COVID-19: Abia govt approves new working hours for markets, issues new guidelines for wedding, schools, others

The Abia State Government has approved new working hours for markets in the State as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country.

It also released new guidelines on how wedding ceremonies will henceforth be conducted in the State.

Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on COVID-19, Barr. Chris Ezem, made this known in a statement on Thursday.

Ezem stated that violators of the guidelines would face serious consequences, including disruption of the event(s) and prosecution by the relevant court.

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“Going forward, Abia State’s new Covid-19 protocol will be as follows:

“The ban on interstate movement is hereby lifted as approved by the Federal Government up to curfew time from 10 pm to 6 am. On intrastate transport, Keke operators are to carry a maximum of 2 persons, minibus (Oke-bekee), maximum of 5, Hiace Bus, maximum of 7 and coaster, maximum of 14. All drivers and passengers are mandated to wear face masks throughout their trip. All Intra and interstate transporters are to strictly observe curfew time as directed by the Federal Government. The Government will provide digital thermometers at our State borders to screen interstate travellers as travellers who fail the screening would be turned back or quarantined in the nearest Covid-19 holding area. Security agencies are authorized to ensure strict compliance with the use of a face mask and must apprehend violators.

“All burials, weddings and other public gatherings must be approved by the office of the SSG upon application made through the TC Chairman of the applicable Local Government. No such gathering must exceed 50 persons and the necessary Covid-19 protocol must be observed. Leaders of churches meant to preside over this event(s) are requested to obtain further information from the office of the Secretary to Abia State Government. Violation of these guidelines will attract serious consequences, including disruption of the event(s) and prosecution by the relevant court.

“Markets are now to operate Mondays to Fridays from 7 am to 5 pm. Market Enforcement Teams are to ensure that all Covid-19 protocols strictly apply in all our markets; namely Compulsory provision of washing facilities, regular fumigation and compulsory wearing of face mask which will be inspected three times per week by the State task force and enforced every day by the market enforcement committee.

“In line with Federal Government directives, our ministry of Education is currently working out modalities for the reopening of schools particularly for primary 6, JSS 3 and SS3 students in the State. The Government, however, warns that anybody running classes or study centres contrary to Government directive will be prosecuted. Such a study center should approach the honourable commissioner for Education for guidelines and necessary accreditation; otherwise, they stand the risk of permanent closure and prosecution.

“Government will soon make public a new enforcement regime for compulsory use of face masks.

“Abians are strongly advised to continue to observe all Covid-19 protocols as regards compulsory wearing of face masks, observing regular hygiene of handwashing and use of sanitizer and social distancing to ensure that we all stay safe at all times.”

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