case Scenario’. Gurdwaras and organisations are encouraged to consider what contingencies they have to continue operating as normal.

Questions to think about include:

  • Are there enough sewadars to ensure that the langar can be prepared and served?
  • What will you do if a giani becomes unwell?
  • Are there others who can step up to duties if necessary? Do you have their contact details?

Vaisakhi is also just a few weeks away, and many gurdwaras and Sikh organisations will already be planning for their Vaisakhi events. You are encouraged to consider contingency plans for Vaisakhi, including for nagar kirtans and other large-scale events.

Signage for Gurdwaras

Download a printable poster from NHS England on “Catch It, Bin It, Kill It” (PDF).

Download a printable Public Health England poster: ‘Coronavirus’ (PDF)

Regular updates will be provided over the coming weeks, so please keep an eye out for them.

If you have any questions, please email info@citysikhs.org.uk