Ekiti State Government has shifted the reopening of places of worship in the state to August 14 following alleged inability of the worship centres to meet the prescribed conditions for reopening.
Health Commissioner, Dr Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, who reiterated commitment of the state government to safety of lives and property, said, “the government will leave no stone unturned in the enforcement of the regulations on the reopening of worship places in the state.”
The mosques and churches, shut down since March, were billed to reopen for worship once a week on Fridays for Muslims, effective from July 17 and once a week on Sundays, effective from July 19 for Christians.
But the Muslims, under the aegis of Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Ekiti State chapter, suspended the reopening of all major mosques across the state since all the safety protocols could not be met within the timeframe stipulated by the government.
Yaya-Kolade said in a statement on Friday that a communiqué from the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ekiti State chapter “is indicative of the fact that the worship centres have yet to be ready to comply with the conditions set out by government for the reopening of the worship centres.”
Consequently, she said the August 14 date was “to give the worship centres enough time to meet the prescribed conditions for reopening.”
The state government had said only the worship centres that met the stipulated COVID-19 guidelines issued with the certificate of fitness would be allowed to reopen.
Yaya-Kolade reiterated that the guidelines included that children between one and 12 years as well those above 65 years should stay away from the worship centres; maximum of two hours for the congregational service once a week and possession of infrared thermometres for the testing of congregants.
Others included social distancing of two metres in the sitting arrangements of congregants and fumigation of the worship centres with certificate of fumigation from the Ministry of Environment at no cost, provision of running water in front of buildings to ensure regular hand washing, use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and wearing of face masks.