By Dave Okpogadie, Asaba
Delta State Government has announced the reopening of cinemas, film houses, eateries and hotel restaurants as the state continues to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
The state commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, who stated this during a press conference in Asaba, said although cinemas and other hotel restaurants are now allowed to operate, they must operate at 50 percent of their capacity and ensure all COVID-19 preventive protocols as directed by the NCDC are observed.
He warned that the state government would continue to monitor the operations of cinemas and film houses to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 preventive measures.
“Recall that in our last press briefing, we mentioned that churches and worship centres can now hold more than one service; that still remains, but today we are announcing further relaxation of the COVID-19 protocol and that is to the effect that owners of movies and cinema houses can now operate.
“But they can only do so at 50 percent capacity, in which case, they are not going to fill everywhere. For instance, if a movie theatre is supposed to take 50 persons, they should organize it such that it will take 25 persons at a time.
“They must constantly fumigate the halls, just as they must also observe all the important protocols that we have reeled out in the past, that is, sanitizing or washing of hands of persons coming into the theatre houses, and of course. wearing of face mask is compulsory for everybody going to access such movie houses,” he said.
“We will continue to monitor what different persons are doing and if anybody is found to have contravened the protocols we are giving out, be rest assured that we will take action.
“We sympathize with them because we know what it takes for their business centres to be closed for this period of time but it’s important that we preserve the lives of our people.
“As we continue to review the processes, we will inform them on further directives but for now, they must operate at 50 per cent and then observing other preventive protocols”
The commissioner said the move is to open up the business side of the state..
“Our decision is to also enable our people working in such places to return to work and to also allow these businesses become functional again.” he added.
He said restaurants in hotels can now operate but without buffet, adding that if people must be allowed to eat in the hotel restaurants, the officials must be the ones to serve them.
The commissioner further said clubs and lounges remain closed until government devises a solution on how they can be reopened without aggravating the spread of the virus.
“For some of the places where people go to relax, what is important is that they must observe all the preventive protocols but we haven’t taken decisions on lounges and bars.” Aniagwu stated.
He thanked Deltans and residents for adhering to the preventive protocols to ensure the virus was eliminated in the state.
“We have made reasonable progress in the fight against the pandemic and we must thank our people for their cooperation and understanding while we continue to plead that the use of face masks is still very much compulsory.”
On curfew time, Aniagwu disclosed that the state government had also adjusted its curfew time to from 12 midnight to 4am in line with the Presidential Task Force directive.
He said the state government will continue to remain transparent, open and accountable to the people towards COVID-19 donations just as it had published names of donors who assisted the state during the pandemic.
According to Aniagwu, major donations to the state during the lockdown came from the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID); which includes the CBN, Zenith Bank and a host of other cooperate bodies, and such palliatives came in form of food items which took care of over 48,000 households.
On the full resumption of primary and secondary schools in the state, the commissioner said necessary steps were being taken by the government to ensure schools in the state do not become a hub for the spread of the virus when finally reopened.