Metro News

Lagos Okays Full Reopening Of Religious Gatherings

Churches and Mosques in Lagos State are now free to resume full worship following approval by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday for further relaxation of restrictions imposed in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

The government also granted permission for the re-opening of basic and secondary schools with effect from tomorrow although only pupils in Junior Secondary School Three (JSS 3) and Senior Secondary School Two (SSS 2) are allowed to resume for physical classes in public schools.

Cinemas and gyms can also reopen but with a maximum of 33 per cent occupancy.

Giving an update on COVID-19 yesterday, the governor said mosques could open for prayers five times daily while churches could also resume their various services.

But he warned that the safety protocols released by the government must be strictly adhered to.

“Muslims can now have their five times daily prayers in mosques. Churches can also begin mid-week services,” the Governor said

Worship centres in the state were ordered closed in March as part of measures to check the spread of COVID-19.

The reopening of schools will be in phases, according to him.

Consequently, only pupils in Junior Secondary School Three (JSS 3) and Senior Secondary School Two (SSS 2) are allowed to resume for physical classes in public schools.

The Governor said the public schools’ resumption would allow the JSS 3 pupils to revise and prepare for Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) scheduled for October 12, 2020, while pupils in SSS 2 are expected to use the period to prepare for their transitional exams to SSS 3.

All levels of class in private schools are allowed to resume but their owners were asked to consider implementing a staggered daily resumption schedule and classes on alternate days during the week.

All pre-primary school classes, including nursery, daycare centres and kindergarten, in both public and private schools, are to remain shut.

Sanwo-Olu said all re-opened schools must comply with safety protocols and hygiene guidelines as instructed by the State Government through the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA). He said the department would monitor and evaluate Schools’ preparedness.

”For all other public school classes in primary school and JSS 1, JSS 2, and SSS 1, announcements for resumption will be made as soon as the State Government is satisfied that all necessary resumption protocols have been put in place,” he said.

“In the meantime, these yet-to-resume classes in public schools are expected to continue their lessons on our various distance learning platforms (online, radio, television and WhatsApp) pending the announcement of dates for physical resumption.”

From next week, Sanwo-Olu said all primary and secondary schools in the State that have more than two-storey structures will be subjected to integrity test to ensure the safety of pupils. The Governor spoke against the backdrop of the Saturday collapse of Excel Secondary School – a private school – in Ejigbo area of the State.

The school, Sanwo-Olu observed, flouted the State’s structural regulations, resulting in its collapse. He directed the complete demolition of the failed structure while directing the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development to embark on integrity test on all schools’ structures.

Sanwo-Olu also granted permission for the immediate reopening of cinemas and gyms, but with a maximum of 33 per cent occupancy, stressing that there must be a minimum of two empty seats between occupied seats in the cinemas.

In the case of gyms, the Governor said there must be constant disinfection of machines and equipment throughout the day.

He said the State Government would be taking definite decisions on the reopening of night-clubs, bars, event centres, spas, public parks next month, warning that dire consequences awaited those in this category that may want to flout the restrictive order.

The governor said that the state has so far conducted close to 100,000 tests, and recorded a total of 18,854 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Of this number,15,598 have recovered in community, 592 are currently active in the community, and 207 deaths have sadly occurred.

He said the state has now recorded a dramatic decline in the number of COVID-19.

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