Churches and mosques have been given permission to reopen to their congregants but only for an hour for each service.

President Akufo-Addo, who said this during his 10th address to the nation Sunday added that such services must adhere to a mandatory one-metre rule of social distancing between congregants.

“An abridged format for religious services can commence. Twenty-five per cent attendance, with a maximum number of one 100 congregants, can worship at a time in church or at the mosque.

“In addition to the mandatory wearing of masks for all persons at all times in churches and mosques, a register of names and contact details of all worshippers and handwashing facilities and sanitisers must be provided,” he said.

In his ninth address, he extended the ban on public gathering, including religious activities, festivals and funerals till the end of May.

President Akufo-Addo explained that the measures taken are to combat the spread of virus.

“So, during this period, there will continue to be a ban on public gatherings such as holding of conferences, workshops, parties, night clubs, drinking spots, festivals, political rallies, religious activities, sporting events. All educational facilities private and public, remain closed.

“There is still a ban on funerals, other than private burials with not more than 25 persons. It is noteworthy that the police are arresting and prosecuting persons, irrespective of their status in society who flout these regulations.”

But announcing measures to live with the virus, he said government will be easing the restrictions in phases.

Phase one includes opening up religious places of worships from June 5, albeit with certain conditions.

“Religious institutions that are desirous of opening their premises to their members, such as churches, mosques and others, must disinfect, fumigate and put in place the requisite logistics needed to guarantee safe opening and operation.

“They must work with the designated, regulatory bodies and undertake test runs of the protocols I have outlined,” the President said.

He appealed that to the religious bodies that “in the case of Christians, on the first Sunday of re-opening, i.e. June 7, in the case of the Adventists, Saturday, June 6, and in the case of Muslims, on the first Friday, i.e. Ṣalāt al-Jumuʿah on June 5, to dedicate their worship to prayers for the nation in these challenging times.”

According to him, the Religious Affairs Minister, will on Monday outline in detail, the specific guidelines for the safe reopening of our churches and mosques.