Home HEALTH  Easing restrictions: Here are all the safety protocols religious communities must observe [ARTICLE]

Easing restrictions: Here are all the safety protocols religious communities must observe [ARTICLE]

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He detailed the protocols at a media encounter on Monday, June 1, 2020.

Among the advisories for churches, elderly persons have been discouraged from attending services whilst all other persons involved in singing and preaching are to wear face masks.

“With effect from Friday, 5th June, the government will begin Stage One of the process of easing restrictions. An abridged format for religious services can commence and all worshippers entreated to dedicate their first service for the prayer for the nation in this challenging time. Twenty-five percent (25%) attendance, with a maximum number of one hundred (100) congregants, can worship at a time in a church or at a mosque, with a mandatory one (1) metre rule (3 feet) of social distancing between congregants,” he said.

Here are the guidelines for all congregants:

  • Wear masks at all times
  • Wash hands with soap under running water or rub with alcohol-based hand sanitizer before entry
  • Avoid handshaking or body contact
  • Register details including phone numbers, manually or digitally. Digital registration can be done on GH COVID-19 APP on PANABIOS APP which can be downloaded at no cost.
  • General Specific Protocols for Churches

Full guidelines for churches:

  • Thermometer guns or thermal scanners are provided for checking the temperature of congregants at entry points of all venues as necessary.
  • Ensure a No mask: No entry Policy
  • Provision of handwashing facilities with running water and soap and/or FDA approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Provision of adequate waste management facilities (bins, cans, bin-liners and single-use tissues).
  • Provision of adequate toilet facilities for use by members.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places (like toilet surfaces) and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs/handles, preferably every 1-2 hours depending on the rate of utilization.
  • Designate a holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the premises/event can be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation.
  • Regular disinfection of venues used by churches, preferably once every month. For example, fumigation and disinfection must be carried out with recognized entities like Zoomlion.
  • Trained cleaners with the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning items to clean the facilities regularly and handle waste appropriately.
  • Provide adequate ventilation, i.e. open windows to allow for the maximum circulation of fresh air, if possible, avoid confined air-conditioned rooms.
  • Display approved health promotion materials on COVID-19 at vantage points to remind congregants to keep to social distancing protocols, wearing of the masks, regular handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette.
  • Ensure a No handshake, No hugging and No Spitting policy at all time.
  • Follow established evacuation procedures (as outlined in Annex 1) to enable evacuation if a congregant becomes sick during the event and has to be evacuated.
  • Form COVID task force comprising of members who are preferably health workers. They must be trained in Health Promotive prevention measures, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and Evacuation Procedures by Ghana Health Service.
  • The COVID task force should Call 112 or 311 for support to enable evacuation if anyone develops fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing during service.
  • Unwell Persons are not allowed to attend church
  • Older persons and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, heart diseases, diabetes, liver disease, and asthma are advised to stay away from church service
  • Sharing personal items such as watches, jewellery, pens and phones should be discouraged.
  • If an individual is confirmed positive for COVID-19, all contacts must be traced and screened.
  • No crowd dancing and waving of handkerchiefs during church services.
  • Sanitize microphones immediately after each use.
  • All who speak/sing in churches (including Pastors, Sunday school teachers, Singers and Announcers) must wear facemask during service.
  • Discourage singing in groups. Pre-recorded songs or solos should be used.
  • 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.
  • Spend at least 5 minutes of church service time to educate church members on Covid-19.
  • Provide separate sitting areas for the aged and for families that are together.
  • The church is encouraged to mobilize resources to help individuals in need including offering church health facilities.

General Protocols for Mosque

  • Mosque leaders must ensure these protocols are observed:
  • Thermometer guns or thermal scanners must be provided for checking the temperature of members at entry points of all venues as necessary.
  • Ensure a No mask: No entry Policy
  • Provision of handwashing facilities with running water and soap and/or FDA approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Provision of adequate waste management facilities (bins, cans, bin-liners and single-use tissues).
  • Provision of adequate toilet facilities for use by members.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places (like bathroom and toilet surfaces) and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs/handles, preferably every 1-2 hours depending on the rate of utilization.
  • Designate a holding room or area where a person who becomes sick at the premises/event can be isolated from others while making arrangements for evacuation.
  • Regular disinfection of venues used for mosque gathering, preferably once every month. For example, fumigation and disinfection must be carried out with recognized entities like Zoomlion
  • Professional cleaners with the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning items to clean the facilities regularly and handle waste appropriately.
  • Provide adequate ventilation, i.e. open windows to allow for the maximum circulation of fresh air, if possible, avoid confined air-conditioned rooms.
  • Display approved health promotion materials on COVID-19 at vantage points to remind people to keep to social distancing protocols, wearing of the masks, regular handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette.
  • Ensure a No handshake, No hugging and No Spitting policy at all time.
  • Follow established evacuation procedures (as outlined in Annex 1) to enable evacuation if a participant becomes sick during the event and has to be evacuated.
  • Form COVID task force comprising of members who are preferably health workers. They must be trained in Health Promotive prevention measures, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), and Evacuation Procedures by Ghana Health Service.
  • The COVID task force should Call 112 or 311 for support to enable evacuation if anyone develops fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing during the gathering.
  • Unwell Persons are not allowed to attend mosques
  • Older persons and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, heart diseases, diabetes, liver disease, and asthma are advised to stay away from going to the mosque.
  • Sharing personal items such as watches, jewellery, pens and phones should be discouraged.
  • If an individual is confirmed positive for COVID-19, all contacts must be traced and screened.
  • Ensure each worshipper uses their personal mat (Sajaada), or disinfect mats provided by the mosque before and after use.
  • Ablution should be performed in the house by adherents before entering the Mosque.
  • 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
  • Put a bowl at the entrance of the mosque for the offering of Fisabidali.
  • Sanitize microphones immediately after each use.
  • Spend at least 5 minutes of worship time to educate mosque attendees on Covid-19.

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