Religious gatherings to resume under strict guidelines, children kept away
Places of worship can now resume normal operations after the government allowed for their phased re-opening, three months since a temporary shutdown was effected.
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday said congregational and public worship will be allowed but with strict guidelines to ensure they are not used to spread new infections.
Under the guidelines, services will be limited to a maximum of 100 worshippers while children below the age of 13 and those above 58 years will also be locked out of churches and mosques.
“In line with the guidelines issued by the Inter-Faith Council, only a maximum of 100 participants will be allowed at each worship ceremony and not be more than one hour,” Uhuru directed.
Similarly, the young and old will have to wait a little longer before they can be allowed to congregate in churches.
Uhuru directed Sunday Schools for Christian children and Madrasas for their Muslim counterparts to remain suspended until further notice while in-person worship will not include congregants under 13 years or above 58 years.
Persons with underlying health conditions are not allowed to go places of worship, at least just yet.
The President said prohibition against social and political gatherings, of whatever nature, is extended for a further period of 30 days.
There will also be restrictions for operation of bars to ‘take-away’ only.
The President said restrictions on the number of persons who can attend weddings and funerals will be extended for a further 30 days.
“The order to re-open is given conditionally. Should the situation deteriorate and pose a challenge to our health infrastructure, it shall be ‘clawed back’.
In the next 21 days, we will study patterns of interactions and the spread of the disease.
Any trends that signal worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to the lock-down at zero-option,” the President said.
He urged Kenyans to exercise civic responsibility towards each other. “I do not want you to exercise this responsibility in the fight only against Covid-19 pandemic.
I want you to have a shared responsibility with government in reviving our economy.
And for us to do this by first changing our national mind-set. We have the opportunity to stitch a ‘new national mindset garment as it were,” the President.
And instead of doing business as usual, the President said the prevailing circumstances in the country now call for a need to do business unusual.