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Places of worship to re-open next week

Tuesday July 07 2020
basilica

An online mass at the Holy Family Basilica on April 14, 2020 during Easter Sunday. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SARAH NANJALA

The interfaith council appointed by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe has recommended that places of worship re-open on July 14.

The reopening will be in four phases, with the first one commencing next week.

Guidelines to re-opening of churches, mosques, temples and others next week include:

  • Handwashing/sanitiser facilities
  • Wearing of proper facemasks at all times
  • Social distancing of 1.5 metres
  • Maximum of 100 people per service
  • Age limit of 13-58 years. Sick and elderly to stay home
  • One hour per service (religious places can have several services per day)
  • Regular cleaning of places of worship
  • Sanitising shared items
  • Avoidance of unnecessary contact
  • Use of thermal guns


AGE LIMITS

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The interfaith council, led by Nyeri Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria, has left it to individual centres to decide if faith leaders over 58 years can still oversee worship proceedings.

In his address to the nation yesterday, President Uhuru Kenyatta had said that congregants above the age of 58 years and below 13 years should not attend in-person services. Persons with underlying conditions are also not advised to congregate.

Other guidelines issued by the council today include rethinking of church collections, which usually involves passing of items around to each congregant.

Archbishop Muheria pleaded with congregants to attend the re-opened centres in an orderly manner and comply with regulations.

"We understand the great eagerness and longing we have but with some patience and preparation, we can safely re-unite in our places of worship," he said.

He said there will be inter-faith committees at the County and Sub-county level.

Faith leaders are now charged with ensuring that Covid-19 health guidelines are followed.

The council has also recommended the formation of a Covid-19 response team in each congregation.

Additional reporting by Lynette Mukami

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