Ogun state government reopens churches and mosques; cinemas and event centers to remain closed

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The Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, has approved the reopening of worship centres within the state.

Churches, Mosques and other places of worship within the state are closed since March this year as a part of measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus within the state.

In a statement released on Friday August 14, the governor said he took the choice after thorough deliberation, consideration and backbone with stakeholders. He also disclosed that the choice to lift the weekend’s lockdown was because of the opening of worship centres for activities.

“After thorough deliberation, consideration and determination, we decided to reopen the worship centres with effect from Friday 14th August, 2020 as indicated in my last address. This decision was made in line with an agreement reached by the committee founded to develop guidelines for reopening of the religious centres.

The Committee includes the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN); the League of Imams and Alfas and Government representatives.

I am delighted to notice that reports reaching us indicate varying but encouraging level of preparedness by the Worship Centres.

Therefore, today, Friday, 14th August is hereby confirmed for the commencement of operations of the Worship Centres, subject to the rules.”

The statement further reads

”It is of great importance that every one stakeholders fully befits the agreed guidelines, so that, together, we are able to further flatten the curve of this pandemic. For the aim of emphasis, let me restate a number of the weather of the rules which are as follows:

i. All congregants must wear their face masks appropriately (that is, No facemask, No entry);
ii. Adequate provision of running water;
iii. Worship centres should be adequately cleaned and decontaminated before and after services;
iv. Household bleach solution / equivalent should be adequately prepared for disinfectations;
v. There should be adequate provision and supervision of multiple Veronica Buckets for handwashing (fully automated handwashing machines are preferable);
vi. There should be provision of alcohol-based sanitiser which must be used before and after service;
vii. Worship centres should provide adequate toilet facilities with water;
viii. Muslims are advised to perform ablution reception and head to Mosque with their personal praying mats;
ix. Qualified Medical Practitioners or trained personnels should check the temperature of worshippers with infrared thermometer before allowing them to enter worship centres;
x. There should be adequate medical support for sick persons;
xi. All services on Friday/Sunday and other week days must adhere strictly to COVID-19 Guidelines;
xii. There should be pre-designated standing position/sitting positions to make sure not but 2 meter spacing;
xiii. The duration of non secular services shouldn’t be quite one and a half hours. additionally, same duration of 1 and a half hours must be observed as intervals, where there are multiple services;
xiv. the employment of Air-conditioners should be discouraged while worship centres should be ventilated with the utilization of fans;
xv. There mustn’t be any handshakes/hugs by worshippers;
xvi. Proper awareness of the susceptibility of the aged and other people with signs of ill-health should be adequately created among worshippers in the slightest degree times;
xvii. Constant sensitisation of COVID-19 and its dangers should be included in sermon and goodwill messages;
xviii. Provision of isolation rooms is mandatory altogether worship centres or facilities;
xix. Religious services and events should be recorded with photographic camera for record purposes;
xx. Worship Centres and facilities with quite 200 worshippers during a given service must seek further clearance with the State Government;
xxi. in the least times, there should be effective Entry and Exit Management Procedures in each of the Worship Centres;
xxii. Administration of ritual should be void of sharing of any item and must follow COVID-19 protocols.

We are therefore appealing to our people, particularly our religious leaders to make sure that they adhere strictly to the protocols as are arranged. We all agreed on these protocols to open the worship centres for several reasons.”

He warned that the regime wouldn’t hesitate to shut down any religious center if it fails to comply or adhere to the laid down protocols.

The governor announced that Event centres, bars, casinos, cinemas, and night clubs within the state are to stay closed. He added that Restaurants are permitted to supply only take-away services and will also make sure that there aren’t any quite 15 customers at a time with physical distancing measures in place.

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