- The advisory to churches and mosques, which was developed in liaison with the leadership of the religious community and state governments, was reeled out yesterday by the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Control, Dr. Sani Aliyu, during the task force’s media briefing in Abuja.
He said places of worship that are unable to comply with the measures should not be allowed to operate by governors.
Aliyu said the advisory was issued in the event that members of the public wanted to perform their spiritual needs and it’s impossible to carry it out at home.
He, however, insisted that it’s safer for the public to worship at home because religious places are particularly recognised to have the major potential of spreading the virus among worshippers.
The reason for this, as I said yesterday, is that there are various factors that contribute to you catching COVID-19 when you come across somebody with it. And one of the factors is the duration with that person. The longer you stay with that person, the less protected the person is in terms of face mask – or you yourself. The closer you are to the person, the higher the likelihood of catching COVID-19,” he said.
(1) Restricts Children from Churches, Mosques,
(2) Limits Service to One Hour
(3) Supply of running water, soaps and alcohol sanitisers at entry and exit points and in all high contact locations, including bathroom.
(4) Worshippers must sanitise their hands and undergo temperature checks before entry.
(5) The use of face masks is now mandatory in mosques and churches.
(6) All close contacts, including shaking of hands, hugging, kissing..discouraged.
(7) Handling out of materials and sharing of worship items, including prayer mats, musical organs, and microphone is strongly discouraged.
(8) The capacity of the facility should be limited to allow for physical distancing rules to apply. Local authorities should also be advised in terms of areas of hotspot that might require greater restriction.
(9) Church workers, attendants and Volunteers should be restricted to a certain number and none of the volunteers should have an underlying condition or be above the age of 55 years
(10) PTF also recommended limiting congregation time for places of worships, only opening for regular church and mosque services.
(11) Churches are to open from 5.00 a.m. and close by 8.00 p.m. automatically ruling out night vigils.
(12) Each church service would be for a maximum of one hour with an interval of 30 minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.
(13) Mosques may open 15 minutes before Adhan (call to prayer) and close 10 minutes after prayer for fajr, subr and asr.
(14) Prayers are to be shortened to reduce contacts between congregants.
(15) For Friday Jummat prayers, mosques are to open 20 minutes before prayers and close 20 minutes after prayers. The duration of Friday prayers, including sermons, should not exceed an hour, he said.
(16) Islamiyya schools, children’s Sunday schools and children’s activities, as well as night vigils, are to remain suspended, adding that for mosques, only five daily prayers and Friday Jummat service are permitted.
(17) Mass gatherings that make it impossible to enforce physical distancing are not allowed, while it’s advised that prayer sessions should be staggered to accommodate people.
(19) Church worshippers should be encouraged to sign up for preferred service time ,while virtual worship options should be made available.
(20) Places of worship should plan for separate entry and exit point.
(21) In addition, there should be no social gathering before and after services.
(22) Strongly objected to operation of business outlets within churches and mosques, saying they should remain closed.
(23) People with underlying conditions, such as HIV, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers and those above 55 years are advised to stay at home and consider remote participation or non-contact attendance.
(24) Places of worship should ideally be free of carpets to allow easy and regular disinfection of floors and furniture.
(25) Windows should be left open during service and preferably use non-enclosed open-air services as much as possible,”
(26) worshippers not to attend in person if they are experiencing common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath or have had close contact with an infected person in the last 14 days.