By Vera Anyagafu
Churches and Mosques in Lagos state will reopen Friday, August 7 and Sunday August 9, respectively.
This is as declared by the state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also increased the worship centers gathering capacity from 20 to 50 persons.
The governor said this is part of strategy to ease the lockdown imposed to flatten coronavirus in the state.
Muslims and Christian faith would be allowed to reopen their houses but only at 50 per cent of their capacity and 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, governor Sanwo-Olu said.
He also said that both worship places would only be permitted to have their regular once-a-week services on the designated days and for the avoidance of doubt are not permitted to have other services or fellowships outside of their main weekly services.
In other words, they are permitted to schedule multiple services, on their designated worship days and if necessary, encourage as many people as possible to participate in virtual worship.
The governor also rolled out measures, which included physical distancing, mandatory temperature
checks, no vigils, compulsory use of masks, avoidance of non-regular services, regular disinfection of premises, and maintainable of strong personal hygiene, as part of conditions to be met by both faith.
In addition, attendees over the age of sixty-five (65) years are strongly discouraged from attending worship services and policy of ‘No Facemask, No Entry’, must be maintained throughout the duration of the Services, including also, regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities.
And just as much as appropriate screening equipment for COVID-19 symptoms such as contactless temperature check must be available for entrants into worship centers, so shall mandatory hand-washing, use of hand sanitizers, display of national emergency response phone lines, use of stationary collection boxes or electronic methods for collection of offerings, avoidance of handshakes, hugs, and high fives must be strictly adhered to, the governor emphasised
And while preparing reopening, the governor advised they should keep in mind that there is documented evidence that mass gatherings can increase the spread of infectious diseases, such as coronavirus, as such, all standard prevention and control measures must be strictly adhered to.