The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has released a set of guidelines for the reopening of worship centres in the country.
In the new set of guidelines released by the PTF, worship centres were requested to comply with preventing measures such as the mandatory use of face masks, provision of hand-washing locations at entry points, use of alcohol based hand sanitizers, alongside compulsory temperature checks.
While recommending that worship facilities be designed in line with social distancing guidelines, the PTF advised that practices such as hugging, kissing and handshaking by worshipers be discouraged, adding that church/mosque volunteers (ushers, choir, security etc) with confirmed illnesses be prevented from playing active roles during worship sessions
The full list of guidelines is below.
1. Places of worship must comply with all non-pharmaceutical measures such as mandatory use of face mask by worshippers, hand washing spots at the entrances, hand sanitizers with at least Sixty percent alcohol content and mandatory temperature checks.
2. Facilities should be structured in a way that physical distancing is observed.
3. Worshippers are advised not to touch each other in a manner such as hugging, shaking, kissing etc.
4. Families are advised to stay together during the worship services.
5. Church/mosque volunteers (ushers, choir, security etc.) that have underlying illnesses should not be allowed to serve.
6. The time for worship services should not be more than one hour.
7. Churches/mosques with high number of worshippers can divide their services into two or three depending on the number to ensure physical distancing, and should have break of at least 30mins between the services to allow worshippers wash their hands or to disinfect the centers.
8. Mosques are to open 20mins before prayers and close 20mins after prayers.
9. No Islamiya schools.
10. Prayer sections should be staggered.
11. Worship centers should have different entry and exit points.
12. No social gatherings before or after services.
13. Business outlets at worship centers should remain closed.
14. The elderly above 55 are advised to observe there worship services at home.
15. Churches/Mosques should improve there environmental hygiene.
16. Windows should be left open during services, as it’s more dangerous to hold services in enclosed places.
17. Open-air services are preferable.
18. There should be frequent cleaning of centers.
19. Surfaces should be cleaned with diluted bleach.
20. Worshippers with COVID19 symptoms should not go to places of worship.
21. Churches/Mosques should keep record of staff and worshippers for contact tracing purposes.
22. Persons identified with high temperature after a temperature check should be turned back.
23. It is better to stay at home and worship than to go to worship centers.