“The fact that church and mosque gatherings are not supposed to have more than 100 people in attendance, and are supposed to last for just an hour but the National Identification Authority (NIA) and EC have been given the freedom to register an unlimited number of people from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, that’s for a period of 10 hours, shows clearly that the so-called partial reopening of schools, churches and mosques was only a ruse to the President’s main agenda”.
During the President’s 10th televised address on the COVID-19 situation, Nana Akufo-Addo said: “With effect from Friday, 5 June 2020, we will begin stage one of the process of easing restrictions”.
“An abridged format for religious services can commence. Twenty-five per cent (25%) attendance, with a maximum number of one hundred (100) congregants can worship at a time in church or at the mosque, with a mandatory one-metre rule of social distancing between congregants. In addition to the mandatory wearing of masks for all persons at all times in churches and mosques, a register of names and contact details of all worshippers and handwashing facilities and sanitisers must be provided, with a maximum duration of one (1) hour for each service.
“Religious institutions that are desirous of opening their premises to their members, such as churches, mosques and others, must disinfect, fumigate and put in place the requisite logistics needed to guarantee safe opening and operation. They must work with the designated, regulatory bodies and undertake test runs of the protocols I have outlined. I would appeal to them, in the case of Christians, on the first Sunday of re-opening, i.e. 7th June, in the case of the Adventists, Saturday, 6th June, and in the case of Muslims, on the first Friday, i.e. ?al?t al-Jumu?ah on 5th June, to dedicate their worship to prayers for the nation in these challenging times. The Minister for Religious Affairs, will, tomorrow, Monday, 1st June, outline, in detail, the specific guidelines for the safe reopening of our churches and mosques.
“From Monday, 15th June 2020, the decision has been taken, after engagement with the Teacher Unions, whose co-operation I salute, to re-open schools and universities to allow for final-year junior high, senior high and university students to resume classes ahead of the conduct of their respective exit examinations. Indeed, final year university students are to report to their universities on 15th June; final year senior high school (SHS 3) students, together with SHS 2 Gold Track students, on 22nd June; and final year junior high school (JHS 3) students on 29th June. JHS 3 classes will comprise a maximum of thirty (30) students; SHS classes a maximum of twenty-five (25) students; and University lectures will take place with half the class sizes.
“All final year students of educational and training institutions, which are being managed by Ministries other than the Education Ministry, are to return to school on 15th June to complete their exit examinations.
“Again, prior to the opening of schools and universities, the Ministry of Education, and the heads of public and private educational institutions, will fumigate and disinfect their institutions. Each student, teacher, and non-teaching staff will be provided with re-usable face masks by the Ministry of Education. For the avoidance of doubt, all other educational facilities, private and public, for non-final year students, will remain closed. The Minister for Education, in the coming days, will outline, in detail, the specific guidelines for the safe reopening of our schools and universities.
“Private burials, now with a maximum of one hundred (100) persons, can continue to be performed. Restaurants, providing seated services, can operate under appropriate social distancing arrangements and hygiene protocols. Individual, non-contact sports can go ahead. Conferences, workshops, weddings, and political activities, except rallies, can now take place, but with limited numbers not exceeding one hundred (100) persons present, with the appropriate social distancing and hygiene protocols.
“Market places, workplaces, public transport, and constitutional and statutory bodies such as the Electoral Commission, the National Commission for Civic Education and the National Identification Authority, whose activities were exempted from the outset from these restrictions, must conduct their activities in accordance with social distancing and the necessary hygiene and safety protocols”.