KZN premier slams document to 'guide reopening' of churches

13 May 2020 - 13:57 By Zimasa Matiwane
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala.
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala.
Image: Jackie Clausen

KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has had to remind churches that the country is still on level 4 of lockdown and gatherings are still prohibited, including religious gatherings.

This follows the circulation on social media of a document titled “Return to church guidelines from May 21”, purported to be a guideline for the reopening of churches during level 4 of the lockdown.

The document is not attributed to any church or religious organisation.

A document titled Return to church guidelines from May 21 has been circulated on social media.
A document titled Return to church guidelines from May 21 has been circulated on social media.
Image: Supplied

“As a country we are still in level 4 and churches are clearly not operating. Until such time that an announcement on the change of the level is announced by the president, we should treat any speculation as mere speculation. Citizens will be appropriately informed as we move to the next levels,” said Zikalala.

The “return to church guidelines from May 21” is a “road map” of returning to churches that includes fumigation of church buildings and setting up of chairs to adhere to social distancing.

It also includes guidelines for congregants ranging from provision of sanitisers at the church entrance, checking of body temperatures and wearing of masks.

The document says how church services should be conducted, regulating services to a maximum of two a week, suggesting laying of hands without contact, and prohibiting Sunday schools.

The premier said he understood that churches are struggling and have been hurt by the Covid-19 crisis. However, he appealed against the contravention of the regulations and assured everyone that the government was assessing the situation and would at every stage act in the best interest of all citizens to protect their lives, their economy, jobs and general wellbeing.