Excitement pervaded the air on Saturday as the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced the reopening of worship centres in the state from Friday August 7.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari announced total lockdown in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states over the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday March 29, 2020.
Since then, Christians and Muslims in the state had been observe their worship in their homes, as congregational worship was not allowed.
The cheering news, however, came on Saturday as the governor announced the reopening of places of worship.
Sanwo-Olu also shifted position from the earlier 20 persons maximum number of persons allowed for public gatherings and increased it to 50.
Again, he advised that the aged starting from 65 years and above should stay away, since they are among the vulnerable class.
He said, “Places of worship in Lagos will now be opened from Friday, the 7th of August for our Muslim worshippers, and on Sunday, the 9th of August for our Christian worshippers.
“We will only allow 50 per cent of their maximum capacities, either at the church or at the mosque. Churches who have a Saturday worship day will also be allowed to hold worship.
“We must reiterate that places of worship have their regular once a week service at designated days. For the avoidance of doubt, there will be Friday worships for our Muslim followers and Sunday worships for our Christian followers.
“We will monitor this for the next couple of weeks and see how compliance gets as we move along. They are encouraged to have multiple services on those days but they should restrict it to those designated days of worship.
“In addition, the following conditions must also be fully met by all our religious centres; regular gatherings are permitted to hold but vigils and other services should still be on hold for now.
“We recommend and seriously appeal to our senior citizens – if you are aged 65 and above, you are still strongly advised not to attend these places of worship. Please stay back at home.”
Sanwo-Olu also urged worshippers to observe the wearing of face masks and disinfection of the facilities to maintain proper hygienic environment.
He said, “We should still ensure that face masks policy are maintained throughout the duration of the services. They should ensure that regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities are carried out to maintain a clean and hygiene environment before, during and after the services.”
“It is mandatory to provide handwashing facilities and hand sanitisers at the various worship places. Handshakes, hugs, high-fives are not permitted during gatherings and should be emphasised and displayed at the various places of worship.”
Worshippers were even advised to consider worshipping in well ventilated and open spaces as appropriate for their faith.
Meanwhile, the Governor said “social clubs and restaurants that meet stipulated conditions will begin to open for in-dining from August 14, while, nightclubs stay shut.”