Businesses in Rivers State can now open passively as Governor Nyesom Wike has cancelled the planned total lockdown on Obio-Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government areas of the state.
Governor Wike in a broadcast said the decision was reached by the Security Council after far-reaching review of the COVID-19 situation in the state.
Though, no direct pronouncements were made about the re-opening of businesses, the Governor in his address directed that measures put in place against COVID-19 in the state be exercised by, “shops, hotels, restaurants, churches, banks, business places and shopping malls,” which were hitherto barred from opening.
The Governor also said all borders remain closed just as he announced compulsory use of facemasks.
Governor Nyesom Wike, however, warned that the COVID-19 Task Force and security agencies have been directed to arrest and prosecute defaulters of the new measures introduced by the Rivers State Government.
“The pattern of infection remains predictable, as there is yet, any evidence of serious community transmission, although this cannot be ruled out with the increasing number of positive cases; the majority of which, are connected with contacts with oil company workers who imported the disease into the State.
“And so, while we should all still be concerned, since our set goals in the battle against the virus are not yet achieved, there is no need to fear.
“We are totally in control, working hard every day and believing that the worst will soon be behind us.
“In continuation of our struggle against the spread of COVID-19 in our State, we had planned to resume the total lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas from Wednesday 27th May 2020.
“However, after a comprehensive review of the measures we have taken and further considerations placed before us by well-meaning members of the public, the State Security Council has decided to cancel the proposed lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas of the State.
“In essence, no part of Rivers State is or will be under any lockdown from this moment and this will be so, except where it becomes necessary again.
“As we all know, the regular washing of hands, religious wearing of face masks, keeping effective physical and social distance of between 1.5 to 2 meters from other people, completely avoiding touching of faces with unwashed hands, and cleaning of surfaces we regularly touch have been identified as some of the most effective measures against contracting this virus in the absence of vaccine.
“These are not difficult measures that should warrant any excuses for negligence, non or ineffective compliance.
“Consequently, we wish to re-enforce our decision on the continuous implementation of the following measures throughout the State to mitigate the spread of this virus: All land borders, including all exit and entry routes into Rivers State shall remain closed to human and vehicular traffic, except those on essential services and duly exempted.
“All residents must wear face masks or covering into any public space, including our roads, banks, shopping malls, shops, hotels and in any lawful social gathering.
“The State task force and the security agencies have been directed to arrest and summarily prosecute any person seen on our streets or any other public place without wearing face masks.
“All banks, motor parks, hotels, restaurants, shops, business centres, shopping malls, and offices must maintain social distancing and enforce the wearing of face masks in their premises.
“The State task force and security agencies have been directed to seal up, prosecute and confiscate to the State any bank, shopping mall, restaurant, shop, business place or office that fails to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face masks in its premises.
“In addition to providing a daily guest list to the Police and the Department of State Security, hoteliers must not host large gatherings, including parties and receptions. Defaulting hotels will be sealed-up and the owners summarily prosecuted.
“All bars, beer palours, or drinking joints, night-clubs, viewing centres, open markets and cinemas shall remain closed until further notice;
“Oil mill market in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area shall remain closed until further notice;
“Oginigba Slaughter market in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area shall similarly remain closed until further notice.
“Mbiama market in Ahoada West Local Government Area shall also remain closed until further notice;
“All public weddings, burials and large social gatherings shall remain banned.
“Churches and other religious gatherings should continue to comply with the existing advisory on social distancing, initiate temperature checks and enforce the wearing of face masks during their activities,” he said.
Governor Wike assured that report of the possible outbreak of the virus in Bonny Island is being investigated.