COVID-19: Federal Government Unveils Guidelines For Reopening Of Churches, Mosques

SGF Boss Mustapha OnoBello

The Federal Government has shared the guidelines for places of worship to resume activities in the country, according to The Punch.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, stated this on Tuesday during a briefing in Abuja. According to him, the duration for worship centres must not be more than an hour.

“Churches to open from 5am and close by 8pm,” Aliyu said while rolling out the guidelines. “For churches, each service should be for a maximum of an hour with an interval of thirty minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.”

He said, “In view of the widespread community transmission of COVID-19, it is important that places of worship operate in a safe manner to ensure the protection of public health, avoid outbreaks and safeguard the health of the vulnerable members of the population.

“To this end, the following guidelines have been developed as a minimum set of standards that have to be complied with for places of worship to safely operate nationwide. They have been developed by the PTF in liaison with the leadership of religious communities in the country and should be used as a baseline for states to allow these activities.

“It is important to note that due to the nature of religious congregations, places of worship are particularly recognised to have a major potential for spreading COVID-19 infections amongst worshippers. Therefore places of worship that are not able to comply with these measures should not be allowed to operate by state governments.

“The following measures are recommended; All places of worship must sign up to full compliance with all aspects of non-pharmaceutical interventions required to protect the public from COVID-19 including but not limited to ensuring the supply of running water and soap, alcohol sanitisers at entry and exit points in all high contact locations including bathrooms.”

How, the team also advised that it is safer to worship at home. Aliyu said, “There is no doubt that COVID-19 is still around. There is no doubt that it is safer to stay at home and there is no doubt that it safer for you to worship at home.

“The PTF is providing safety advisories in the event that you need to fulfill your spiritual need and you cannot do it at home but we are not making recommendations for people to go to places of worship.

“We are providing advisories to enable them do so safely. It is still better to do your worship at home. COVID-19 has not gone away. You only need to look at the numbers. We are in the exponential phase of the illness.

“We have move as a country to third place in Africa and because of our population, we could also move to the second or the first. So, now is the time to continue to take precautionary measures. It is not time to relax.”

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