President Yoweri Museveni has made clarifications on the re-opening of places of worship announcing October 15, as the official reopening date.
Through his social media platforms, the president re-echoed that when places of worship are reopened, they will not hold a congregation of people exceeding 70.
The president also highlights that religious institution will not hold night prayers, and there will be no kids’ Sunday school.
The clarifications come amidst heightened preparations amongst faithful’s who wanted to attend service this weekend.
Several churches and mosques had already given out guidelines that will be followed as worshippers reconvene after close to seven months of no activity.
The religious institutions under the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda worked with the Ministry of Health, to develop Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs to guide the safe re-opening of places of worship.
Borrowing a leaf from neighbouring Kenya and Rwanda which have already announced the gradual resumption of congregational worship in churches, synagogues, and mosques, the religious institutions suggest that reopening can be in a phased arrangement to ensure compliance.
According to the guidelines, every institution shall identify health professionals within their congregation or train any willing individuals in their respective congregations to form standby health teams to implement and enforce the guidelines.
The institutions will be required to enforce mandatory use of face masks, temperature scanning, and sanitization at entrances of places of worship and maintain social distancing of two meters from each other. For the Muslims, during Jumu’ah or Duwa prayers, the SOPs suggest that congregants can be given disposable bags for the individual storage of shoes and other valuables.
Meanwhile, vulnerable members of the congregation including the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions are advised to stay home and watch the services online.
Collection of gifts, offertory, tithing, or any other giving should be limited to entrances while worshipers are entering or exiting the places of worship to limit contact or many people touching on the same surfaces. In the same way, sharing written materials like Bibles, Qurans, songbooks, programs, or other written literature will also be prohibited.
In case of any case identified, the worship centres will have to link up with the area COVID-19 task force and make contact tracing easier, all congregants will be registered. The ministry of health has for the last month been training religious leaders on their said SOPs.
The News Editor ,Reporter at Kagadi Kibaale community Radio