Covid-19: Five conditions for places of worship to reopen

The New Times.
The congregation of ADEPR Bugarama during a past gathering. Rwanda Governance Board and the Inter-religious Council have agreed upon various preventive measures ahead of the potential reopening. / Photo: Sam Ngendahimana.
Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) has issued guidelines for religious organisations to follow before they reopen places of worship in the next fortnight.

Ahead of the potential reopening, the Inter-religious Council and RGB have agreed upon various preventive measures meant to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

1) The Inter-religious Council has been tasked to re-examines their proposed measures for contextual and concrete ways with regards to preparedness, implementation, monitoring and evaluation as well as accountability in the instances for noncompliance.

“We requested them to work with the Covid-19 command post at district level to inspect prayer houses that meet the requirements so as to advise the government accordingly,” Dr Usta Kayitesi, the Chief Executive Officer of RGB, told The New Times.

3) Every house of prayer must have hand sanitizers, infrared thermometers and measures to uphold the use of face masks.

4) The Inter-religious Council has been tasked to select prayer houses that meet safety measures.

5)  In the event of re-opening, children below the age of 13 will not attend, while those aged 13 to 18 will only attend in company of a parent or guardian.

The Mufti of Rwanda, Sheikh Salim Hitimana, says that the children may be difficult to manage during prayer, which can lead to violation of Covid-19 safety measures.

Sheikh Hitimana who also doubles as an adviser to the Inter-religious Council said that; “You understand that children under the age of 13 cannot easily be managed in their Sunday schools, and on top of that they cannot be stable in church, hence we were asked to find a way to temporarily suspend them until a further notice.”

According to a statement from RGB, the timeline for the reopening of places of worship is set to be determined by the readiness to combat the virus as well as the national preventive measures at the time. 

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Elias Hakizimana

Elias Hakizimana, CEO&Founder of The Inspirer Ltd,(www.rwandainspirer.com) is a professional Rwandan Journalist with Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Communication, received from University of Rwanda’s College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS) in 2014. He served various media houses in Rwanda including Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) in 2013 and became passionate with English Online and Print Media Publications where he exercised his talent as a Freelance News Reporter for The New Times, The Independent, The Rwanda Focus, Panorama and more before he became a Self-Entrepreneur as the CEO and Founder of The Inspirer Limited in early 2017.

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