The Ogun State Government on Wednesday said it is set to reopen worship centres from August 14.
Governor Dapo Abiodun, who made this known while briefing journalists in Abeokuta, however, said the religious centres must strictly follow COVID-19 measures and guidelines.
Abiodun warned that any worship centre that fails to follow all the guidelines would be sanctioned appropriately, saying even the holy books stipulate obedience to constituted authorities.
Some of the measures put in place include mandatorily wearing of face masks, sitting two meters apart, provision of hand washing facilities and worship duration of not more than one and half hours.
Others are ablution must be done from home and worshipers must take their personal praying mats, adequate provision of running water and sanitising of the premises before and after each service, among others.
Abiodun said: “We urge our religious leaders to ensure that they abide by the measures mutually agreed upon and rolled out.
“As government, we will not hesitate to impose severe sanctions, including, but not limited to, lockdown on any Worship Centre that fails to comply with the laid down guidelines.
“It is important to note that all religions make provision for obedience to God and the authorities of the land.
“Wearing of face masks in the public is now compulsory.
“Therefore, I hereby invoke powers conferred on me by Regulation 7 of the Infectious Diseases (Emergency Prevention) Regulations No. 2 of 2020 (the Regulations), made pursuant to Section 33 of the Public Health Law of Ogun State (the Law), to mandate the compulsory wearing of face masks by all persons in public as part of measures to prevent the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
“Failure to do so is punishable by up to six months imprisonment under Regulation 8 of the Regulations and Section 68 of the Law.”
On education, the governor ordered that pupils and students in terminal classes should resume on August 4 in line with the Federal Government’s directive to prepare for their examinations on August 17.
He said the state was putting in place facilities to meet COVID-19 preventive criteria and urged private and public schools to fill a Risk Assessment form to assess their readiness before resumption.
He, however, stated that with the exception of students in the exit classes, “all students in our schools would enjoy Automatic Promotion to the next class”.
He implored all parents, teachers and other stakeholders in the education sector to ensure the safety of the children, saying the state cannot afford the spread of the pandemic in schools and homes.
The governor also declared that the weekend lockdown continues until August 14.