The following article was suggested by one of our readers—if theres an idea you would like us to cover, please submit it here. Churches that have been cleared to operate will be able to hold services on the upcoming Christmas slated for Friday, December 25, The New Times has learned. Recently, the Government resolved that places of worship shall operate once a week, depending on their normal day of communion. This meant that those that congregate on Sundays – like Catholic, Protestant and the Pentecostal churches, are under the current directives against Covid-19, allowed to only congregate on that day. For Seventh Day Adventists, they can only congregate on Saturdays, while Muslims are only allowed to convene at their respective mosques on Fridays. This has led to questions of whether Christians will be allowed to hold a service on Friday in celebration of Christmas, which is a major religious function. During an exclusive interview with The New Times, the Minister of Local Government, Anastase Shyaka explained that Christmas has been treated with exclusivity. He said: “Christmas, to Christians, is more than an ordinary day; and we are cognizant of that. This time, churches that are already operating will hold service on Christmas.” However, he added, “Like we urged church leaders during a recent meeting we had with them, they should double efforts in observing Covid-19 preventive measures.” Currently, places of worship that are allowed to operate can only have up to 50 percent of their maximum occupancy. However, there are specific instructions for those in Musanze District, where they are not allowed to go beyond 30 per cent. During an interview, Bishop Fidèle Masengo who heads Four Square Church, they will not be complacent in observing preventive measures against the virus. He said: “We have to abide by all Covid-19 preventive measures. This is something we have been vigilant of since the day we were given a green light to resume, and we will remain on guard.” “Christmas is a very significant day to us Christians, therefore we thank the Government for giving us the opportunity to hold a service in celebration of the birth of our Savior,” he added. Besides holding church services on Christmas, before the outbreak of Covid-19, some churches would even congregate on Christmas or New Year Eve. “With the current situation of Covid-19 and the curfew directive in place, overnight services are prohibited.” Call for vigilance In his annual State of the Nation Address on Monday, December 21, President Paul Kagame called on the public to remain vigilant against Covid-19 by observing all preventive guidelines in place. He said: “We have come too far to let our prevention efforts go to waste. This is not the time to relax. This is time to protect our gains and strive for what we want to achieve, and continue to make progress. We have to be responsible for each other’s safety.” So far, overall, Rwanda has 7,293 confirmed cases, of whom 6,091 have already recovered. The country’s Covid-19 death toll stands at 63.