From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has issued fresh guidelines for church services and other religious programmes, due to the emergencies of second wave of COVID-19 across the country.
CAN, in a statement released in Abuja, yesterday, said the new guidelines was in line with the advisory of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
CAN’s General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, who signed the statement, said that changes/additions to the earlier guidelines became necessary following the significant rise in daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 and deaths too.
He said: “In addition to previous guidelines, churches must ensure that no one is allowed entry in the church without face mask and all worshippers, including the worship leaders must wear face masks. There should be no exceptional cases. People who are sick or too old should stay at home, while temperature screening are done at every entry point to the Church.”
“Churches must ensure adequate ventilation in halls of worship. Windows, and doors must be fully opened for air to circulate in and out freely, and if possible avoid the use of air conditioners
“Attendance should not exceed one-third of the sitting capacity of every church. Alternatively, churches can make use of their educational facilities and multi purpose halls to avoid overcrowding in the main church auditorium.
“Church auditorium should be clearly marked such that people sit and maintain two metres distance from each other. There should be no form of direct contact. Practices such as handshakes as peace signs are discouraged.
“Sanitisers should be made available in all the rest rooms, while practices that require sharing of materials should be limited. Those using microphones must sanitise their hands before use, and worship places should be disinfected routinely, before and after worship.
“Churches must ensure separate entry and exit points to avoid overcrowding at entry and exit points. Every church should make use of medical personnel to assist, and there should be consistent prayers for the end of the pandemic.”
CAN, thus, encourage churches and Christians to adhere strictly to the protocols, assuring them that the pandemic will soon become history.