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Ogun State Government on Friday clarified its position on the full re-opening of worship centres in the State.

A statement by Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Kunle Somorin, said the re-opening is subject to full observance of all COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.

“While churches and mosques can now have their regular services and programmes – both weekly and mid-week activities, they must be carefully done in line with the deliberation, consideration and resolution, reached before with the leaders of Christain and Muslim faiths.

For the purpose of emphasis, Somorin, restated that some of the elements of the guidelines are as follows:

All congregants must wear their face masks appropriately (that is, No facemask, No entry);
Adequate provision of running water;
Worship centres should be adequately cleaned and decontaminated before and after services;
Household bleach solution / equivalent should be adequately prepared for disinfectations;
There should be adequate provision and supervision of multiple Veronica Buckets for handwashing (fully automated handwashing machines are preferable);
There should be provision of alcohol-based sanitiser which must be used before and after service;
Worship centres should provide adequate toilet facilities with water;
Muslims are advised to perform ablution at home and go to Mosque with their personal praying mats;
Qualified Medical Practitioners or trained personnels should check the temperature of worshippers with infrared thermometer before allowing them to enter worship centres;
There should be adequate medical support for sick persons;
All services on Friday/Sunday and other week days must adhere strictly to COVID-19 Guidelines;
There should be pre-designated standing position/sitting positions to ensure not less than 2 meter spacing;
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;
The use of Air-conditioners should be discouraged while worship centres should be well ventilated with the use of fans;
There should not be any handshakes/hugs by worshippers;
Proper awareness of the susceptibility of the aged and people with signs of ill-health should be adequately created among worshippers at all times;
Constant sensitisation of COVID-19 and its dangers should be included in sermon and goodwill messages;
Provision of isolation rooms is mandatory in all worship centres or facilities;
Religious services and events should be recorded with digital camera for record purposes;
Worship Centres and facilities with more than 200 worshippers in a given service must seek further clearance with the State Government;
At all times, there should be effective Entry and Exit Management Procedures in each of the Worship Centres;
Administration of Holy Communion should be devoid of sharing of any item and must follow COVID-19 protocols.
The Government appealed to the people, particularly our religious leaders to ensure that they adhere strictly to the protocols as have been agreed upon. We all agreed on these protocols to open the worship centres for many reasons.

“Much as we encourage freedom of worship, churches and mosques are not to open for rowdy ceremonies which can promote community transmission of COVID-19 and or any other communicable diseases and also bring avoidable death. We will rather want our worship centres to be venues of solemnisation of matrimonies; christening of new-borns; venues of thanksgivings and praise-worship to the greatness of God. This explains our cautious, consultative, inclusive, and collaborative approach to reopening of our worship centres,” the statement concluded.

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