LAGOS State, the nation’s commercial city, will soon be reopened for businesses and other endeavors, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, raised the hope on Sunday.
But business owners and religious centres must meet conditions set by the government.
Sanwo-Olu said pending when those conditions are met, “the status quo will remain.”
The state, which is the epicenter of the virus in the country, has been under lockdown and lately restrictions and curfew, to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
The governor spoke at the Government House in Marina during an update on the state of affairs with the management of COVID-19.
He said: “We are reviewing and considering how the phased unlocking will happen. If we see huge level of compliance, then it can happen in the next two to three weeks. If not, it could take a month or two months. It is until we are sure all of these players are ready to conform to our guidelines,” the governor said
From this week, he added, work would proceed fast towards reopening of the state’s economy adding that the government would embark on what he described as “Register to open.”
As the government is weighing the options, on the next line of action, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, (LCCI), unveiled the report of a survey it conducted on the effect of the lockdown on the economy of the state.
The report indicates that 81per cent of businesses have been “severely affected” by the COVID-19 lockdown with a mere 17 per cent indicating moderate impact on their business.
Sanwo-Olu, who announced that the 10 Government House workers who tested positive for Coronavirus had all been discharged and back at their duty posts, further explained how the reopening process would be.
“We are at a level where we are reviewing the other arms of the economy. In the coming days, we will be starting what we call Register-to-Open, which means all players in the restaurant business, event centres, entertaiment, malls and cinemas will go through a form of re-registration and space management.
“There is a regulation that will be introduced to supervise this move. We will be coming to their facilities to assess their level of readiness for a future opening. I don’t know when that opening will happen in the weeks ahead, but we want these businesses to begin to tune themselves to the reality of COVID-19 with respect to how their work spaces need to look like.
“For us, it is not to say they should re-open fully tomorrow or any time; there has been a process guiding the re-opening. We will be mandating Lagos State Safety Commission (LSSC) and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) to begin the enumeration process and the agencies will be communicating with all relevant businesses and houses in the days ahead. I must, however, caution that this should not be misinterpreted as a licence for full opening; it is certainly not. The State’s economy is not ready for that now.
“Similarly, places of worship we would be going and working with them as much as possible to see their level of preparedness ensuring that we keep as much space, in the event that we will be unlocking them in future”
Although the governor did not give specific time for the lifting of the lockdown, he however said it could be two, three weeks to one month time.
He said there would be a gradual phasing off of the lockdown because the economy of the state cannot be shut down for too long; but that “there has to be a process towards unlocking the whole place.”
Business hitherto excluded from the easing of the lockdown in the past one week, like hospitality, events, entertainment, malls etc, will re-register to open, a process that will enable the government to ascertain their level of preparedness for reopening in a few weeks.
The government, he said, will visit religious houses to determine their level of preparedness and compliance with social distancing regulation and use of facemask and other precautionary measures as the lockdown is being gradually phased out.
Sanwo-Olu said officials from the LSSCLASEPA will be visiting restaurants, companies, religious houses to assess their level of readiness.
“There is a regulation that will be introduced to supervise this move. We will be coming to their facilities to assess their level of readiness for a future opening. I don’t know when that opening will happen in the weeks ahead, but we want these businesses to begin to tune themselves to the reality of COVID-19 with respect to how their work spaces need to look like. “For us, it is not to say they should re-open fully tomorrow or any time; there has been a process guiding the re-opening.
According to him, the government had seen some encouraging levels of compliance at the open and food markets which needs to be improved upon while the contrary is the case with the yellow buses and interstate movements which he said the government would be looking into.
Sanwo-Olu said his government has approved special preference for the elderly of 60 years and above, beginning from this week, to be attended to in the banking halls, shopping malls and open shop between the hours of 9am to 10.30am before others will be allowed in to transact their businesses.
– May 18, 2020 @ 17:50 GMT /