Re-opening of Churches: Children below 13 not allowed to attend services

As part of an ongoing process to ease restrictions on COVID-19 lockdown, the places of worship are likely to be the next activity to re-open in the next two weeks upon a fresh assessment on the pandemic.

Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) has issued guidelines for religious groups to observe before they reopen places of worship in the coming days.

It is stated that children below the age of 13 are not allowed to attend church service, while those aged 13 to 18 shall be accompanied by a parent or a guardian.

Not all places of worship will be given greenlight to resume their activities, except those meet standards and selected by the council.

Under the statement, the council is recommended to select prayer houses that meet safety measures.

The council is also tasked to conduct an inventory of all houses of worship, their location, accommodation capacity in normal circumstances as well as the number of people they could accommodate in exercise of social distancing measures.

Assess and ensure that every house of prayer has hand sanitizers, infrared thermometers and measures to uphold the use of face masks

On the other hand, Holy Communion and baptism will remain suspended during the pandemic.

In order to facilitate ease of tracking in the event of necessity, the leadership of the houses of worship must maintain lists of people who have used the building every day.

In return, Rwandan Inter-Religious Council has also proposed two more requests to the Government in the pre-opening phase.

The council has requested that houses of worship that have the capacity to record live services be given the permission to use their premises for recording with a maximum of only 8 people.

Also, the council proposed that religious leaders be permitted to hold religious blessings for the couples at the civil marriage, with a maximum of only two church representatives.

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