Kenya: Worship Times Increased to 90 Minutes, Age Expanded to 6-65years

(file photo).
11 August 2020

Nairobi — More Kenyans will be allowed into places of worship and for longer, after the COVID-19 Interfaith Council revised its guidelines.

The Council has increased time for worship by 30 minutes to 90 minutes and changed the age limit to over 6 to 65 years, from an initial 13 to 58 years.

The Council has also scrapped the 100-person limit in places of worship, in favour of determination by social availability and the adherence of the 1.5 metres distancing.

Chairman of the Council Anthony Muheria says the decision comes on the back of high level of compliance in places of worship, where there has been over 90 percent obedience.

"Having seen the high level of compliance in places of worship, we are convinced that the Kenyans will now follow the requirements of wearing masks, social distancing, washing of hands, and self-regulation to an acceptable degree especially in the worship gatherings in the course of the week and in their main days," Muheria said.

With the revision, Muheria said the Council will especially be keen on ensuring congregants wear masks, wash hands before and after the worship service and keep social distance.

"We however continue to urge all those who are elderly, sick or with health conditions, to still worship from their homes. We need to apply personal responsibility, and not expose ourselves when we are still in the rising infections," he said.

The Council however raised an alarm over flouting of guidelines in funerals, stating that compliance is currently below 10 percent.

Muheria notes that obedience of the funeral guidelines is easily waived and flouted depending on the social status of individuals.

The Council has set the number of attendants in funerals at 100 persons, up from an initial 15 persons, saying that it is reasonable and not too constraining. "We plead that we strictly follow this requirement in order to contain any infection spread through Funerals. We also insist that there should not be food sharing as the risk becomes even higher when people remove their masks to eat," he said.

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