The second phase of the reopening of places of worship will start on Friday, October 2, the Interfaith Council on Covid-19 says. Council chairperson Anthony Muheria issued further guidelines yesterday, a day after the government doubled the number of people allowed to attended funerals and weddings to 200. Funeral services can now last a maximum of two hours, up from one hour. However, under reviewed burial protocols sanctioned by the council, only 50 people will be allowed at the graveside. No food shall be served at funerals, Archbishop Muheria said.
He said bodies would be transferred straight to the funeral service venue. Muheria criticised the political class for taking advantage of funerals to push their agenda and in the process, flouting Covid-19 protocols. He said they should regard funerals as prayer gatherings and not political platforms.
“We have witnessed not only total flouting of COVID-19 guidelines, rules and protocols but also lack of decency and respect, especially from the political class,” said Muheria. He added: “We are appealing to you all to consider the dangers irresponsible behaviour at funerals can cause. We do not want one funeral to be the cause of other funerals.”
At the same time, food at weddings will only be served to the extended family. All the requirements in place regarding places of worship and gatherings like hand washing, physical distancing and temperature checks remain in force. Muheria further announced that those aged more than 65 years and those below age six are now welcome to places of worship.
Vulnerable and sick
However, the vulnerable and the sick will continue worshipping from home to avoid contagion. Meetings and special services for the youth and special groups have also been allowed, provided they follow the guidelines. The number of people allowed in any place of worship will be determined by the 1.2-metre physical distancing. He said the council now has a functional County COVID Interfaith committees that monitor compliance with the guidelines. Muheria said the major criteria that determined the phases were the number of new cases, the number of daily deaths and indicators like the positivity rate.