The Lagos State government has reviewed some of the protocols being used to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state, thereby setting a new date for the commencement of religious activities.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday at the Government House in Lagos, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced that the government would be relaxing the measures in the coming days.
He explained that this included the approval to reopen religious centres in the next two weeks, although it would come with some conditions.
“Dear Lagosians, we have completed an extended first phase and now, we are entering the second phase of our easing of the lockdown, in line with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and NCDC protocols on ease of lockdown,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He added, “From 14 days’ time, precisely from June 19 for our Muslim worshippers and from June 21 for our Christian worshippers; we will be allowing all of our religious bodies to open at a maximum of 40 per cent of their capacity and we will be working with them as expected.”
For places of worship with large crowds, the governor insisted that worshippers at such centres must not exceed 500 during a session.
He, however, noted that the government has allowed authorities to conduct more than one service but must maintain proper hygiene of the environment.
According to Sanwo-Olu, only Friday and Sunday services should be held for now and all other regular services, including night vigils, must be put on hold.
“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 this virus,” he stated.
The governor noted that the PTF had on Monday released a set of guidelines to further ease the lockdown but asked the state governments to build on the foundational guidelines issued and implement them to existing local realities.
In view of this, he announced that hotels and other hospitality businesses could reopen, and restaurants outside hotels were permitted to open for takeaway services only.
He explained that the government has engaged critical stakeholders in the last two weeks, including traditional rulers, various religious leaders, and members of the organised private sector in the state.
Sanwo-Olu said, “We have now granted offices and private businesses (excluding the prohibited one); all of our organised private sector and manufacturing concerns will now operate and open from 7am-6pm.
“There is a strategy to encourage them run shifts and other flexible hours within their facilities.”
He also announced that all banks can now begin full operation, adding that government officers on Levels 13 and 14 should resume work while those on Levels 1 to 12 would stay back home until further notice.