From Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti
Worship centres in Ekiti State may open for services as from Friday, July 17 This is in line with the agreement reached by the state government with leaders of religious organisations in the state.
Governor Kayode Fayemi who disclosed this on Tuesday in a state-wide broadcast said arrangements are in top gear to ensure that pupils and students return to school from July 20 as recommended by stakeholders in the education sector.
The two largest markets in Ado Ekiti, the Oja Oba and Bisi Market, according to the Governor will now be open to lock-up shops only subject to compliance with protocols, stressing that street trading, makeshift stalls kiosks and open display of wares in the said markets remain banned.
The Governor also announced that the state government has taken a N2.5 billion Life Insurance cover of N2 million each for 500 frontline medical personnel involved in COVID-19 assignment in addition to the prompt payment of COVID-19 special allowances to qualified cadres.
Apparently disturbed by the increasing refusal of residents to wear face masks in public which he said could spike community transmission of the disease, Dr. Fayemi said security agencies and Ministry of Justice have been directed to arrest and prosecute any person caught in public without wearing face mask appropriately covering the nose, mouth and chin.
Expatiating on the conditions to be met before public worship resume from Friday, July 17 with Jumat service for Muslims and Christian worship in churches from Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, Dr. Fayemi said social distancing of six feet must be observed and hand washing as well as use of face masks are compulsory.
The Governor added that maximum capacity for each building should be determined with the six feet social distancing principle, adding that the number must be conspicuously displayed outside the building.
Besides, the Governor explained that a Task Force will go round to assess the level of compliance and issue a Certificate of Readiness before worship centres can reopen, adding that any worship centre that violates the laid down protocols will be shut down and the cleric prosecuted.
Dr. Fayemi disclosed that school resumption from July 20 will be in phases starting with students in terminal classes (SS3, JSS3 and Primary 6) to prepare for their exams while other classes will be gradually absorbed as schools meet all requirements to accommodate them.
He stressed that a Certificate of Readiness showing that a school has adhered to all conditions required for school reopening will be issued to all schools before they can reopen while government will ensure that water, sanitizer, soap and other facilities are in place.
The Governor stated further that he had directed that all schools be fumigated and kept safe for students before they reopen.
Speaking further on resumption of business activities at Oja Oba and Bisi Market, the Governor stressed that the use of face masks and social distancing will be strictly enforced while traders who do not have permanent shops in the two markets are to move to Awedele Market where more stalls have been prepared.
He stated that the ban on large gatherings of more than 20 persons except on approved worship days continues, adding that social, political or business gatherings like parties, burials, meetings, bars, viewing centres, sports meets must not exceed 20 persons and must be in line with COVID-19 protocols.
Dr. Fayemi pointed out that free unhindered movements will continue Monday to Friday from 6.00am to 8.00pm while dusk-to-dawn curfew will be enforced 8.00pm to 5.59am seven days a week.