Letter from Greg Fell
Dear Respected Imams/Trustees/Management Committee Members
On behalf of Sheffield City Council, I would like to thank all our Muslim communities who have been celebrating Ramadan 2021 differently again this year and wish you all a safe and happy Eid Mubarak. Once again, I would like to personally thank you for your leadership and the incredible support that you have shown across this year and as we continue through the easing of lockdown and roadmap stages.
I know Eid is a special time for many people, where you would normally come together with family and friends, but unfortunately due to Covid19 people cannot come together for a second year running and celebrate as usual. Current restrictions mean Eid celebrations must only be held indoors with people in your household or bubble, or outdoors with no more than 6 people in a group or two households together. For more information on the latest rules, see the government website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do
As we move through each of the phases in the roadmap, we must all remember that Covid19 remains a part of our lives. We are going to have to keep living our lives differently to keep ourselves and others safe as we have done through the last year. We mustn’t undo the hard work of lockdown and vaccinations. Covid19 is still circulating in Sheffield and our rate, whilst low at 50 cases per 100,000, is more than double the national average of 20 per 100,000. The Sheffield vaccination programme has been going very well and to date we have vaccinated around 57% of the eligible population with their first dose and 25% of people have received their second dose. However not everyone is vaccinated yet and although the vaccines are very effective, they are not 100% effective and some people are unable to have them due to medical reasons.
The latter emphasises the importance of younger adults taking up the vaccine as this helps keep transmission low, and protects the elderly, those who are immunosuppressant and those people where the vaccine isn’t as effective. Lower rates of transmission also mean we can keep Sheffield open and prevent further lockdowns. Young people getting protected with a vaccine is a way of protecting others, since you can’t give anyone the disease if you never get it. Immunisation is not about protecting the individual — it’s about protecting society. Slowing the spread is the best way to protect everyone. Please can I ask you to communicate the importance of Covid19 vaccination in younger adults as we are now moving into the stages where we are beginning to vaccinate those under 40 in Sheffield.
As younger adults are more likely to be out and about more, at work and college/university and socialising with friends they are at an increased risk of unknowingly spreading the virus to others. Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising. Please can I also ask you to remind people to keep safe during Eid and socially distance, wear face coverings in places where this is not possible, ventilate rooms by opening windows, allowing fresh air in and wash their hands. I am depending upon you once again, whilst we will support you however we can, to ensure these messages are followed through.
People must follow national guidelines and we want to thank you and your congregations for doing your bit to reduce transmission of the virus and keep people safe.. We understand Eid 2021 will be a very different experience, The British Muslim Council has developed guidance for the delivery of Safe Eid prayers which has been produced for mosque leaders and organisers visit https://mcb.org.uk/resources/coronavirus/ In line with this guidance please can we urge you to stagger Eid prayers and deliver multiple sessions and allow time in between them to prevent overcrowding and congregating before, during and after prayers.
This will ensure the numbers of your congregation coming together at any one time remains reduced. We are asking those who are invited to have the Covid19 vaccine during Eid to please say yes. We urge people to not delay having the Covid19 vaccine – first or second dose – during Eid. The most important thing we can do to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the wider community is take-up the vaccine when offered. For those people over 40 who have not yet taken up the offer, there is still time to do so. Book through the National Booking Portal www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119. For anyone who has questions about the vaccine and needs more support there are a range of helplines now available in community languages. Please see the leaflet also attached to this email. Sheffield City Council and Public Health are here to support you and we wish you a happy and healthy Eid.
Yours sincerely Greg Fell Director of Public Health, Sheffield