Economy

Good News Govt Offices, Banks Can Open From Monday, Says PTF

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has announced that government offices and banks can resume operations from Monday the 4th of May.

This follows the approval of a phased easing of the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory, by President Muhammadu Buhari, to allow for the restoration of socio-economic activities.

However, there would be a 6:00 am to 8:00 pm curfew to regulate the movement of people.

Giving a breakdown of how the easing of the lockdown will be implemented, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, Aliyu Sani, during Wednesday’s briefing, said all government offices and banks can resume operations from Monday.

“For government offices, staff will be allowed to resume from the 4th 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 the offices,” he said.

For financial institutions such as banks, the PTF coordinator noted that they will be allowed to open but only between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm, while also ensuring that staff and customers adhere to the hygiene and social distancing measures.

Aliyu stressed that the easing of the lockdown is actually just a shift from one set of interventions to another.

“The most important thing I want to emphasize is, even though we talk about easing the lockdown, in actual fact, we are not really easing, we are just shifting from one set of interventions to another because we are really still far from controlling this epidemic,” he said.

For general movements outside the curfew periods, the PTF coordinator said: “people may go out for work, to buy necessary food and for exercise but we strongly advise persons to restrict themselves to their local government areas except for those that live in metropolitan areas”.

Interstate travel, according to him, will be restricted to only those involved in the supply chain and services such as goods, agricultural products, petroleum products, courier services and relief items etc.

On the other hand, for intrastate movement, services and businesses were advised to provide hand sanitizers for customers.

The general public was also advised to imbibe the use of face masks and other hygiene measures.

On the issue of mass gatherings, Aliyu said there shall be no gatherings of more than 20 persons anywhere per time so as to ensure adherence to physical distancing.

For the manufacturing sector, “we encourage shift work for manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies and limiting staff to only 30-50% to maintain physical distancing and pharmacy shops may remain open overnight,” he said.

Restaurants have been asked not open to the public but will be allowed to engage in home deliveries of food items.

While partial operations will be allowed for the above sectors, academic institutions were, however, advised to remain closed until further evaluation is done.

“Schools are encouraged to continue with e-learning and virtual teaching”, the PTF coordinator added.

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