In line with the presidential directives on working out the protocols on reopening the economy and the places of worship, the Council of Governors has today come up with protocols on resumption of places of worship. Worship places, that is, churches, mosques, temples were closed in line with government directives on banning social gatherings to reduce the spread of Coronavirus disease in the country.
Council of Governors Chairman Wycliffe Oparanya. Photo courtesy
Below are the proposed protocols to be observed when places of worship are reopened :
1 Individuals with underlying health conditions should NOT be allowed to attend prayers at places of worship but instead should follow online services at home.
2 Places of worship are encouraged to adopt contactless tithe and offerings systems i.e. MPESA Paybill numbers, Bank Account Numbers etc. Those touching any papers in form of cheques or cash must wear gloves and sanitize their hands.
3 Ensure proper records of attendees including name, address and contact details during each service.
4 Consider ban of choirs and singing during service but, instead allow pre-recorded devotional songs; ban of holy water, sandal wood paste and touching of Holy statues at the places of worship.
5 Provision of appropriate facilities such as handwashing facilities, clean running water, soap, paper towels, hand sanitizer and disinfectants.
6 More than one service can be held on the same day, however there must be at least one hour between each service, to facilitate proper sanitization of the venue.
7 Only 30 people shall be allowed in places of worship with no limit as to the number of services. Development of legislation to govern these rules and sanctions especially in an event where a worshipper or a church violates such protocols.
Kenyans on social media registered their disappointments in some of the measures proposed by the COG. The requirement of 30 people in a service raised a concern especially where the church or any other place of worship has many faithfuls who can't be slotted in a single day service schedule.
Valentine Obongoya, "CV-19 pandemic will be a game changer. Looks like pastors will now have to scale up to 24 hours Sunday prayer days if not whole week services."
Frederick Odhiambo : Some of these thing might not work even under a legislation. It beats logic for me to go to church to listen to a recorded praise and worship song.
Warega suggested that Churches/mosques deserves to open before schools to sensitize these policies while another user said that it's no longer time for nasty competition for huge crowds and hence offerings only with only 30 congregants being permissible to a single service.