Ondo State government has lifted the ban on religious gatherings in the state amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Akeredolu gave the order on Wednesday in Akure, Ondo State, during the weekly media briefing on COVID-19 in the state.
Disclosing that the state has recorded its second COVID-19 related death, Akeredolu stated that churches will only operate on Sundays while Mosques will be allowed to operate on Fridays.
According to the governor, he said that religious worship appears to be the last hope of both the high and low in the society hence his resolve to lift the ban on religious activities so that everyone will continue to seek the face of God over the ravaging disease.
Recall that on 23 March 2020, a ban was placed on religious activities in the state as part of measures for combating the deadly virus.
Akeredolu stated that the decision to lift the ban was reached after consultation with religious leaders in the state following the agreement that the necessary measures of preventing COVID-19 will be adhered to during meetings.
“I hereby direct the resumption of guided and syndicated religious activities throughout the state. The implementation of this resumption of activities will be gradual and systematic.
“As agreed with religious leaders, in specific terms, worship centers are to commence their main activities with effect from this Friday.
However, such approvals are not blanket and without restrictions, rather they are to be guided by the following which is derived from the general response protocols on COVID-19 nationally:
“Only weekly Friday Jumat services and Sunday Church services will commence in the first instance. Other daily programmes within the week are not yet approved for take-off.
“Religious leaders and administrators must ensure strict compliance with the social and physical distancing in places of worship. In the case of churches, not more than three people are expected to sit on a pew while the equivalent applies to the sitting positions in the mosques and other worship centres as well.
“Water and soap must be provided at all entries into the centres or halls of worship. All worshipers must be made to wash their hands in the standard pattern approved and practised since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Hand sanitizers must be provided and used by each worshipper at every entry point to the centres and at other convenient points within the premises”.
The governor, however, threatened to shut down any worship centre that fails to adhere to the laid down rules.