COVID-19: Minister details safety protocols for churches

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Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs Minister, Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, has detailed the necessary protocols churches and other religious organisations must follow when they go back to worship.

The President during his 10th Address to the nation on government’s actions to dealing with the spread of the disease eased restrictions on churches and other religions organisation.

Among the advisories for churches, elderly persons have been discouraged from attending services whilst all other persons involved in singing and preaching are to wear face masks.

Find below, the full guidelines:

Thermometer guns or thermal scanners are to be provided for checking the temperature of congregants at entry points.

A No mask, No entry Policy is to be enforced.

Handwashing facilities with running water and soap and/or FDA approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer are to be provided.

Adequate waste management facilities (bins, cans, bin-liners and single-use tissues) are to be made available.

Adequate toilet facilities must be made available.

There should be the regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places (like toilet surfaces) and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs/handles, preferably every 1-2 hours depending on the rate of utilization.

A holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the gathering can be isolated from others must be available ahead of arrangements for evacuation.

There must be the regular disinfection of venues used by churches, preferably once every month.

Trained cleaners with the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning items must be on hand to clean the facilities regularly and handle waste appropriately.

Churches are to ensure adequate ventilation, i.e. open windows to allow for the maximum circulation of fresh air, if possible, avoid confined air-conditioned rooms.

Churches are to display approved health promotion materials on COVID-19 at vantage points to remind congregants to keep to social distancing protocols, wearing of the masks, regular handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette.

Churches are to ensure a No handshake, No hugging and No Spitting policy at all time.

Churches are to Follow established evacuation procedures to enable evacuation if a congregant becomes sick during the event and has to be evacuated.

Churches are to form a COVID-19 task force comprising of members who are preferably health workers.

Unwell Persons are not allowed to attend church
Elderly persons and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, heart diseases, diabetes, liver disease, and asthma are advised to stay away from church service
Sharing personal items such as watches, jewellery, pens and phones should be discouraged.

If an individual is confirmed positive for COVID-19, all contacts must be traced and screened.

No crowded dancing and waving of handkerchiefs during church services.

Microphones are to be sanitised immediately after each use.

All persons who speak/sing in churches must wear face mask during service.

Churches are to discourage singing in groups and instead use pre-recorded songs.

Pre-packaged communion bread and wine should be picked up by members at the point of entry.

Place offering bowls at the entrance and exit points for members to give offerings and tithes when entering or on their way out of church premises.

Encourage cash transfers via mobile money or mobile banking as forms of giving offerings.

In observance of social distancing protocols, laying on of hands should not be allowed.

Spend at least 5 minutes of church service time to educate church members on Covid-19.

Provide separate sitting areas for the aged and for families that are together.

The church is encouraged to mobilize resources to help individuals in need including offering church health facilities.

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