Lagos reopens churches, mosques effective Aug 7

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu (middle)

The Lagos State government has said it is reopening worship centres in the state effective August 7, 2020.

Worship centres in Lagos Stage had been shut since March consequent upon the coronavirus pandemic that forces a global lockdown.

Countries all over the world including Nigeria had adopted locking down of public spaces as part of measures to curtail the spread of the novel Covid-19 disease.

Earlier before now, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 for the reopening of churches and mosques in the country in June but the Lagos State government insisted that worship centres remained shut.

Lagos State had for several days, topped the national daily counts of Covid-19 infections, and according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as of Friday night, Lagos had recorded over 15,000 Covid-19 infections and about 200 associated fatalities, the highest by a state in the country.

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But, a nouncing at a briefing on Saturday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said: “Places of worship in Lagos will now be opened from Friday, the 7th of August for our Muslim worshippers, and on Sunday, the 9th of August for our Christian worshippers.

He, however, advised religious leaders to consider holding services in open spaces and well-ventilated areas “as circumstances of faith and tradition permit”.

Sanwo-Olu further said: “We will only allow 50 per cent of their maximum capacities, either at the church or at the mosque. Churches who have a Saturday worship day will also be allowed to hold worship.

“We must reiterate that places of worship have their regular once a week service at designated days. For the avoidance of doubt, there will be Friday worships for our Muslim followers and Sunday worships for our Christian followers.

“We will monitor this for the next couple of weeks and see how compliance gets as we move along. They are encouraged to have multiple services on those days but they should restrict it to those designated days of worship.

“In addition, the following conditions must also be fully met by all our religious centres; regular gatherings are permitted to hold but vigils and other services should still be on hold for now.

“We recommend and seriously appeal to our senior citizens – if you are aged 65 and above, you are still strongly advised not to attend these places of worship. Please stay back at home.”

“We should still ensure that no face masks policy are maintained throughout the duration of the services. They should ensure that regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities are carried out to maintain a clean and hygiene environment before, during and after the services.

“It is mandatory to provide handwashing facilities and hand sanitisers at the various worship places. Handshakes, hugs, high-fives are not permitted during gatherings and should be emphasised and displayed at the various places of worship,” he added.