Governor Udom Emmanuel has announced modalities that will guide the gradual lifting of the lockdown of the state.
The announcement, which formed part of the governor’s statewide broadcast on Saturday, May 2, comes more than 30 days after Akwa Ibom State government put social and business activities in the state on hold in order to check the spread of covid-19.
The governor, in his address, emphasized the use of face mask in public, making it compulsory for everyone in the state.
He stated that the reopening of the state is in line with guidelines from the federal government to relax some restrictions which were put in place to enable the country manage the pandemic, saying the state would seize this opportunity “to open up our economy and put our State back to work again”.
Governor Emmanuel stated that ‘the use of face mask by all persons is now compulsory in public places”.
The directive also stated that “a dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed all over the state from the hours of 8 pm to 6 am effective Monday, May 4th, 2020.
“The ban on religious gatherings, hospitality services, social gatherings, parties, funerals and concerts remain in effect until further notice. All plazas and recreational centres are to remain closed. All schools will remain closed until further notice.
“However, our School on Radio programme on AKBC Radio which has been hugely welcomed and popular will continue to address the instructional and teaching needs of our students until we are able to reopen schools”, he stated.
The guideline, however, maintained the ban on non-essential inter-State movements, stating that it remains prohibited except those involving agricultural produce or medical personnel and equipment. Similarly, it stated that markets will be opened three times a week, (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) between 10 am – 4 pm to enable people to stock up their supplies. Face masks must be worn and social distancing must be observed by all.
On movement within the state, the governor directed that “all passengers using public transport must make use of face mask. Tricycles must not carry more than three passengers. Taxis must carry a maximum of three persons (One in front and two behind), and buses must not carry more than two persons per row. All public transport operators must provide hand sanitizers in their vehicles. Also, remember that the ban on commercial motorcycles within the precincts of Uyo capital city is still in effect”.
He revealed that “farmers will be allowed to carry out their tasks and freely transport their food items while wearing facemasks and not be more than three people in any given public transport vehicle. Agricultural produce will be allowed free and easy movement across the State – the use of facemasks must be enforced”.
In addition, Governor Emmanuel directed that in order to help reopen the state economy and get the machinery of governance moving again, “a phased resumption of duties will come into effect. All Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries should work out modalities that will get the staff of their respective Ministries to return to work in batches.
He, however, urged them to ensure that not more than 30 per cent of the workforce of each Ministry, Department and Agency is at work at any given time. All workers should observe social distancing and personal hygiene requirements including the compulsory use of face masks.