President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has extended the duration of religious activities for churches and mosques in the country from one to two hours. The new directive takes effect from Saturday, August 1, 2020. According to the President, this decision was based on the high level of compliance with the safety protocols by the religious bodies.
In his 14th address to Ghanaians on the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday, July 26, 2020, Nana Addo hinted that the number of persons allowed at the various places of worship will also be reviewed soon.
“I have sorely missed going to Church, as I am sure many others have. I am, therefore, very happy to announce that, in consultation with our Church leaders, from 1st August 2020, the restrictions on the number of congregants worshipping at a time in Church will be lifted, with the length of worship extended from one to two hours per service.”
He advised the leadership of the churches who so much desire to follow the enhanced easing directive, “must ensure that congregants wear face masks at all times, and the one-metre social distancing rule is scrupulously applied.”
“These same guidelines apply to worship in our Mosques”, he added. “With greater numbers of congregants likely to return for worship, I would, respectfully, ask the religious leaders to pay even greater attention to the fresh air ventilation of their premises, rather than relying on the use of air conditioners”, Nana Addo cautioned.
Churches and mosques and other religious activities were suspended as part of measures taken against the spread of the coronavirus disease. But, the President, during his tenth address on Sunday, May 31, 2020, eased the restrictions imposed on religious activities in the country.
He announced that only a maximum of 100 persons are allowed in a church or mosque. The churches and mosques were also tasked to form COVID-19 Task Forces as part of measures to ensure safe meeting places amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of advisories were outlined for churches and mosques in this regard. Among them is that older persons and persons of any age with underlying medical conditions are being discouraged from attending the mosque or church.
Guidelines for churches:
- Churches are to ensure a No handshake, No hugging and No Spitting policy at all time.
- No crowded dancing and waving of handkerchiefs during church services.
- Microphones are to be sanitized immediately after each use.
- All persons who speak or sing in churches must wear facemask 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.
Guidelines for mosques:
- Mosques are to ensure each worshipper uses their own mat or disinfected mat.
- Ablution should be performed at home before heading to the Mosque.Worshipers are to use easily removable footwear such as slippers.
- Allow people to come out of the Mosque to collect slippers one after the other instead of crowding at the entrance.
- Bowls for offering are to be placed at the entrance of the Mosques.
- Thermometer guns must be provided for checking the temperature of members at entry points.
- There should be notices communicating ‘No facemask No entry’ policy.
- There should be the provisions of handwashing facilities with running water and soap and FDA-approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer.