The Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs in consultation with the Ministry of Health, has reviewed guidelines for the Churches and Religious Organisations, by increasing the duration for worship and allowing faith based groups to gather for conference.
The review of the guidelines is in view of the lifting of some of the restrictions which led to the opening of bars, among others.
Permanent Secretary Reverend Howard Sikwela announced in a statement made available to media in Lusaka that the Church and Religious Organisations have been allowed to increase duration for their worship services from 1 hour to 2 hours while church conferences and other gatherings outside the main services have been allowed on condition that they get clearance certificate from health authorities.
“However the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs would like to urge Children below the age of five years are not allowed to attend public gatherings but those above 6 years can attend Sabbath or Sunday school provided they wear masks properly and observe social distancing. Teachers conducting children’s ministry in churches are advised to ensure that they help children adhere to health guidelines at all times and avoid giving children activities that compel them to work or play in groups,” the statement read in part.
Reverend Sikwela said elderly people above 60 years can attend church and religious gatherings except for those with underlying conditions.
The Permanent Secretary said the use of classrooms for church services however remains suspended subject to review.
“The Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs would want to thank the Church and Religious Organisations for complying with health guidelines as prescribed by the Ministry of Health as the nation continues to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The Church and Religious Organisations are therefore reminded that all the above reviewed guidelines shall be observed,” he stated.
He advised the religious groupings to adhere to health guidelines as exhibited since the pandemic broke out in the country as they gather for their meetings and conferences.