The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State has written Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai to consider reopening of worship places in its next phase of COVID-19 lockdown relaxation.
CAN, in a letter addressed to Kaduna Deputy Governor and Chairperson, Standing Committee on COVID-19, Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, came up with an 18-points worship guidelines in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, to be adopted when churches are reopened,
The letter signed by Kaduna CAN chairman, Rev. Joseph Hayab, said: “Our association notes with high regards the various recommendations and steps taken by the state government through the Standing Committee towards finding a lasting solution to the spread of the pandemic which is judged to be credible and commendable by reasonable citizens of the state.
“The state government through the recommendations of your Standing Committee had made Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and in your recent review announced Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as days of relaxing lockdown.
“We are anticipating that your future adjustment of relaxing of the lockdown will take into consideration days for religious worship.
“In-view of the above, we wish to forward to you our suggested guidelines for worship regulations in accordance with the protocol of COVID-19.”
Among the guidelines are: “Churches will disinfect their premises first before they are re-opened for services.
“Churches will provide alcoholic based sanitisers, temperature readers, soap and water in their premises to be supervised by medical professionals in the church.
“Every worshipper must either use soap to wash their hands or apply sanitisers.
“The temperature of every worshipper must be taken before admission into the church and people with the high temperature will not be allowed into the church but be advised to go and see their doctors.
“Every worshipper must wear facemask.
“Worship leaders shall be made wear hand cloves if they are to handle equipment such as the microphone.
“Worship leaders shall put on face mask to cover their mouth and nose when they speak through the microphone.
“Worshippers shall be required to avoid joining public transport, therefore, shall be enjoined to worship near home, within walking distance.
“Worshippers who have to travel far to church will be enjoined to make use of personal means of transport.
“Alternatively, Churches would be enjoined to provide transport for members without means of transport in adherence to the social distancing rules.
“Social distancing will be observed in the sitting arrangement with one-meter gap between two worshippers.
“Every worship service shall not exceed one hour. There will be a gap of 25 or 30 minutes between one service and another where there are multiple services to avoid crowd.
“Churches can make use of classrooms and multipurpose halls for services where available, especially in big churches to accommodate more worshippers at a go.
“TV circuit and speakers can be used for those who are not inside the main auditorium.”
Others are: “Handshaking and hugging shall be avoided before, during and after the service.
“Churches observing Holy Communion service will use separate cups for each participant.
“CAN in the State and Local Government branches will constitute a committee together with law enforcement agencies in their area to enforce full compliance. Such civilian compliance officials should be given backing by the governments to apprehend those who contravene the worship regulations and hand them over to law enforcement agents.
“Prayers will be offered to God for a speedy end of COVID-19 and quick recovery of all that are afflicted by the pandemic. Prayers will also be offered for those frontline workers for divine protection.”