COVID-19: Rivers Reopens Markets, Insists on Compliance with Protocols

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike,

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

Rivers State Government has announced the re-opening of all market places in the state with effect from today, from 7a.m. to 6p.m. daily.

The state Governor, Nyesom Wike, who announced this in a state-wide broadcast yesterday, however, said Rumuokwurusi (Oil Mill) and Oginigba slaughter still remain closed.

He stated that as the market places resume business, they must operate in strict compliance with the established protocols on wearing of face masks, washing of hands and maintaining social distancing.

The governor said the state government lifted the ban placed on market places to increase the tempo of economic activities in the state.

He said market managers must provide equipment for hand washing and use of sanitizers for everyone at the entrance of every market place; ensure wearing of face mask as well as maintaining social distancing.

Wike also warned that any market place that opens to the public and fails to comply strictly with established protocols would be closed down and the market managers would be prosecuted, while the contravening shops shall be forfeited to the state government without notice.

He also directed that churches could now hold services with 50 per cent of their hall capacity provided the leadership could enforce wearing of face masks and washing of hands at the entrance by worshippers.

“The ban on outdoor sports activities at the Port Harcourt Club, Golf Club and the Port Harcourt Polo Club is also lifted.

“Members of these clubs must also comply with the established COVID-19 protocols or risk another closure.

“In addition, all night clubs, cinemas, bars and in-service restaurants still remain banned until further notice. The established restrictions on public burials and weddings are still also in force.

“All local government areas chairmen are hereby directed to ensure strict compliance with the protocols in their respective areas,” he said.

The governor said the state has increased its capacity for surveillance, contact tracing, testing and treatment of positive cases in line with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), oil and gas companies that provided PCR laboratories, as well as also considering the request for approval and certification by some private laboratories to provide sample collection and testing services.

On the dissolution of the Taskforce on Illegal Motor Parks and Street Trading, the governor said the decision was taken because the members took the laws into their hands.

While urging motorists and traders not to go back to their old ways, Wike announced that a taskforce with disciplined members would soon be reconstituted.