Kampala, Uganda – Members of Parliament want the 70-person limit on congregations in places of worship to be increased according to the size of the churches and mosques.
Speaking during a plenary sitting on Thursday, 01 October 2020, Busia Municipality MP, Geoffrey Macho, said that the ability by places of worship to observe standard operating procedures and social distancing indicated that they can adhere to measures to curb Covid-19.
“It is my prayer that the National Taskforce should advise the President that there are large cathedrals and mosques which should be allowed to sit a number of persons they can manage, with a two metre distance,” Macho said.
According to Macho, increasing the number of congregants would give the public access to physical, spiritual guidance and prayer.
The Busia MP also called on government to provide masks to the public to enable them adhere to standard operating procedures while attending prayers.
“If we can also have mosques and churches given temperature guns, this will go a long way in curbing the spread of the coronavirus,” he added.
Bulamogi County MP Kenneth Lubogo concured with Busia MP Macho and said it was unfair to limit the attendance during prayers to a specific number, despite the size of different prayer places.
“The most important thing is to establish the spacing to ensure that a church that can accommodate 2000 people can be allowed to sit 500 people under the restrictions as long as the space between them is observed,” Lubogo said.
On his part, Kassanda North MP, Patrick Nsamba argued that the spacing allowed by government in vehicles should be used to justify the need to increase the number of worshippers.
“Some places of worship have big spaces and we are wondering why the same people going for prayers will travel in a vehicle of four persons which has little spacing compared to a church where the standard spacing can be observed,” he said.
On her part, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga noted that it was unrealistic for prayer venues to organize soap and water for every group of 70 people who came in for prayers on a given day.
In response to the queries raised, State Minister for Primary Healthcare, Joyce Moriku said re-opening of the country’s sectors since the advent of the covid-19 pandemic has been done in a phased manner.
“It is true that 70 may be a small number but since this is the first window for the opening of places of worship, the President will make another statement after a review,” said Moriku.
She added that face masks had been distributed to all Ugandans and thus they ought to utilize them when attending prayers.