The Lagos State Government on Thursday approved the reopening of religious centers and some businesses which were hitherto under lockdown because of the coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic.
According to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the reopening of churches, mosques and the hospitality business will take effect from June 19.
Worship centres will, however, only be allowed to conduct services on Sundays for Christians and Fridays for Muslims.
Midweek services and vigils will remain suspended.
Churches and mosques are not expected to operate beyond 40 per cent of their membership while those with large congregation where the members exceed 500, will be permitted to hold more than one service.
Governor Sanwo-Olu also said those below 15 years of age and above 65 years old should not be allowed into places of worship “because those within that age bracket are extremely very vulnerable to the pandemic”.
He also urged all religious houses to adhere strictly to safety measures like fumigating and keeping the premises clean, and making sure that worshipers wear face mask and use of sanitizer.
The Lagos State Safety Commission will register religious centres before opening and inspect their activities to check level of compliance. He added that the state government had the discretion to stop or restrict worship where there is no compliance.
A statement by Director-General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola, advised all religious and social centers (social clubs, event centres, restaurants, bars, night clubs, spas, cinemas and gyms) within the state to commence the registration process on the designated portal www.lasgsa fetyreg.com immediately.”
Giving an update relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in the state on May 17, the governor said the government was considering full reopening of the economy, including critical sectors like tourism and hospitality, sporting, event centres, cinemas, entertainment, and religious gatherings.
He said businesses in these sectors would have to undergo re-registration before reopening and that the Lagos State Safety Commission and Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) would be visiting offices and business premises to assess the level of their readiness to resume operation.
Sanwo-Olu said: “We are at a level where we are reviewing the other arms of the economy. In the coming days, we will be starting what we call Register-to-Open, which means all players in the restaurant business, event centres, entertainment, malls and cinemas will go through a form of re-registration and space management.
“There is a regulation that will be introduced to supervise this move. We will be coming to their facilities to assess their level of readiness for a future opening. I don’t know when that opening will happen in the weeks ahead, but we want these businesses to begin to tune themselves to the reality of COVID-19 with respect to how their work spaces need to look like.”
Sanwo-Olu said primary and secondary schools will remain shut because the government is still consulting with all stakeholders in the sector and will come out with guidelines for their re-opening in a fortnight, and that the on-line classes for tertiary institutions continue.
From Monday, civil servants on levels 13-14 will resume with their senior colleagues on level 15 and above, while levels 1-12 would wait.
All other guidelines as announced by PTF on Monday would be enforced. They include: curfew from 10pm-4am, full re-opening of banks and other financial institutions, offices and businesses to operate from 7am-6pm; manufacturing companies permitted to do night shift but to make arrangement for movement of staff.
Restaurants will open for take away services only, while gyms, spas, cinema, event centres, nite clubs and all other such services remain closed and inter state journeys remain banned.
The governor admonished Lagosians to wear face masks always, saying the level of compliance on wearing of masks was not encouraging, adding, “let us self-regulate ourselves, regulate your conduct or government will regulate you.”
Sanwo-Olu also said the government will deploy 570 buses on the BRT corridor on various routes from next week.