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COVID-19 Lockdown: FG approves 4 hours daily for food markets in Lagos, Ogun, Abuja

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The Federal Government has announced guidelines for the implementation of COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions to curtail the spread of the virus in the country.
According to the document released by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 In Abuja on Wednesday, as part of the measures to enforce social distancing and limit the spread of the coronavirus, the Federal Government has decided that schools, organisations and businesses in FCT, Lagos and Ogun states will close effective from 30 March for an initial period of two weeks.

It explained that for the period of the lockdown, every person would be confined to his or her place of residence unless strictly for the purpose of performing an essential service, obtaining an essential good or service, or seeking medical care.

It said all borders linking the two states and FCT to the rest of the country would be shut during the period of the lockdown, except for the transportation of persons on essential duties, food, fuel, manufactured goods or donated relief items.

Other measures are: mass gathering is prohibited, except for funeral services as guided by infection prevention and control regulations, for which social distancing rules apply and crowds are limited to not more than 20 persons.

Movement between and within the affected states and FCT is restricted except for workers involved in the delivery of authorised essential services, duties, food and goods.

Retail shops and malls must be closed except where essential goods are sold. Shops and malls that are open must enforce social distancing and hygiene measures in line with issued guidelines.

Any business or organisation providing essential goods and services must identify the staff who will perform those services.

Commuter services between cities and states including passenger rail services, bus services, e-hailing services, maritime and air passenger transport are suspended for the period of the lockdown in the affected states.

Limited transport services are allowed for the movement of workers, services and goods in response to COVID-19 and for the purpose of seeking medical attention or provision of essential services.

Transport services available during the lockdown must implement social distancing and hygiene measures. The essential services and businesses that are exempted are: Private and public hospitals, Dental clinics (emergencies only), Specialist clinics, Pharmacies and chemist shops and Opticians and ophthalmologists (emergencies only).

Retail: All should ensure social distancing and increased hygiene measures are in place. Food markets to open from 10:00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. daily)

Supermarkets and shops selling food and essential non-food items (groceries)

Shopping malls (only shops selling food and essential groceries shall open)

Food and drink. Food delivery services (no eating-in)

Also, Logistics and transportation. Fuel stations, Registered repair garages, Company car services for essential staff, Post offices, Courier and distribution companies and Private security companies.

Also exempted are trucks carrying essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals and manufactured goods related to the COVID-19 response, airline ground handling staff and essential aviation staff.

Hotels with guests and/or hosting essential staff (no restaurants, bar services or night clubs shall open to the public), orphanages and homes.

Banks are to maintain skeletal services including ATMs, essential online operations and cash services.

Government institutions and public utilities such as Electricity distribution and Transmission company, Waterboards, Waste management, Environmental Health Services and Telecommunications companies are allowed to operate during the lock

Only 20 people are allowed at places of worship and small funeral services limited.

Also exempted are farms, distributors of food and perishable commodities, manufacturers of food, drugs, pharmaceuticals and essential products related to the response while cargo and specially approved flights  are allowed.
Telecommunication companies, newspaper, TV, radio and broadcasting companies, workers allied to this sector including newspaper vendors, Internet service providers, legal and security as well as public and private security agencies are equally exempted.Court and correctional centre staff, diplomatic missions, International development partners and honorary consulates are permitted to open.

On markets, the guidelines said in order for markets to operate, state and local government authorities as well as leaders of market associations must take full responsibility for strict compliance with the following protocols:*.Only shops and stalls selling food and groceries shall be allowed to open to customers between 10:00am and 2:00pm every 48 hours or less frequently.

* All market associations must make provision for hand washing for all sellers and buyers. At entry and exit points of the market, both sellers and buyers must wash or sanitize their hands.

* Each stall/shop in the market should ensure that their customers queue and are attended to serially while complying with social distancing measures and avoiding overcrowding.

* All shop owners and staff must arrive and set up at least 30 minutes before the market is open to customers. Each store owner is responsible for cleaning and disinfecting their shops.

* All markets should strictly comply with social distancing policies. A safe gap should be ensured between shop/stall owners and customers.

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