The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has eased the restrictions imposed on religious activities in the country.
He announced this on Sunday, May 31, 2020, during his tenth address to the nation on measures taken against the spread of the coronavirus disease.
During the address, the President directed religious activities to commence beginning Friday, June 5 for Muslims, Saturday, June 6 for Adventists, and Sunday, June 7 for the remaining religious sects, all with only a maximum of 100 persons in a church or mosque.
“As I stated in my May Day address, I’m now in a position to outline the roadmap for easing safely the restrictions. Ours is going to be a phased approach involving a selective list of public gatherings based on the risk profile, socio-economic effect and most importantly, our capacity to enforce, respond and prevent a flare-up in our number of infections. With effect from Friday, 5th June, we will begin stage one of the process of easing restrictions. An abridged format for religious services can commence. Twenty-five percent attendance with a maximum number of congregants can worship at a time in church or mosque with the mandatory one-meter rule of social distancing between congregants,” he noted.
“In addition to the mandatory wearing of masks for all persons at all times in churches and mosques, a register of names and contact details of all worshippers and handwashing facilities and sanitisers must be provided, with a maximum duration of one hour for each service,” he added.
The Minister for Religious Affairs is expected to address the nation on Monday, 1st June to outline, in detail, the specific guidelines for the safe reopening of our churches and mosques.
Before this development, there had been an increased expectation that President Akufo-Addo will ease the restrictions on public gatherings today, Sunday.
While addressing the nation at the 2020 Virtual Eid-ul-Fitr Celebration on May 24, he indicated that the state will conclude a roadmap for easing restrictions by the end of the week so he “can announce to Ghanaians a clear roadmap for easing the restrictions”.
Aside from the President, the Senior Minister had also revealed that there would be a stakeholder meeting on Friday ahead of the President’s address today.
Calls for easing of restrictions
The decision to ease the public gatherings protocol had been met with mixed reactions by Ghanaians.
The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, for instance, had indicated that it was not expecting a spontaneous easing of the COVID-19 restrictions in the country.
According to the Council, such a move should be done in a gradual process.
Giving reasons for this view, the General Secretary of the Council, Rev. Emmanuel Barrigah said their call for a gradual easing of the restrictions will give them ample time to prepare their congregants on how to embrace the new normal.
Former President, John Mahama was also expecting a significant easing of restrictions and called on the government to first conduct more widespread testing.
“…In the face of the imminent easing of restrictions, let me repeat the call on the government to consider conducting mass testing, at least, at the point of need,” Mr. Mahama said in a tweet.