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Churches To Reopen In Ogun State, August

Churches To Reopen In Ogun State, August

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State says “Friday, 14th August, 2020, has been tentatively fixed for the reopening of worship centres.”
In an address delivered at his office on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, the Governor said: “We have continued to engage the leaderships of the two religious bodies, as represented by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the League of Imams and Alfas on the modalities for the reopening of the religious houses. And, we thank them for their understanding, support and solidarity. In fact, the committee on the consideration of reopening of worship centres has been enlarged to include the Honourable Commissioners for Health; Environment; and, Physical Planning. This committee has continued to interface with the leadership of different religious centres at several times. I must say that this has yielded positive results.
We now have Guidelines for the reopening of our worship centres jointly developed and agreed with our religious leaders. This was finalized after collaborative and inclusive meeting with the religious institutional representatives and made available on Monday, 27th July, 2020. It is in our collective interest to fully comply with the Guidelines so that, together, we can further flatten the curve of this pandemic. For the avoidance of doubt, some of the elements of the guidelines 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 disinfected 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 at home and go 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 points to ensure not less than 2 meter distancing;
* xiii. The duration of religious services should not be more than one and a half hours. In addition, same duration of one and a half hours must be observed as intervals, where there are multiple services;
* xiv. The use of Air-conditioners should be discouraged while worship centres should be well ventilated with the use of fans;
* xv. There should not be any handshake/hugs by worshippers;
* xvi. Proper awareness of the susceptibility of the aged and people with signs of ill-health should be adequately created among worshippers at all 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 in all worship centres or facilities;
* xix. Religious services and events should be recorded with digital camera for record purposes;
* xx. Worship Centres and facilities with more than 200 worshippers in a given service must further seek concurrence with the State Government committee;
* xxi. At all times, there should be adequate ventilation and effective Entry & Exit Management Procedure in each of the Worship Centres;
* xxii. Administration of holy communion should be devoid of sharing of any item and must follow COVID-19 protocols.
We urge our religious leaders to ensure that they abide by the measures mutually agreed upon and rolled out. As Government, we will not hesitate to impose severe sanctions, including, but not limited to lockdown, on any Worship Centre that fails to comply with the laid down guidelines. It is important to note that all religions make provision for obedience to God and the authorities of the land. The Holy Qur’an stipulates in chapter 4, verse 59 that “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the messenger and those in authority among you…” The same message is also preached in the Holy Bible. According to the English Standard Version (ESV), Roman 13, verses 1-7, “let everybody be subject to the governing authorities… Those that exist have been instituted by God… those who resist will incur judgement”. We pray that God in His infinite mercies will continue to answer our prayers and help us with a cure to this pandemic. Amin!”
“For clarity, the existing guidelines to combat COVID-19 in the State still subsist. These include:
i. All 5 working days in the week (Monday to Friday) are still opened for businesses and other economic transactions with only Saturday and Sunday as lockdown days until 14th August, 2020;
ii. Observation of dusk-to-dawn curfew as directed by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) i.e. between 10.00pm and 4.00am daily;
iii. Wearing of face masks in the public is now compulsory. Therefore, I hereby invoke powers conferred on me by Regulation 7 of the Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations No. 2 of 2020 (the Regulations), made pursuant to section 33 of the Public Health Law of Ogun State (the Law), to mandate the compulsory wearing of face masks by all persons in public as part of measures to prevent the rapid spread of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Failure to do so is punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment under Regulation 8 of the Regulations and section 68 of the Law;
iv. Only one passenger is still allowed for motorcycles and two passengers only for tricycles;
v. Taxi cabs and buses still have 60% limitation on their carrying capacity and the measure to arrest and impound any driver that contravenes this in our State is still in force;
vi. The COVID-19 Task Force in markets must continue to ensure physical distancing, availability of hand washing facilities, and use of gloves and facemasks for traders;
vii. Decontamination will continue in our markets and other public places;
viii. Limitation of all gatherings to a maximum number of 20, is still in effect till 14th August, 2020;
ix. We have commenced the process of certifying Gyms, arcades, swimming pools, barber-shops, spas, beauty Salons, and all public parks, and golf courses including those in private residential estates with a view to reopening them in the foreseeable future;
x. Event centres, bars, casinos, cinemas, and night clubs are still under lockdown;
xi. Restaurants are permitted to provide only take-away services and should also ensure that there are no more than 10-15 customers at a time with physical distancing measures in place. Guidelines for eat-in services are still being fine-tuned;
xii. All industries in Ogun State must continue to comply with the “Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines for Workplaces in Ogun State to Combat COVID-19” as issued by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investments. Therefore, testing of staff for COVID-19 in all industries in the State must be sustained;
xiii. The Task Force set up to conduct random spot checks on the premises of the industries, restaurants and other business enterprises to confirm compliance is still in operation.”

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