The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has restricted the attendance of all informal and formal events including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties and concerts, among others, in the territory to only 50 persons, at most.
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, announced this via a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Anthony Ogunleye, on Wednesday in Abuja.
Bello explained that the measure was part of the resolutions of an emergency COVID-19 meeting, aimed at containing the spread of the second wave of the pandemic in the territory.
He said that the meeting was informed that the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF), in its recent briefing, had described the FCT as one of the epicentres in this second wave.
He said that the surge was blamed on the lack of compliance with non-pharmaceutical interventions by residents, especially facial coverings in public, physical distancing and hand hygiene.
“Consequently, all bars, nightclubs, pubs, events and recreational venues in the FCT are to remain closed for the next five weeks.
“All restaurants, except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins, are to remain closed.
“All informal and formal festivity events, including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end-of-year events, among others, in the FCT are restricted to not more than 50 persons.
“Similarly, facilities for religious events are restricted to less than 50 per cent of capacity of use, during which physical distancing, mandatory use of face masks and hand hygiene are to be strictly enforced.”
Bello said that events, involving more than 50 persons, were to be held outdoors only, while virtual meetings were strongly encouraged.
The minister also said that public transportation systems were to carry passengers at not more than 50 per cent of their capacity, in compliance with social distancing rules.
He noted that all employees of FCTA and the six Area Councils of the FCT on Grade Level 12 and below were to work from home for the next five weeks.
He directed heads of the various Secretariats, Departments and Agencies to be responsible for compliance, adding that all schools in the FCT were to remain on vacation until January 18, 2021.
The minister stressed that all non-essential travels within and outside the FCT were highly discouraged, while residents above 60 years old with comorbidities, such as hypertension and diabetes, were strongly advised to remain indoors.
Bello urged the Abuja Market Management Ltd. and the various market associations to work together to ensure public compliance with all the guidelines on facial coverings, hand hygiene and physical distancing.
He warned that the FCT Administration would not hesitate to close down any market or business premises found contravening the guidelines.
“As resolved in its stakeholders meeting held on Dec. 14, the FCT Administration remains committed to enforcing all COVID-19 guidelines, as issued.
“Enforcement teams have been mandated to carry out the arrest of violators and prosecute them through the mobile courts system,” he said.
The minister enjoined residents to fully comply with all the extant health and safety protocols, in order to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the FCT.