The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has released guidelines for the reopening of churches and mosques.
The PTF National Coordinator, Dr. Sani Aliyu, released the guidelines at the body’s briefing on Tuesday despite its advice against congregational worship for now.
In the guidelines, places of worship were asked to comply with measures such as the mandatory use of face masks by worshippers, provision of hand washing spots at the entrances, use of hand sanitisers with at least 60 per cent alcohol content and mandatory temperature checks.
The PTF also mandated that facilities be structured in a way that physical distancing can be observed and as much as possible, congregants avoid activities such a hugging, shaking or kissing.
It also noted that church/mosque volunteers, including ushers, choir and security, that have underlying illnesses should not be allowed to serve, while the time for worship services should not be more than one hour.
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.
Facilities should be structured in a way that physical distancing is observed.
Worshippers are advised not to touch each other in a manner such as hugging, shaking, kissing etc.
Families are advised to stay together during the worship services.
Church/mosque volunteers (ushers, choir, security etc.) that have underlying illnesses should not be allowed to serve.
The time for worship services should not be more than one hour.
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 30 mins between the services to allow worshippers wash their hands or to disinfect the centers.
Mosques are to open 20 mins before prayers and close 20 mins after prayers.
No Islamiya schools.
Prayer sections should be staggered.
Worship centers should have different entry and exit points.
No social gatherings before or after services.
Business outlets at worship centers should remain closed.
The elderly above 55 are advised to observe their worship services at home.
Churches/Mosques should improve their environmental hygiene.
Windows should be left open during services, as it’s more dangerous to hold services in enclosed places.
Open-air services are preferable.
There should be frequent cleaning of centers.
Surfaces should be cleaned with diluted bleach.
Worshippers with COVID19 symptoms should not go to places of worship.
Churches/Mosques should keep record of staff and worshippers for contact tracing purposes.
Persons identified with high temperature after a temperature check should be turned back.
It is better to stay at home and worship than to go to worship centers.