The Ekiti State Government has postponed the reopening date of worship centres earlier scheduled for July 17 to August 14.
Services in worship centres including Mosques and Churches had been suspended since March following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued in Ado Ekiti on Friday, the state Commissioner for Health, Mojisola Yaya-Kolade, said the government’s new decision was because leaders of worship centres could not meet the conditions set for reopening.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on Thursday, the leadership of the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) had also said it had no capacity yet to comply with COVID-19 protocols stipulated as conditions for reopening by the government.
Yaqubu Sanni, a representative of the NSCIA, had in a statement, said mosques in the state could not meet the conditions set by the government, describing the time within to respond as too short.
The conditions include provisions of Covid-19 facilities like infra-red thermometers, sanitizers, face masks, hand washing facilities and maintenance of social distancing, among others.
The commissioner said: “The latest communique of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is indicative of the fact that worship centres are not yet ready to comply with conditions stipulated as guidelines set out by the government for reopening of worship centres.
“In view of the foregoing, the state government has shifted the date for the reopening of worship centres till August 14, 2020, to give the worship centres enough time to meet the prescribed conditions for the reopening.”
The commissioner said as much as fumigation of religious centres remained a prerequisite for reopening, such should not be done in contravention of the Ekiti State’s Environmental Health and Sanitation Law.
She said those within the ages of 1 -12 and those of 65 and above were also exempted from attending any congregational programme in any religious centre because of their vulnerability.
Mrs Yaya-Kolade further said: “The churches are only permitted to hold their programmes once in a week and should last for just two hours.”