The Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Samuel Kofi Dzamesi has tasked churches and mosques to form COVID-19 Task Forces as part of measures to ensure safe meeting places amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The task force, according to Mr. Dzamesi, will ensure strict compliance of the COVID-19 precautionary measures.
Outlining some precautionary measures for religious bodies at a press briefing on Monday evening, the Minister explained that every mosque and church must have a task force to be able to handle emergency situations that may arise during services.
“Form COVID-19 Task Force comprising of members who are preferably health workers. They must be trained in health promotion measures, infection prevention and control and evacuation procedures by Ghana Health Service. The COVID-19 Task Force should call 112 or 311 for support to enable evacuation in case anyone develops fever, coughs and difficulty in breathing during service,” he stated.
President Akufo-Addo announced a review of social gathering protocols in Ghana in a televised address on May 31.
Religious gatherings, schools, eateries among others can resume partially under strict guidance.
Churches and mosques, for example, are to allow only 100 congregants while schools are to open for final year students.
Guidelines for churches
The government has announced a set of advisories following the resumption of church services in the phased easing of the COVID-19 induced restrictions.
These are but to mention a few of those guidelines:
- 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
Also among the advisories for mosques are that older persons and persons of any age with underlying medical conditions are being discouraged from attending the mosque.
- 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.