This video and article were published by WFAA and produced by Tiffany Liou and Jake Harris.
Because of the COVID-19 outbreak and community spread in Dallas County, the decision was made to cancel Friday prayers at all the mosques in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
This has never happened before.
On Friday afternoon, the parking lot of Valley Ranch Islamic Center was empty.
“It’s unprecedented,” said Imam Omar Suleiman. “This is a pretty surreal thing to see on a Friday for us.”
Normally, cars would line the streets as people head to the mosque for Jummah prayer.
“The Friday congregational prayer is unique in that it has to be done in congregation,” said Suleiman.
Coronavirus is impacting many religious organizations across North Texas. See below for a more comprehensive list of organizations that have been impacted.
Catholic Diocese of Dallas
On Friday, March 13, Bishop Edward Burns announced the Catholic Diocese of Dallas is suspending all public masses until March 30, 2020 due to public health concerns.
And for the first time, Gateway Church also canceled in-person services for the weekend. Instead, an online-only service was pre-recorded. About 150 leaders were in the church that fits 4,100 people, spread out across the seats for social distancing.
“We’ve never had a health scare where we had to cancel services before,” Gateway Senior Pastor Robert Morris said.
He said it took them seconds to decide about the online service in order to keep the community safe.
“We want to be part of the cure and the solution, not part of the problem,” said Morris.
Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth
On Saturday, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer sent a letter to the diocese suspending in-person worship for the next two weeks.
Jewish Community Center of Dallas
On Sunday, March 15, the Jewish Community Center of Dallas announced it will be closed until Sunday, March 21.
Oak Lawn United Methodist Church
On Friday, March 13, Oak Lawn United Methodist Church announced it would be closed through March 23. Services can be livestreamed through the church’s Facebook page.