Osun governor okays reopening of churches, mosques for two weeks

Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State on Wednesday held separate meetings with Christian and Muslim leaders in the state on guidelines for reopening of churches and mosques across the state for two weeks.

He disclosed that the decision to reopen worship centres partially was in response to the request by religious leaders and the resolve of the Federal Government to lift ban on religious activities.

He said the state government had prepared some guidelines that must be followed in order to forestall possible spread of the virus as a result of the reopening, adding that further actions by the government would be determined by the effect of compliance level to the guidelines by churches and mosques during the two-week period.

Reeling out some of the guidelines at the meeting held in his office at the Government Secretariat, Abere, and Government House respectively, Oyetola said only regular church services of not more than one hour and maximum of two services would be allowed, and that Jumat service including sermons and prayers must not exceed 20 minutes.

He said vulnerable individuals such as those from age 65 and above and people with underlying ailments such as tuberculosis, diabetes, among others, are to continue worshipping at their respective homes, just as he directed that all church and mosques premises be fumigated to ensure that the worship environments are free of virus and other infectious diseases.

Oyetola said: “Worshipers are to keep reasonable space in churches and mosques and no worship centres must be filled to capacity during any service and solat respectively. There should be provision of washing facilities or sanitisers for worshipers before entering the churches and mosques.

“Also, use of face mask is important, sharing of worship devices such as microphones and other musical gadgets should be discouraged. Water and food distribution during service should be discouraged.

“Worshippers must avoid exchange of banters and social distancing must be strictly observed. Windows in churches and mosques should be opened during worship for ventilation. Signage and notices should be placed at strategic locations to remind worshippers of best hygiene practices to be observed.”

He also mandated churches and mosques to provide thermometers to check temperature of worshippers, adding that whoever is with high temperature should not be allowed into the worship centres.

Oyetola added that vigils and children activities remain suspended, adding that worship centres with support of security operatives should set up task force to enforce compliance with measures put in place by the government.

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