The Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Kofi Dzamesi, has issued further directives pursuant to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s announcement that religious services can restart from Friday, June 5.
Addressing journalists in Accra on Monday, June 1 as hinted by the president in his address on Sunday, Mr Dzamesi said though churches and mosques are to reopen, strict safety measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 apply.
Key among the protocols for churches is that there must not be crowd-dancing and waving of handkerchiefs during services.
Singing in groups is also discouraged with pre-recorded songs or solos rather recommended.
Mr Dzamesi said each church should have a thermometer gun or scanner to check the temperature of congregants at all entry points.
A holding room or area must be designated, the Minister stated, for persons who fall sick during service so they can be isolated and arrangements made for their immediate evacuation.
But he stressed: “Unwell persons are not allowed to attend church”.
“Older persons and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, heart diseases, diabetes, liver disease, and asthma are advised to stay away from church services,” he stated.
Because social distancing rules are to be observed, the Minister says no laying on of hands must be allowed during service.
All speakers are supposed to wear face masks during service while a ‘No Mask, No Entry’ policy must be strictly adhered to.
President Akufo-Addo in his 10th update directed that all churches and mosques must be disinfected and fumigated before reopening.
The Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Minister said this must be done preferably once a month while frequently used communal places and frequently touched surfaces like door knobs must be disinfected every one to two hours “depending on the rate of utilization”.
The president also said Veronica buckets as well as hand-sanitisers must be made available with face masks worn throughout service.
Mr Dzamesi said offering bowls must also be placed at the entrance and exit points for members to give offerings and tithes when entering or leaving.
Adequate ventilation are also to be provided with the use of air-conditioned rooms discouraged.
Above all these, churches are to spend at least five minutes of service time to educate church members on Covid-19.
Approved health promotion materials are also to be displayed at vantage points to sensitise members on Covid-19 safety protocols.
By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana