Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday ordered reopening of worship centres in the state with effect from the 7th of August, saying positivity cases of the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced in the state.
Lagos State Government had shut worship centres in the state as part of its efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the state being the epicentre of the pandemic in the country.
Giving a 17th update on the management of COVID-19 pandemic in state at the Lagos House, Marina yesterday, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the decision was informed by the decrease in the positivity rate of COVID -19 management in the state in the past two weeks.
He said, “Dear Lagosians, having carefully reviewed the current scenario in Lagos State, we have taken some important decisions 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. Lagosians should please continue to 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: physical distancing, mandatory temperature checks and use of masks in public places, regular disinfection of premises, and strong personal hygiene.
“Places of worship in Lagos State will be allowed to open from Friday the 7th of August for our Muslim worshippers, and Sunday the 9th of August for Christian worshippers, but only at 50 per cent of their capacity. 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.”
The governor reiterated that places of worship are only permitted to have their regular once-a-week services on the designated days, warning that churches and mosques are not permitted to have other services or fellowships outside of their main weekly services.
“In addition, the following conditions must be met and fulfilled by all Religious Centres and Places of Worship that are planning to reopen: Only regular services / gatherings are permitted to hold. Night Vigils and other non-regular programmes remain prohibited until further notice. Attendees over the age of sixty-five (65) years are strongly discouraged from attending worship services; Consider holding services and gatherings in large, well-ventilated areas or outdoors, as circumstances and faith traditions allow.”
He added that, “No Facemask, No Entry” policy must be maintained throughout the duration of the services. Regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities must be carried out to maintain clean and hygienic environments before and after every service. Appropriate screening equipment for COVID-19 symptoms such as a contactless temperature check must be available for entrants into the facility. It is mandatory to provide hand-washing facilities and sanitizers at the entry and exit point of the premises. National emergency response phone lines must be displayed.
“Handshakes, Hugs and “high fives” are not permitted at services or gatherings, and this should be emphasized by displaying appropriate signs prominently. The use of stationary collection boxes and electronic methods for collection of offering must be encouraged. The flow of human traffic in and out of these places of worship must be conducted in an organized and orderly manner.
The governor also said Restaurants will now be permitted to open for in-dining services, from the 14th of August, on the proviso that they maintain a 50 per cent occupancy capacity, and have also obtained a Provisional Safety Compliance Certificate through the registration portal of the Lagos State Safety.