Mbabane: Despite the increasing number of covid-19 cases, churches will open and public gatherings will now be allowed up to 100 people.
Churches are now expected to open with no restricted number of congregants, only a social distance of 2 metres between individuals will determine the number of worshipers allowed indoors.
This was announced by the Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini in a press conference held at the cabinet offices on Friday.
Dlamini said this while giving new guidelines for public gatherings which will be with effect from July 19, 2020. Previously with the lockdown regulations gatherings of more than 20 people were banned either in churches or community meetings.
The new guidelines announced by the prime minister are now more relaxed. Making the announcement the premier said as Government continue to ease the economy and COVID-19 partial lockdown measures, Government in collaboration with different stakeholders has issued new guidelines for religious gatherings, wedding ceremonies, funerals and community meetings with effect from 19 July 2020.
He said places of worship are expected to obtain a compliance permit from the Ministry of Home Affairs in order to operate. They will then be assessments for each applicant to determine readiness. Worshipers are strictly required to observe two metre social distancing, wear masks and refrain from laying of hands, touching or hugging, among others.
All community meetings must be attended by people not exceeding 100 observing the 2 metre distance between individuals. Where a community meeting is held in closed structures, appropriate fumigation must be implemented.
The prime minister also said that the number of people attending a wedding ceremony shall not exceed 100 people if held in an open space. “In cases where the wedding is conducted indoors, the number of people will also be determined by strict adherence to the two metre social distancing”.
In funerals, the premier said there shall be no night vigil. “The number of people attending a funeral shall not exceed 100 when the funeral is held in an open space”. He said all people taking part at a funeral must maintain proper hygiene including washing of hands with soap and running water.
In all gatherings the premier said the person in charge is required to keep and attendance register, with contact details of attendees, their next of kin and residential address.
He said all gatherings should not exceed two hours, and if there will be food served it should be in a form of prepared parcels
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