Choirs discouraged as church services resume

Choirs have been rendered inactive as the government has advised that churches make use of pre-recorded songs during church service.

In most churches, the choir is noted for their energy, command of the microphone and auditorium when it comes to praises and worship but choristers would have to ‘drop’ their microphones coming Sunday.

Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Samuel Kofi Dzamesi, outlining the guidelines for safe reopening of churches and mosques on Monday said it was necessary for churches to adhere to the said directive.

“We want to discourage singing in groups, pre-recorded songs or solos should be used in church. No crowd dancing and waving of handkerchiefs in churches,” the minister announced amidst laughter from the journalists.

As part of the safety protocols, the minister said there was a need to “Sanitize microphones immediately after use. All who speak and sing in churches including choir masters, pastors and Sunday school teachers and announcers must wear face masks.”

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He also said that the church should use pre-packaged communion, which would be placed at the point of entry for members. Offering bowls are also to be placed at the entrance of the churches.

The sector minister also advised the congregants to avoid sharing personal items, such as, watches, purse and mobile phones.

He further urged people with underlining health problems such as diabetes, liver problems, asthma, to stay home.

Churches and mosques to be closed down for non-compliance – Dzamesi

Below are some other proposed directives

1. No mask: No entry policy to be enforced

2. Provision of handwashing facilities with running water and soap and/or FDA approved alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

3. Provision of adequate waste management facilities (bins, cans, bin-liners and single-use tissues).

4. Provision of adequate toilet facilities for use by members.

5. Regular cleaning and disinfection of frequently used communal places (like toilet surfaces) and frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs/handles, preferably every 1-2 hours depending on the rate of utilization.

6. Trained cleaners with the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning items to clean the facilities regularly and handle waste appropriately.

7. Provide adequate ventilation, i.e. open windows to allow for the maximum circulation of fresh air, if possible, avoid confined air-conditioned rooms.

8. Display approved health promotion materials on COVID-19 at vantage points to remind congregants to keep to social distancing protocols, wearing of the masks, regular handwashing, coughing and sneezing etiquette.

9. Ensure a No handshake, No hugging and No Spitting policy at all time.

10. Form COVID task force comprising of members who are preferably health workers. They must be trained in Health Promotive prevention measures, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) and Evacuation Procedures by Ghana Health Service.

11. The COVID task force should Call 112 or 311 for support to enable evacuation if anyone develops fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing during service.

12. Unwell Persons are not allowed to attend church. Older persons and people of any age with underlying medical conditions, heart diseases, diabetes, liver disease, and asthma are advised to stay away from church service.

13. Place offering bowls at the entrance and exit points for members to give offerings and tithes when entering or on their way out of church premises. Encourage cash transfers via mobile

14. In observance of social distancing protocols, laying on of hands should not be allowed.

15. Spend at least 5 minutes of church service time to educate church members on Covid-19.

16. Provide separate sitting areas for the aged and for families that are together.

17. The church is encouraged to mobilize resources to help individuals in need including offering church health facilities.

18. Thermometer guns or thermal scanners are to be provided for checking the temperature of congregants at entry points.

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