The Federal Government on Monday, December 21, 2020, announced the imposition of new Covid-19 restrictions across the country including advising on the shutting down bars, event centres over the next 5 weeks.
This new development follows the outbreak of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in various parts of the country. Night clubs, bars, and event centres recorded increased turnout in recent weeks as more Nigerians returned from abroad for the holiday. This also coincided with an increased rate of Covid-19 infections across the country.
READ: A Post-COVID Economy
According to a series of tweet posts on the official Twitter handle of the Aide to the President on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, the new instruction is contained in a statement issued by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, following the President’s authorization at the briefing of the task force in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The President authorized the PTF to engage with the states and the Federal Capital Territory to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions.
Some of these new restrictions advised include;
- Closure of all bars, nightclubs, pubs, and event centres, as well as recreational venues in all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
- Closure of all restaurants except those providing services to hotel residents, takeaways, home deliveries, and drive-ins.
- Restriction of all informal and formal festivity events including weddings, conferences, congresses, office parties, concerts, seminars, sporting activities, end of year events to not more than 50 persons.
- Limiting of all gatherings linked to religious events to less than 50% capacity of the facility of use during which physical distancing, mandatory use of face masks shall be strictly enforced.
- Public transportation systems are to carry passengers not more than 50% of their capacity.
What this means
By advising a shutdown, the latest restrictions by the Federal Government do not appear mandatory except the states impose restrictions by themselves.
- If the states choose to comply with the advice of the FG, then it is likely that all bars, nightclubs, event centres, and restaurants will be shutdown.
- It is also likely that states who implement the advice of the FG will clamp down on house parties and any indoor events that could lead to more Covid-19 cases.
- The latest restrictions if implemented will negatively impact shows and events featuring Nigerian artistes and comedians.
- X-mas Weddings are also adversely affected by the new restrictions.
- It is unclear if all states will adhere to the advice of the president. Most states, particularly in the South East and South-South rely on the Christmas and new year holidays to boost their local economy.
Any event where more than 50 persons are attending is expected to be held outdoors.
Schools are expected to remain closed till at least the 18th of January, 2021.
— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) December 21, 2020
2nd wave of COVID-19: President @MBuhari has authorised the PTF to engage with the States & the FCT to assume full ownership of this stage of the response by deploying legal structures and resources, including enforcement to manage the pandemic within their jurisdictions. THREAD:
— Bashir Ahmad (@BashirAhmaad) December 21, 2020