The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control [NCDC] has issued new guidelines for the reopening of religious centres across the country, asking children and people aged 60 and above to avoid worship centres for the time being.
NCDC also said public toilets and sales outlets in churches and mosques must be shut during services.
This comes after the Federal Government lifted the ban on religious and other public gatherings to check the spread of Covid-19.
However, each state has the final say on whether to allow religious houses to open.
According to the guidelines posted on its website, the NCDC said before reopening, religious houses should fumigate their auditoriums, car parks and other buildings by wiping all surfaces with a disinfecting agent.
The centre also said during services, windows and doors must be opened to enable airflow while adequate provision should be made for soap, running water and hand sanitisers at entry points.
“There should be no entry without face masks; provide disposable face masks where practicable. To help educate on Covid-19, it is recommended for places of worship to have preventive messages from NCDC posted at entry points and around places of worship,” the NCDC said.
“Holy communion should be packaged in disposable wraps. Drinking water points, public toilets and sales outlets must be closed for now.”
It added that ablution should be done at home and discouraged the sharing of kettles and any personal items.
“Religious leaders must maintain two metres when praying or counselling and avoid body contact with members. Places of worship should be free of carpets and rugs to allow easy disinfection of the floor,” it said.
“Places of worship must open only between 5am and 8pm. Choristers are to go home with their robes; hijabs are not to be shared; attendance in every service should not exceed one-third of sitting capacity of the auditorium to enable physical distancing. All other members should join the service virtually.”
Furthermore, the NCDC discouraged shaking of hands, hugging and all physical contacts for the time being and discouraged worshippers from 60 years old and above, or those with underlying medical conditions, to stay at home.
Children are also discouraged from attending worship services.