Rwanda: Religious Organisations Prepare for Reopening

Religious organisations have started implementing measures that were requested by the government for places of worship to reopen.

After the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic in Mid-march, places of worship as well as other events that involve mass gathering activities were halted as one of the measures to curb the spread of the virus.

After the lockdown was lifted, the government proposed five conditions that would be observed if the places of worship are re-opened.

The New Times visited several places of worship to check whether the conditions are being implemented.

Service attendance

Most of the churches have increased the number of church services so as to limit big gatherings.

Foursquare Gospel church for example in Kimironko will use a google tracking sheet that will facilitate the contact tracing process as well as limit the number of attendants.

"We have a google form that every attendant will use to register before coming to church. It has a fixed number of people, so if you try to register after the minimum number allowed, you will automatically be placed to the next service", Bishop Fidele Masengo explained to The New Times.

Apart from using infrared thermometers at each entrance, he adds that they will hold three services each Sunday to limit the number of attendants.

Offerings

Most of the churches have shifted from the normal hand offerings to using digital payments. Father Jean Boscop Ntagungira of Regina pacis in Remera says that all their followers have been urged to use digital payments.

"We have sensitized all our church members to adopt the online payment methods, as we fight this pandemic," he said.

Hygiene

Among all the places of worship that The New Times visited, it was clear that all the hygiene measures have been adhered to: All the chairs were marked to be used or not and washing facilities were present at all entrances.

Sheikh Salim Hitimana, advisor to the president of Rwanda Inter-religious council said that all faithful will be required to wash their hands before entering any place of worship.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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