Four months after religious centres were shutdown in Ogun state, following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Dapo Abiodun, Friday lifted the ban on closure of worship centres.
The governor who gave the order for the reopening of worship centres in a statement, personally signed by him, also canceled the weekend lockdown in the state.
He insisted that there must be more than 200 worshippers in a service while services must not exceed one and a half hour.
Governor Abiodun had two weeks ago announced Friday, August 14 and Sunday, August 16 as tentative dates for the reopening of worship centres after considering the report of the committee setup by the state on the reopening of worship centres.
The committee comprises the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN); the League of Imams and Alfas and government representatives.
He said, the decision was in line with agreement reached by the committee set up to develop guidelines for reopening of the religious centres.
The governor said, “After thorough deliberation, consideration and resolution, we decided to reopen the worship centres with effect from Friday 14th August, 2020 as indicated in my last address.
“I am delighted to note that reports reaching us indicate varying but encouraging level of preparedness by the Worship Centres. Therefore, today, Friday, 14th August is hereby confirmed for the commencement of operations of the Worship Centres, subject to the guidelines.
“It is of great importance that all stakeholders fully comply with the agreed guidelines, so that, together, we can further flatten the curve of this pandemic”.
The governor, however rolled out 20 guidelines for religious centres, some of which include: compulsory use of face masks for congregants, decontamination of worship centres before and after services, provision of alcohol-based hand sanitisers which must be used before and after service; and provision of infrared thermometers.
Other guidelines are: Muslims are advised to perform ablution at home and go to Mosque with their personal praying mats, qualified medical practitioners or trained personnel should check the temperature of worshippers with infrared thermometer before allowing them to enter worship centres, among others.
According to the governor, as at Thursday, August 13, the state had screened 7,122 persons for COVID-19, while 1,521 cases have been recorded.
He added that, 1,288 persons had been treated and discharged with 24 fatalities; while 206 were still receiving medical attention.