Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has lifted the ban on religious gathering which he instituted in Ondo state weeks ago due to the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Speaking at a press briefing in Akure on Wednesday May 27, the Ondo State Governor said the ban was lifted after a wide review and consultations with religious leaders and other stakeholders in the state.
Akeredolu said that while the weekly Friday Jumat services and Sunday Church services will commence in the first instance, other programmes within the week are not yet approved for take-off. Religious leaders have also been directed to ensure that they comply with all health guidelines to check the spread of the virus.
“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 general response protocols on COVID-19 nationally.
“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 the 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 while 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 and all worshippers and workers inside the centres and within the premises must wear face masks properly for the duration of the service
“Churches, Mosques and other religious centres must regularly decontaminate and sanitise the premises, facilities and equipment before and after the services.”
The Governor further stated that he won’t hesitate to immediately close down any Church, Mosque or worship centre which fails to obey the simple rule.
Akeredolu added that the state has recorded 24 cases of COVID -19 with 19 of the cases successfully treated and discharged, two deaths recorded, while three are still on admission and receiving treatment.