By Arnold Neliba
NAIROBI, JULY 7, 2020 (CISA)-President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced phase reopening of places of worship with strict conformity to guidelines and self-regulating rules developed by Interfaith Council on Covid-19.
Addressing the nation on Monday, July 6 after receiving the report from the Council, the president said the country will commence a phased reopening of places of worship, where a maximum of 100 participants will be allowed to congregate at a time.
“We are advising a preopening stage, but we will open places of public worship in the next few days while monitoring for the full phase reopening. This is in order to prepare our congregants for public worship in the later phases,” Archbishop Anthony Muheria the Chairperson of the Interfaith Council said at a July 7 press conference.
The council has asked Religious Leaders to initiate an orderly phased reopening of places of worship from July 14.
According to the measures put in place by the council, only a maximum of 100 participants will be allowed at each worship ceremony which should not take more than an hour. Sunday Schools and madrassas shall continue to be suspended until further notice and in person worship shall not include congregants under the age of 13 or above the age of 58.
“The reopening of places of worship will follow four phases which would depend on the situation of infection kind and spread that is indicated by the daily positive cases reported and the levels of compliance in our congregational gatherings,” he said.
The council has stressed on personal hygiene, frequent sanitization of places of worship and instruments used, discouraging sharing of items during service.
“There must be sufficient stations of hand washing with soap or sanitization where congregants will clean their hands before and after gathering. Attendants will have to wear face masks properly and maintenance social distance throughout the service,” Archbishop Muheria said.
The Interfaith Council has also proposed the formation of Interfaith Councils at both county and sub-county levels to help oversee the compliance of guidelines at places of worship. Each congregation has also been advised to form Covid-19 response committee to help implement and oversee these guidelines.
“We in the Inter-faith Council believe that we as Religious Leaders now have the key to more effectively fight the Covid-19 monster by taking the front-line in advocacy and spiritual persuasion of our congregants to take up the weapons we have to fighting it,” he said, noting that the council will review the guidelines and advise in the next three weeks.
As directed by the president, the Inter-faith Council in liaison with other Religious Leaders will initiate sensitization campaigns in counties by sharing and getting feedback on the guidelines in order to accommodate new ideas and ensure all religious leaders are well versed with them.