Fred Itua, Abuja
Ahead of Monday’s lifting of the five-week lockdown order in Abuja, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, has unveiled stringent measures residents of the nation’s capital must adopt in the coming weeks.
In a long press statement issued on Saturday and made available to newsmen, the FCT Minister, said worship centres, schools, recreation centres and other social gatherings will not be allowed for now.
He said residents who intend to go out and transact any business, must wear a face mask and observe social distance, recommended by Government.
Residents above 65 and others with various ailments that may make them vulnerable, were also urged to remain at home until the spread in the Territory is contained.
The Minister in the statement, said residents of FCT who reside in neighbouring states like Nasarawa, Niger, Kogi and Kaduna, will not be allowed entry into Abuja until a ban on interstate movement is lifted.
Bello said security agencies have been mandated to arrest and prosecute, through the mobile courts, anyone found contravening the guidelines.
He said the FCT Administration will vigorously enforce the overnight curfew from 8:00pm to 6:00 am. He said in order to prevent possible patients of COVID-19 pandemic from coming into the Territory, the Administration will also enforce very strictly, the ban on interstate travel.
“Similarly, all workers who reside outside the FCT have been directed to remain in their respective States of residence until the ban on interstate travel is lifted,” the statement read.
“Effective Monday, 4th May 2020, all civil servants in the FCT on Grade level 14 and above are to report for work 3 times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between the hours of 8am and 2pm.
“All officers on essential duties are to carry on with their assigned responsibilities. All workers are to maintain safe distancing protocols of at least 2 meters and wear face masks at all times.
“Temperature checks and hand sanitising protocols should be strictly adhered to at all entry points and access to offices tightly controlled.
“Number of visitors and customers are to be limited to enforce social distancing guidelines. All workers who are not resident in the FCT are directed to remain in their respective States of residence until the ban on interstate travel is lifted,” the statement further read.
Bello said “Extant guidelines on market operations for sale of food items only remain in effect. Markets are to operate for two days in a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays between 8:00am and 3:00pm.
“Neighbourhood selling points will be established in various parts of the city to decongest the major markets. Wearing of face mask is mandatory to gain access to markets in addition to hand washing and sanitizing protocols.
“The above hygiene related protocols are also applicable to supermarkets and neighborhood markets. Banks are to open between the hours of 8:00am and 2:00pm and are to observe temperature checks, hand sanitising protocols as well as the use of face masks for staff and customers.
Banks are to limit access by customers to allow for safe distancing reasons and limit the number of staff working on their premises to between 30% and 50%. Residents are encouraged to patronize online banking services as much as possible.
“Extant rules regulating restaurants and eateries remain in effect. Restaurants are not open to the public and are encouraged to adopt home delivery services. Similarly, eatries are to practice the take-away system and are to maintain all hand sanitizing, face covering and safe distancing protocols.
“Pharmacies may remain open overnight and are to observe all other protocols as enunciated above. Companies involved in food processing, drug manufacturing and construction can commence operation, subject to following the approved health and safety guidelines
“Operators of these facilities are mandated to refuse access to anyone not observing the hygiene protocols.”
He added that “the extant directive on places of worship still subsists and they remain closed.
“All clubs, bars, gardens, beer parlors, recreational parks, communal sports facilities, movie theatres etc in the FCT remain closed. Ban on social congregations such as parties, weddings etc remain in force.
“Prohibition of commercial motorcycles within the FCC remain in force including Kubwa and Dutse Alhaji. Tricycles are to limit their activities to areas already designated and are allowed a maximum of 3 persons (driver and two passengers)
“Taxis are mandated to carry a maximum of 4 persons at a time (driver and 3 persons). Buses are to reduce occupancy at any time to 50% of installed capacity.
“All bus stops and motor parks are to maintain environmental hygiene and officials of the parks and bus and taxi operators should provide temperature checks and hand sanitizing points at the parks and bus stops. Face covering is also mandatory. They are to operate only between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm daily.”
He said the FCT Administration will enforce very strictly, the ban on interstate travel. He said behicles conveying goods such as agro products, petroleum products, medical supplies, relief and construction materials as well as courier and security services would be allowed entry subject to the permitted designation in the FCT.
On schools, he said: “All schools in the FCT remain closed until further notice. Schools are not permitted to commence third term operations in any form until directed otherwise by the relevant authorities.
“Schools are however encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teachings.
“Residents are once more reminded that COVID-19 can be fatal and all are hereby advised to take all prescribed measures to avoid contracting it. Persons with underlying medical conditions especially hypertension, diabetes, asthma and low immunity are advised to remain at home. Equally, Persons 65 years and older are also advised to remain at home.
“Use of face masks by residents in all public places. All business owners and government institutions are hereby directed to de-contaminate their premises, prior to re-opening.”
The Minister said security agencies have been mandated to arrest and prosecute anyone found to be contravening any of these guidelines through the mobile courts.