The Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has declared that the government would be reopening worship centres across the state from July 17, 2020.
Fayemi who stated this in a statewide broadcast on Tuesday said this was in line with the agreement reached between the state government and leaders of religious organisations in the state.
The governor also announced that 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.
Fayemi said only lock-up shops in the two largest markets in Ado Ekiti, the Oja Oba and Bisi Markets will now be opened 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.
Worried by the increasing failure of residents to wear face masks in public which he said could spike community transmission of the disease, Fayemi said security agencies and Ministry of Justice have been directed to arrest and prosecute any person caught in public places without wearing the face mask appropriately covering the nose, mouth and chin.
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, he said social distancing of six feet must be observed and hand washing, as well as the 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.
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.
Fayemi disclosed that school resumption from July 20 will be in phases starting with students in terminal classes (SS3, JSS3 and Primary 6) in order to prepare for their exams while other classes will be gradually absorbed as schools meet all requirements to accommodate them.
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.
He further pointed out that free unhindered movements will continue Monday to Friday from 6.00 am to 8.00 pm while dusk-to-dawn curfew will be enforced between 8.00 pm to 5.59 am seven days a week, saying, “there shall be a restriction of movement at weekends (Saturday and Sunday) until July 19, subject to the conditional relaxation of church attendance on Saturdays and Sundays.”
In a bid to improve citizens’ access to qualitative healthcare, the governor disclosed that the Ekiti State Health Insurance Scheme (EKHIS) will take off on Wednesday, July 1 with over 5,000 citizens already enrolled with the formal flag off scheduled for July 10.