By Florence Onuegbu/Lagos
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has announced the reopening of religious centres from 19 June.
But the gesture comes with several strings: the churches and mosques will only operate at 40 percent capacity.
Weekly services and vigils are banned. And no worship centre, no matter how big would be allowed to accommodate more than 500 worshippers at a session.
He said that congregational worship in mosques would resume Friday June 19, while Christians would resume on Sunday, June 21.
Sanwo-Olu announced this at State House, Marina, during a media briefing on the update of the management of Coronavirus and the second phase of the gradual easing of C0VID-19 lockdown in the state.
He said that the religious houses are only to run Sunday services for churches and Friday Jumat for Muslims.
”As we all know, mass gathering during COVID-19 pandemic can be of serious public health consequences.
“And there are documented evidence that mass gathering can increase the spread of the virus.
”That is why we will from 14 days time, precisely from the 19th of June for our Muslim worshippers, from the 21st of June, for our Christian worshipers, be allowing all of our religious bodies to open at the maximum of 40 per cent of their capacity.
”We know that these places of worship have different sizes, but even if your 40 per cent capacity is really so large, you cannot have beyond 500, and keeping that 40 percent maximum capacity is really, really so, so important.
”We will be encouraging people to have more than one service and to ensure that they keep their premises clean, disinfect before another round of worship can take place,” the governor said.
Sanwo-Olu also said those below 15 years of age and above 65 years old would not be allowed into places of worship, due to their vulnerability to the virus.
He also urged all religious houses to adhere strictly to safety measures like fumigating and keeping the premises clean, making sure worshipers wear face mask before entering, use of sanitiser, among others.
Sanwo-Olu said that the Lagos State Safety Commission would not only register but would be going round to check level of compliance.
According to him, the state government has the discretion to stop or restrict worship where there is no compliance.
Hotels and hospitality businesses are also free to open, while restaurants will open for take-away services only.
However, gyms, spas, cinema, event centres, night clubs and all other such services remain closed and inter-state journeys remain banned.
Sanwo-Olu said primary and secondary schools would remain shut because the government was still consulting with all stakeholders in the sector.
He added that the government would come up with guidelines for their re-opening in two weeks time, and that the on-line classes for tertiary institutions continued.
Sanwo-Olu said that from Monday, June 8, civil servants on levels 13-14 would resume with their senior colleagues on level 15 and above, while levels 1-12 were still to work from home.
All other guidelines are as announced by Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Monday, June 1 and they include: curfew from 10p.m.-4a.m., full re-opening of banks and other financial institutions, offices and business places to operate from 7a.m.-6p.m.
He added that manufacturing companies were permitted to do night shift but to make arrangement for movement of staff.
The governor admonished residents to wear face mask always as the level of compliance on wearing of face mask was not encouraging.
He urged Lagosians to self-regulate or government would regulate them.