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Christians throng churches after Museveni relaxed virus restrictions

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Several Christians across the country today thronged churches for Sunday prayers despite President Museveni’s clarification that places of worship would be reopened starting October 15, 2020, after six months of closure as government moves to relax the virus-induced lockdown.

Mr. Museveni on September 20 said places of worship would be reopened with only 70 congregants observing all the other SOPs, individual prayers/confessions, no night prayers, no Kids’ Sunday school, among others.

Some places of worship reopened today with more than 70 congregants.

At St Andrews Cathedral in Mbale City, there were more than 100 congregants who attended today’s service.

At St Kalori Lwanga, Mbiko Parish in Njeru Municipality, Buikwe District, worshippers were seen wearing facemasks and washing their hands before entering the church.

Like other places of worship we visited, congregants were tested for temperature before accessing the venue.

Fr Joe King, the priest at St Kalori Lwanga said they had tried to observe all other SOPs but could not handle the overwhelming number of congregants who turned up for prayers.

“We are dealing with a big number of Christians and the restrictions say we should not have more than 70 people. I think we have tried to follow the SOPs but the biggest challenge was to maintain the number because everyone leaves their home thinking is one of the 70 and there is no way you can chase them,” he said.

According to him, the scientist advising president Museveni should review some of the SOPs, especially the number of congregants.

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Christians pray at St Andrews Cathedral, Mbale City after the government reopened Churches. Photo | Michael Woniala

“Do not just sit in the office and make rules, they should go on the ground and find out.  If you go to all Churches, you will notice that they have more than 70 people. It is not practicable,” he added.

Due to the overwhelming number of congregants, the priest said they had erected a tent outside the church to accommodate other congregants.

At St Jude Catholic Church Malaba, the overwhelming number of congregants forced the priest to shift the service outside making it free to all.  However, he pledged to observe all SOPs in the subsequent Sunday services.

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Worshippers being registered before accessing church for mass at Rubaga Cathedral. Photo | Moses Ndhaye

The priest revealed that the parish has recommended the church to hold three shifts of services every Sunday.

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