COVID-19: Kigali mayor explains the one-mass only decision per church

By Elina Jonas Ruzindaza
On 20 July 2020 at 12:40

Churches began operating after 127 days of closure as part of a planned strategy to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. The opening instructions foretold that there would be many church services, but between one and the other, there would be time to clean the church.

This is not the case, because in the Catholic Church and other religions there have been one mass or one service, contrary to expectations.

In Kigali City, only 18 churches were allowed to resume operations. The Mayor of Kigali City, Rubingisa Pudence, explained that the decision to reduce the number of services was based on compliance with the guidelines for the prevention of the pandemic.

"We have made it clear to the church and mosque leaders that the intention is for people to go to church but to avoid the Coronavirus pandemic. So between first mass and second, or between two services, that cleanliness must be done in-depth,” he said.

“There is also disinfecting the church, chairs and even opening up to fresh air. It is a time-consuming process, and we have found that having one mass followed by another in an hour is not possible.”

Rubingisa said the clergy heard it and complied with it. He stressed that the purpose is for people to pray or do other work but avoid Coronavirus.

Among the directives issued by the Ministry of Local Government is that the temples will be put into operation only if they are first inspected by a monitoring team to establish that they meet the requirements for Coronavirus prevention, approved by the district administration and notified in writing.

Before entering the church, people were first tested for temperature levels and washing hands with clean water or hand sanitizer, and then everyone went through their place of registration so that when needed can be easily found.

When this phase is over, one enters the temple and sits in a designated position. Congregants keep the social distance and wear masks; from the leading singers to the priest who leads the Mass or the pastor.

Congregants of St Michel keeping the social distance and wearing masks.