Subject to fulfilment of some protocols, worship centres in Ekiti State may resume for services from Friday, July 17, Governor Kayode Fayemi said on Tuesday night during a state-wide broadcast.
This, the governor said, would be in line with the agreement reached by the state government with leaders of religious organisations in the state.
Fayemi, who was speaking, on the next stage in the State’s COVID-19 Response, said arrangements were in top gear to ensure that pupils and students returned to schools from July 20 as recommended by stakeholders in the education sector.
He said the two largest markets in Ado Ekiti, the Oja Oba and Bisi Markets, hitherto shut, would now have their lock-up shops opened, but this would be subject to compliance with protocols.
He, however, stressed that street trading, makeshift stalls, kiosks and open display of wares in the said markets remained banned.
The governor said that the state government had taken a N2.5 billion Life Insurance policy of N2 million each for 500 frontline medical personnel involved in COVID-19 assignment in the state in addition to the prompt payment of COVID-19 Special Allowances to qualified cadres.
Fayemi said security agencies and Ministry of Justice had been directed to henceforth arrest and prosecute any person caught in public places without wearing the face mask appropriately covering the nose, mouth and chin.
On conditions for public worship resumption from Friday, July 17, with Jumat service by Muslims and Christian worship from Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19, Fayemi said social distancing of six feet must be observed and hand washing as well as use of face masks would be compulsory.
The governor said that maximum capacity for each building should be determined with the six feet social distancing principle, adding that the number must be displayed outside the building.
He said that a Special Task Force would go round to assess the level of compliance and issue a Certificate of Readiness before worship centres could reopen.
Fayemi said that any worship centre that violated the laid down protocols would be shut down and the cleric prosecuted.
He said that school resumption from July 20 would be in phases, starting with students in terminal classes (SS3, JSS3 and Primary 6) to enable them prepare for their examinations, while other classes would be gradually absorbed as schools met all requirements to accommodate them.
The governor said that a Certificate of Readiness showing that a particular school had adhered to all conditions required for school reopening would first be issued to all schools before they could reopen, while government would ensure that water, sanitizer, soap and other facilities were in place.
He said that he had directed that all schools be fumigated and kept safe for students before they would reopen.
On resumption of business at Oja Oba and Bisi Market, the governor said that the use of face masks and social distancing would strictly be enforced, while traders without permanent shops in the two markets would move to the new Awedele Market where more stalls had been prepared for them.
He warned that the ban on large gatherings of more than 20 persons, except on approved worship days, would continue, 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.
Fayemi said that unhindered movements would continue on Mondays to Fridays from 6.00 a.m to 8.00 p.m, while dusk-to-dawn curfew would be enforced 8.00 pm to 5.59 a.m seven days a week.
” 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”, he said.
He said that the Ekiti State Health Insurance Scheme (EKHIS) would take-off on Wednesday, July 1, with over 5,000 citizens already enrolled with the formal flag off scheduled for July 10.
Fayemi said that the upgrade of the state’s primary healthcare facilities had started with the Primary Health Centre in Okeyinmi, Ado Ekiti, as starting point with the first stage covering nine facilities across some local government areas.
The goal, he said, was to upgrade at least one primary healthcare facility in all the 177 wards.
Fayemi said that his administration would undertaking additional construction work in Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital and Oba Adejugbe Infectious Disease Hospital both in Ado Ekiti.
According to him, government was also expanding the state medical facilities to be able to respond more quickly to COVID-19 pandemic while another molecular laboratory was being planned apart from an additional one secured by the Ekiti State University through Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND). (NAN)