TO ALL PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS WORKING IN THE ARCHDIOCESE OF LAGOS, AND THE LAY FAITHFUL
Dear Msgri. /Frs., Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,UPDATED SAFETY GUIDELINES AS WE BEGIN PUBLIC MASSES AGAIN Since the 22ndof March, 2020, we have suspended the celebration of public Masses in our Archdiocese in line with the need to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. We as a People of God:Clergy, Religious and Lay faithful, have supported the State Government in her efforts to curb the spread of this virus.
We have complied with the Covid-19 safety measures put in place by the State Government and the NCDC. The past four months have been a period of spiritual, emotional and material difficulty for us but we never doubted the presence of the Lord with us in the midst of the storm. He was by our side guiding us through the most challenging times and now we are set to resume public Masse seven if with some restrictions. So, we thank the Lord and commend the People of God in our Archdiocese, the lay faithful, the Religious and the Priests, for the equanimity with which we weathered the stormy times.
However, we must not make the mistake of letting down our guards because the Covid-19 pandemic is still very much with us. We must just learn to live with it so that as we move on with our lives,we also do our best and make the best possible efforts to remain safe and healthy. Throughout this period, we have been in dialogue with other Christians and the State Government on what we must do in order to gather in worship and at the same time keep ourselves safe. Drawing from these engagements, we now present for execution the updated safety guidelines to guide the parishes and the faithful as we eventually resume celebration of public Masses. Kindly note that the updated parts of the previous guidelines are emboldened to call attention to them.
21.REQUIREMENTS OF CHURCHES AND PLACES OF WORSHIP.
a.Church premises and environment must be clean at all times
b.Parishes should ensure well-ventilated spaces for worship at all times.The Use of Air Conditioners is NOT allowed.
c.Hand washing facilities i.e. running water and soap should be provided at entry points and strategic places within the church premises.
d.Hand Sanitizers must be provided at major entrances to Church premises.
e.Proper refuse bins should be put in place within church premises so that people can properly dispose tissue paper/face mask.
f.Parishes should have clearly displayed designated points for entry and exit.
g.Trained personnel are to check body temperature at entry points.
h.Churches should be decontaminated before the first Mass of the day and after the last mass of the day, while wiping of surfaces should be carried out after each Mass.
i.Physical distancing horizontally and vertically of two (2) meters should be ensured.
j.Parishes can admit ONLY 50% of the capacity of their Church buildings for each Mass on Sundays only.
k.Other safety measures should be put in place (First Aid boxes, Fire Extinguishers, Muster Points, Emergency Exit Points etc.)2.PROCEDURES AND PROTOCOLS
a.Anyone coming into the Church premises must wear a face mask.
b.Anyone coming into the Church premises must submit to body temperature check.
c.After the temperature check at the gate, parishioners should wash or sanitize their hands before entering the Church building.
d.Parishes must have a Record of attendance at every Mass which should show name, age, sex, address and telephone/email of parishioners present at each Mass in case of need for contact tracing.
e.Public Masses are to be celebrated on SUNDAYS ONLY.Masses should be between one and two hours, with enough time allotted between Masses for parishioners to exit the church and for surfaces of pews to be wiped. f.Public weekday masses are NOT permitted for now.3
g.Celebration of Wedding masses, Baptisms and Funerals are permitted, with not more than 50 people present including the Ministers. In preparing people for marriage or baptism, there must be compliance with the Covid-19 protocols.
h.Celebration of Masses on Sunday evenings are also allowed as long as people can conveniently get back home safely before the curfew.
i.Celebration of more than one Mass simultaneously at different venues in the Church premises is allowed as long as the regulations are kept at each venue.
j.For Masses to be celebrated at the Outstation, absolute compliance with the Covid-19 protocols must be ensured.
k.Meetings of Societies and Pious Associations are not permitted for now.
l.The elderly i.e.those above 65 years of age, are dispensed from the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday. However,should they wish to attend, special considerations should be given to them. A particular Mass should be set aside for the elderly ones and if more convenient, the front pews should be reserved for them.m.Children,from age 12 and below,should stay back to worship from home for the next 8 weeks.n.In addition, the following are also dispensed from the obligation to attend mass:Nursing mothersThose who feel sickThose who don’t feel safe or comfortable enough to gather in a crowd even with the precautions we have put in place.