Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Saturday ordered reopening of worship centres, including mosques and churches within the state with effect from August 7, saying positive cases of COVID-19 pandemic had reduced within the state.
The government had shut worship centres within the state as a part of its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic within the state being the epicentre of the pandemic within the country.
The governor also directed that secondary schools in Lagos would reopen, as earlier communicated by the Ministry of Education, from August 3, for exit classes only, namely SS3 and Technical Studies TEC3 students only.
Governor Sanwo-Olu issued these directives while giving an update on the management of COVID-19 pandemic in state at the Lagos House, Marina, emphasizing that the choice was informed by the decrease within the positivity rate of the pandemic within the state within the past fortnight.
“Dear Lagosians, having carefully reviewed the present scenario in Lagos State, we’ve taken some important decisions in line with the continued objective of calibrating an efficient 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 is applicable to a good range of events, from AGMs to funerals. Lagosians should please still confine mind that there’s documented evidence that mass gatherings can increase the spread of infectious diseases, like coronavirus. As such, all standard prevention and control measures must be strictly adhered to: physical distancing, mandatory temperature checks and use of masks publicly places, regular disinfection of premises, and powerful personal hygiene,” he said.
According to Governor Sanwo-Olu, places of worship within the state are going to be allowed to open from Friday, the 7th of August for the Muslim faithful and Sunday, the 9th of August for Christian faithful, saying only at 50 per cent of the centres’ capacity would be allowed, adding: “Churches whose main worship days fall on Saturdays, are permitted to carry their services on Saturdays, subject to equivalent guidelines as churches holding services on Sundays.”
The governor reiterated that places of worship were only permitted to possess their regular once-a-week services on the designated days, warning that churches and mosques weren’t permitted to possess other services or fellowships outside of their main weekly services.
He added that places of worship were allowed to schedule multiple services, on their designated worship days, if necessary, also as also encouraging as many of us as possible to participate using virtual means.
“In addition, the subsequent conditions must be met and fulfilled by all Religious Centres and Places of Worship that are getting to reopen: Only regular services/gatherings are permitted to carry. 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,” the governor said.
“‘No Facemask, No Entry’ policy must be maintained throughout the duration of the services. Regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities must be administered to take care of clean and hygienic environments before and after every service. Appropriate screening equipment for COVID-19 symptoms like a contactless temperature check must be available for entrants into the power. it’s mandatory to supply hand-washing facilities and sanitizers at the entry and exit point of the premises. National emergency response phone lines must be displayed prominently.
“Handshakes, Hugs and ‘high fives’ aren’t permitted at services or gatherings, and this could be emphasized by displaying appropriate signs prominently. the utilization of stationary collection boxes and electronic methods for collection of the offering must be encouraged. The flow of human traffic in and out of those places of worship must be conducted in an organized and orderly manner,” he added.
Speaking on school reopening, Governor Sanwo-Oluh said secondary schools in Lagos would reopen, as earlier communicated by the Ministry of Education, from August 3rd, for Exit Classes only – i.e. SS3 and Technical Studies TEC3 students only, noting that this is able to allow the scholars fortnight to participate in revision classes and examinations in preparation for the forthcoming West African Examinations (WAEC), which can start on August 17, 2020.
“This will allow them a fortnight to participate in revision classes and examinations in preparation for the forthcoming West African Examinations (WAEC), which can start on August 17, 2020,” the governor said.
The governor also said restaurants would 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 had also obtained a Provisional Safety Compliance Certificate through the registration portal of the Lagos State Safety.
“Social Clubs and Recreational Centres also will now be allowed to open from the 14th of August 2020, on the condition that they need applied for and obtained a Provisional Safety Compliance Certificate through the registration portal of the Lagos State Safety Commission,” Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor warned that clubs and centres that reopened without complying with these mandatory requirements would be packed up and addressed consistent with the law.
“Note also that the closure of all Spas, Bars, Lounges, Night Clubs, Cinemas, Games Arcades remains in situ. The possible re-opening of those places are going to be further reviewed before the top of the month.
“As a government we’ll be ramping up our monitoring and enforcement work, to make sure that each one our guidelines and directives are complied with to the letter. The relevant agencies are going to be completing spot checks and random inspections of companies and facilities and defaulters are going to be sanctioned appropriately,” he said.
The governor, while expressing condolences to the families of these who had lost loved their ones in recent times to reckless and avoidable road accidents involving trailers and containers; also as accidents on our waterways, vowing that the wheel of the law would take its course as those liable for the senseless deaths would be delivered to justice.