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FG Releases Guidelines For Reopening Of Churches, Mosques

The Federal Government has released the guidelines for religious centres to resume activities in the country, The PUNCH reports.

The National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Sani Aliyu, stated this on Tuesday during a briefing in Abuja.

He said, “In view of the widespread community transmission of COVID-19, it is important that places of worship operate in a safe manner to ensure the protection of public health, avoid outbreaks and safeguard the health of the vulnerable members of the population.

“To this end, the following guidelines have been developed as a minimum set of standards that have to be complied with for places of worship to safely operate nationwide.

“They have been developed by the PTF in liaison with the leadership of religious communities in the country and should be used as a baseline for states to allow these activities.

“It is important to note that due to the nature of religious congregations, places of worship are particularly recognised to have a major potential for spreading COVID-19 infections amongst worshippers.

“Therefore places of worship that are not able to comply with these measures should not be allowed to operate by state governments.

“The following measures are recommended;

“All places of worship must sign up to full compliance with all aspects of non-pharmaceutical interventions required to protect the public from COVID-19 including but not limited to ensuring the supply of running water and soap, alcohol sanitisers at entry and exit points in all high contact locations including bathrooms.

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“Worshippers must sanitise their hands before entry.

“Worshippers must have temperature checks before entry and the supervision and the enforcement of this will be led by the leaders of these facilities.

“Use of face masks is mandatory.

“Strongly discourage all close contacts including shaking hands, hugging, using prayer mats, musical organs, microphones etc.

“The capacity of the facility should be limited to allow physical distancing of at least two meters between persons.

“Facilities should consider the use of cloth or surface markings to guide distancing and people from the same household should be encouraged to stay together.

“Local arrangements will apply to the capacity of these facilities but the most important thing is to make sure that the physical distancing rule applies.

“Local authorities will be advised in terms of areas of hotspots that might require greater restrictions

“Volunteers should be limited to exact numbers needed and none of the volunteers should have underlying medical conditions or be above the age of 55 years.

“Responsibility for enforcement will be with the leadership, church or mosque committees and supported by local authorities including state governments.

“Churches to open from 5am and close by 8pm.

“For churches, each service should be for a maximum of an hour with an interval of thirty minutes in between services to allow time for disinfection.

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“Mosques may open 15 minutes before and ten minutes after prayers. The total time for Friday prayers should not exceed an hour.

“Islamiya schools, Sunday schools, night vigils, and children classes are to remain suspended.

“Worshippers should be encouraged to sign up for preferred worship and make the option of virtual service an option.

“There should be no gathering either or after worship and business outlets within the premises should remain closed.

“We are strongly advising vulnerable people with underlying conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases to please stay at home.

“Windows should be left open during services and preferably use open-air facility as much as possible.”

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N50,000, N30,000 To Be Distributed Among 433,000 Nigerians, Businesses By FG

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Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to  President Muhammadu Buhari on Micro Small and Medium and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs), says 100,000 small businesses will get N50,000 each.

NAN reports that the gesture is part of COVID-19 economic stimulus.

The presidential aide made the announcement at the inauguration of the Implementation of Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-Take Stimulus Schemes for MSMEs on Thursday in Abuja.

Johnson, the Project Coordinator, said that the schemes were part of the Economic Sustainability Plan drafted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The Payroll Support targets 100,000 businesses. However, the number of individuals who will benefit from this is 500,000. What the government has done is to say that there a lot of MSMEs that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

“Afterward, there is a CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) free registration; it is free for the MSMEs but the government is paying the CAC for this. What the government has done is to say to the CAC, you do this regularly to the MSMEs at about N12,000 or thereabout; give it to us at half price, we will give it to the MSMEs free.’’

Johnson added that under the National MSMEs Clinic, Osinbajo and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment went to no fewer than 26 states.

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He said it was discovered that very creative businesses were not registered.

“They will tell you they don’t have N10,000 to N12,000 to register their businesses. The government had promised that at some point, we will do and I think the opportunity has come now; the opportunity cannot be better than now.’’

The official also announced that under the Survival Fund, the last strap would be the Transport and Artisans Support.

At least 333,000 beneficiaries will get a one-off N30,000 grant, Johnson said.

He added that the government will work with associations, individuals and the Ministry of Transportation to implement the scheme.

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