The Bayelsa State Task Force on Covid-19 has sealed off six churches for alleged non-compliance with the operational protocols required to conduct services during the COVID-19 in the state.
Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa Ministry of Information, Mr Freston Akpor, confirmed the development on Monday in Yenagoa.
He saie that the Security Sub-Commitee of the Task Force on Covid-19 sealed off the churches during its surveillance on Sunday.
The state government had on May 7, 2020, relaxed its restriction on social gatherings and allowed churches to hold services with not more than 50 members.
The relaxation was said to have been granted subject to compliance with conditions on provision hand washing facilities, wearing of face masks and observance of physical distancing in the sitting arrangements.
Akpor noted, “The six churches were sealed off for failing to comply with safety measures put in place by the government to contain the spread of the pandemic and to protect the people of Bayelsa.
“The affected churches are Living Faith Church, Igbogene; Salvation Victory Centre, Igbogene; and Shalom International Christian Centre, along Tombia-Amassoma road.
“Others are Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, Opolo and Hebrews International Church, Ayama road and Great Grace Distinguished Assembly, Okutukutu.
“The churches will remain shut until further notice to serve as a deterrence to other churches. The move will help in ensuring that other churches adhere to the protocols on hand washing, use of face masks and social distancing as measures to check the spread of the virus in the state.”
He said that the security sub-committee of the task force on Covid-19 had unsealed two churches earlier shut down for violating safety measures on the pandemic.
Akpor, who is also a member of the Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force, explained that the two churches, the Halleluyah Deliverance Ministry International and Embassy Faith churches were unsealed after they signed an undertaking to comply with prescribed safety protocols.