COVID-19: Only Staff On Specific Grade Levels Can Resume Work On May 4, Says PTF

*President Muhammadu Buhari (middle) with some members of the PTF when they briefed him recently at the State House, Abuja

Further explanation on the details of President Muhammadu Buhari’s address, which ordered lockdown to be gradually relaxed from Monday May 4, 2020 was provided today in Abuja. The explanations came from the Presidential Task Force on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (PTF).

The PTF, chaired by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Boss Mustapha said that federal offices nationwide based on specific grade levels can resume work from May 4 as directed by the President. Aside the federal offices, the PTF said the banking, construction, manufacturing sectors, as well as food processing companies, are also allowed to open from Monday. They however added that banks will only be allowed to open from 8:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. daily while observing the new restrictions put in place by the government.

Dr. Aliyu Sani, the National Coordinator of the PTF on COVID-19, provided these explanations during the daily briefing by the PTF. He added that temperature test, respiratory hygiene and restriction of gathering of not more than 20 persons will be introduced. According to him, the task force would be engaging with state governments to make sure that the PTF have a common approach to the opening of offices.

Hear him, “For government offices, government staff will be allowed to resume from the 4 of May but it will be based on specific grade levels and specific days so that we can reduce the amount of congestion that we might have in our government offices and we will be discussing further with state governments to make sure that we have a common approach to this.

“Banks will be allowed to open but there will be restriction in the opening hours to between 8:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. and together with all the other preventive measures I have already mentioned. In addition to this, from the point of agriculture and rural development, companies involved in food processing can commence operation. In construction sites, critical road will be allowed but waivers will be provided by state governments to enable movement. For the manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries, we will encourage shift work and limiting staff to only 30 to 50 per cent to maintain social distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight.”

The PTF insisted that social gatherings remain suspended pending review of the new measures put in place by the government. In that respect, restaurants and schools will remain closed but neighbourhood markets are allowed to operate during the relaxed lockdown. Again, he said, “Restaurant will not be opened to the public but will be allowed to engage in-home delivery of food. Schools will remain closed until further evaluation. Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching.

“Social activities such as the use of recreational parks, communal sports, concert, social parties and movie theaters will be suspended until further review. Neighborhood markets will continue to open with the same standard and restrictions that we have applied in the past as well as supermarkets, and retail stores.”

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