Coronavirus Covid-19 Update : Rwanda Religious Organisations Re-opening Soon
The Rwanda Inter-religious council has pitched to the government a set of measures that religious organisations should put in place once the government decides to reopen religious gatherings. The development comes to a couple of days after the Government asked faith-based Organisations to present to it measures that they could use to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in worship places.
In response, on Thursday, June 11, the Inter-religious council submitted a statement to the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB). Signed by the Vice –President of the Rwanda Inter-Religious Council, Archbishop Dr Laurent Mbanda, the statement compiles various preventive measures to be observed to avoid the spread of the pandemic once restrictions on worship places are lifted.
Worship places are among the activities that have remained closed since the end of March. Although the measures have not yet been the given green light, the plans pitched by the Inter-religious council give a clue about how religious gatherings may look like when the government allows their reopening. Some of the measures include the following;
Order During Service
Preachers and priests are allowed not to wear masks when they are on the altar.
Reduction of the number of worshipers on stage to respect social distancing.
Shaking hands and hugging is forbidden. Sharing the same microphone is prohibited. Respecting social distancing during holy communion.
Overnight prayers and concerts are not allowed, social prayer rooms not allowed, children’s prayers are not allowed, cells are not allowed.
Laying hands on people during prayer is forbidden, sharing Bibles and hymn books is not allowed.
Other measures include; avoiding the circulation of offering baskets and instead embrace the use of technology to give offerings such as Mobile Money, money transfer and Bank Transfer.
Religious weddings should not exceed 50 attendants and all should respect all guidelines in place including isolating anyone with COVID-19 symptoms.
Baptism for the Protestants and Adventists is not allowed.
For Muslims in addition to the above-mentioned guidelines, they are also instructed to bring one mat for each person, use Quran downloaded in their mobile phones, avoiding touching on Quran and other books in the Mosque.
Cleaning worship places before and after services, setting up washing hand places and use of sanitizers, and using temperature testing devices.
Special Surveillance on the Usage of Toilets
Respect of social distancing while seated, wearing masks during the service, sensitizing people on the guidelines to curb the pandemic, and delegating a group of volunteers to oversee the implementation of guidelines during the services.
For churches that have many congregants and hold more than one service on Sunday, there should be a space of at least 1 hour between the services.
Save for Sunday services, other church services during working days should remain postponed, according to the statement.
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