COVID-19: Lagos reopens churches, mosques, worshipers warned to wear mask

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu (middle)

The Lagos State government has given its indication to reopen worship centres in the state beginning from June 19.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who stated this on Thursday during a briefing at the Marina Government House, said mosques are to reopen from June 19 while churches are to begin services from June 21.

Similarly, Sanwo-Olu said hotels would be allowed to reopen while gyms, night clubs, and cinemas still remain closed.

However, the governor said the decision to reopen them would be reviewed in the next two weeks.

He also warned that religious leaders should ensure every worshipper wears face masks, maintain social distancing and high-level hygiene, adding that state government officials would visit churches and mosques unexpectedly and those found not complying would be dealt with.

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Governor Sanwo-Olu said: “There will now be restricted openings of religious houses based on compliance that we have seen and reviewed with the Safety Commission.

“From 14 days time, precisely on the 19th of June for our Muslim worshippers and from the 21st of June for our Christian worshippers, we will be allowing all of our religious bodies to open at a maximum of 40% of their capacity and we’ll be working with them as being expected by the Lagos State Safety Commission.

“But we know that these places of worship have different sizes but even if your 40% capacity is really so large, you cannot have beyond 500 worshippers at once, and keeping that maximum 40% capacity is really important.

“We will be encouraging people to have more than one service and ensure that they keep their premises clean, disinfect before another round of worship can take place.

“We will also be advising that there should only be mandatory Fridays and Sunday services. All other night vigils and services must be put on hold for now until we review our current situation.

“We will also be advising very strongly that persons below the age of 15 because of how well they walk around and difficult to hold down should be excused from the places of worship and citizens that are above the age of 65 should not be allowed into these places of worship.

“We will also advise that there should be no food sharing and communion from a common dish should be discouraged during this period.

“Sharing of kettles during ablution should be avoided, prohibited if possible.

“We also encourage the use of stationary collection boxes and electronic payments.”