10 Dos and Don’ts as places of worship reopen

The Ministry of Local government on Friday issued new guidelines to which places of worship must abide ahead of reopening.

The guidelines follow the government’s decision to give places of worship greenlight to reopen after over four months of closure, which was part of the effort to contain Covid-19.

 

The decision to reopen places of worship was made by a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, July 15, which stressed that they each would be reopened after an inspection to ascertain they meet the set restrictions.  

 

Below are the Dos and don’ts that places of worship must stick to ahead of the reopening.

 

Dos

Reopening of a place of worship will be approved by the District after a thorough inspection on safety measures by a responsible team from the sector administration.  Meanwhile, places of worship located in areas under lockdown are not allowed to reopen.

Congregants are only allowed to give offerings using digital payments such as Mobile Money, Money transfer and Bank transfer to avoid the spread of coronavirus. Each place of worship should prepare a special place for congregants who bring non-monetary offerings.

The Holy Communion is allowed, but must be done in observance with safety guidelines against the coronavirus pandemic. Both priests and congregants should therefore wash their hands before attending the Holy Communion service and should avoid exchanging or sharing in the same container during the service. Self-service should be applied where possible.

Volunteers helping in the enforcement of COVID-19 measures must be deployed at every place of worship whenever there is a function.

A specific but limited number of congregants must be identified publicly at every place of worship.

The programme of prayers (days and hours) must be communicated to the public and to the sector administration for proper inspection.

Don’ts

Touching, hugging and shaking hands are prohibited. Congregants must also keep one metre (1m) of distance between them before and after prayers.  Priests are not allowed to put their hands on congregants while praying for them.

Sharing church materials like microphone, Holy books is prohibited.

Children under 12 years of age are not allowed to gather at places of worship.

Places of worship are not allowed to open during curfew hours.

For a place of worship to reopen, an inspection team at the sector level does inspection and gives the report to the district for approval.

However, the same team does regular inspections at places of worship and has the authority to suspend it, in case of Covid-19 guidelines violation. 

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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