What Lagos State new coronavirus restrictions really mean

On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, addressed residents on the new lockdown restrictions that will kick in from May 4.

The new directives from the governor are a corollary to President Buhari’s nationwide address on easing the coronavirus restrictions which have been in place for a month now.

If you are Lagosian, we are unpacking Sanwo-Olu’s COVID-19 era directives in the following paragraphs:

  • There will be a curfew from 8pm to 6am, the governor says. “This means we expect all Lagosians to stay in their homes during the curfew. Furthermore, there is also a ban on interstate travel at this time. This means no one will be allowed in and out of Lagos till further notice.”
  • Elderly folks and folks with underlying or pre-existing health conditions are advised to stay indoors as much as practicable. 
  • You are allowed to bury your dead, but you have to observe social distancing while at it. The size of gatherings at funerals must not exceed 20 people, including officiating ministers. Once done with the funeral, all guests are to head home as singly and peacefully as possible. Loitering won’t be allowed.
  • The use of face masks is now compulsory. Throw in a hand sanitizer in your car or back pocket or some hand gloves if you are like me, and you are good to go. 
  • All schools will remain closed. Primary, secondary and tertiary institutions aren’t opening on May 4. Pupils and students alike will continue receiving lessons or lectures online from the comfort of their homes.
  • All churches and mosques will remain closed. Clubs and pubs are not allowed to open shop either. Barber shops and hair dressing salons will remain closed. Muslims taking part in the Ramadan fast must observe all prayers and meals at home. 
  • In the governor’s words, “entertainment centres, cinemas, arcades, bars, casinos, day clubs, nightclubs, beaches, pools, gyms, salons, barber shops, spas, and public parks, both private and public in all parts of the state, will remain closed for the next 2 weeks.”
  • Err, movie theaters or cinemas will remain shut, we’ve got to emphasize. No brainer, seeing as there’s always so much cuddling, kissing,necking and sturvs going on in there. Apologies, lovebirds and millennials.  
  • Red light districts are not allowed to operate either.
  • Banks will run skeletal services, as would the rest of corporate Lagos. Banks, corporate firms, malls and local markets will only operate within the hours of 9am to 3pm under an enforced framework called “Controlled Easing Phase”. The governor says offices will operate at a capacity of 60% of their staff on the premises while 40% of employees are expected to work from home.
  • In offices, observance of social or physical distancing is now compulsory. That means the famous and eagerly anticipated ‘Happy Hour’ at Pulse Nigeria for instance, would no longer be a thing. Everyone would be ‘happy’ in their little office space. 
  • All offices should have hand sanitizers, should be decontaminated frequently and ATMs should be sterilized. 
  • The days of going to sit in an air-conditioned, claustrophobic eatery or ice cream factory with your date or significant other, are over for the moment. Eateries and restaurants will open between 9am and 3pm but only for take-out and delivery services. In-dining services are not allowed. All food handlers and staff must go through exhaustive health checks, temperature checks and high levels of hygiene must be maintained at all times. 
  • Markets and stores will be allowed to operate from 9am to 3pm on select days which will be communicated by Alausa soon enough.
  • Crowds at shopping malls is now outlawed. Only 60% of a mall’s capacity would be allowed per time. And everyone inside the mall is expected to keep their distance. That means no more hugs, handshakes, kisses and proposals at the malls. Sorry, darlings. 
  • Malls are expected to have wash basins and hand sanitizers at all times. 
  • If you are using the public transport system, you gotta wear that mask or you could get yourself arrested. The governor says commuters must wear masks, wash hands with soap, water and sanitize with alcohol based sanitizers. 
  • Vehicles, car parks and garages must be sanitized regularly and continuously. This also applies to cabs and ride hailing services. The Okada remains banned, people.
  • And for the danfo drivers who love to overload buses, Sanwo-Olu now has you in his cross-hairs. All buses must be loaded at 60% capacity. In practical terms, if seating capacity is 10, only 6 people are allowed in, he says. 
  • There will be no standing in BRT and LBSL buses. Water transportation will be restricted between 6am and 6pm daily.
  • Tricycles or Kekes are only allowed to carry 2 passengers per trip in areas where their operations haven’t been restricted. 
  • Transport operators/companies must have hand washing equipment with running water and soap. Social distancing is also required for commuters queuing up to board a bus. 

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