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Sunday, August 02, 2020

Worship centres: Lagos opens public gathering, increases to 50 persons, urges for virtually - ITREALMS

ITREALMS:

The Lagos State government has increased the numbers permissible for public gatherings from 20 to 50 persons, urging others to join virtually, reports 
ITREALMS.

This is coming in the wake of Lagos’ decision to open places of worship beginning from Friday, August 7 for Muslim worshipers and Sunday, August 9, for Christian counterparts.

Confirming this, the Executive Governor, Lagos State and Incident Commander for the state, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, told 
ITREALMS at the weekend that these important decisions were in line with the ongoing objective of calibrating an effective balance between the competing demands of safeguarding lives and enabling livelihoods.

“First, we are increasing the permissible capacity for public gatherings from 20 to 50 persons. This applies to a wide range of events, from AGMs to funerals,” he said.

Warning Lagosians, to note that there is documented evidence that mass gatherings could increase the spread of infectious diseases, such as coronavirus, Sanwo-Olu urged them to maintain all standard prevention and control measures by strict adherence to physical distancing, mandatory temperature checks and use of masks in public places, regular disinfection of premises, and strong personal hygiene.

All worshippers, Gov. Sanwo-Olu said, would only be allowed only at 50 per cent of their capacity, stressing that churches whose main worship days fall on Saturdays, are permitted to hold their services on Saturdays, subject to the same guidelines as churches holding services on Sundays.

“We must reiterate that Places of worship are only permitted to have their regular once-a-week services on the designated days. For the avoidance of doubt, churches and mosques are not permitted to have other services or fellowships outside of their main weekly services.

“Places of Worship are allowed to schedule multiple services, on their designated worship days, if necessary, as well as encouraged as many people as possible to participate using virtual means,” he said.

Additionally, he outlined some conditions to be met and fulfilled by all religious centres and places of worship that are planning to reopen.

“a) Only regular services / gatherings are permitted to hold. Night Vigils and other non-regular programmes remain prohibited until further notice.

b) Attendees over the age of sixty-five (65) years are strongly discouraged from attending worship services c) Consider holding services and gatherings in large, well-ventilated areas or outdoors, as circumstances and faith traditions allow.

d) “No Facemask, No Entry” policy must be maintained throughout the duration of the services.

e) Regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities must be carried out to maintain clean and hygienic environments before and after every service.

f) Appropriate screening equipment for COVID-19 symptoms such as a contactless temperature check must be available for entrants into the facility.

g) It is mandatory to provide hand-washing facilities and sanitizers at the entry and exit point of the premises.

h) National emergency response phone lines must be displayed prominently on the premises.

i) Handshakes, Hugs and “high fives” are not permitted at services or gatherings, and this should be emphasized by displaying appropriate signs prominently.

j) The use of stationary collection boxes and electronic methods for collection of offering must be encouraged.”

Remmy Nweke/DoP


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