The Federal Government of Nigeria through The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has listed the guidelines for the reopening of churches and mosques across country.
On Monday, June 1, 2020 the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 lifted restrictions on religious gatherings, weeks after they were banned to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
However, During a press briefing on Tuesday, June 2, the national coordinator of the Presidential Task Force, Sani Aliyu, advised that Nigerians should try as much as possible to continue to worship at home. Adding that places of worship are recognised as a major potential for spreading COVID-19 infection, as demonstrated in several outbreaks globally.
To curb the spread of coronavirus across the country, the PTF has developed guidelines for the reopening of Churches and Mosques.
1. Places of worship must sign up to full compliance with all aspects of non-pharmaceutical interventions required to protect the public from COVID-19, including but not limited to ensuring the supply of running water and soap, or alcohol sanitisers at all entry and exit points, and all high-contact locations including bathrooms.
2. Churches are advised to open from 5 am to 8 pm, with each service taking a maximum of one hour, with an interval of 30 minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.
3. Mosques must observe only the five daily prayers and Friday prayer services should be allowed to happen. However mosques may open 15 minutes before adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, and close 10 minutes after prayer for fajr, dhuhr, asr.
4. The PTF also noted that religious worshippers must sanitise, be subjected to temperature checks, and wear face masks before entry into places of worship.
5. Leadership of various worship centres have been directed to discourage all close contacts between worshippers including shaking hands, hugging, kissing, handing out of materials and sharing of worship instruments including prayer mats, musical organs, microphones, etc.
6. The capacity of the worship centers should be limited to allow for physical distancing of at least two metres between persons, with worship centres encouraged to consider the use of floor or surface markings to guide distancing.
7. People from the same household are also encouraged to stay together during religious worship.
8. Business outlets within the premises of places of worship remain closed.
9. There should be no social gatherings before and after worship.
The national coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 stated that religious centres that fail to comply with the guidelines should not be allowed by authorities to reopen to the public.