…….Determined to open up the economy of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel has announced the relaxation of some restrictions put in place as government works to stem the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Top on the guidelines for the relaxation of movement restrictions, is the compulsory use of face mask by all persons in public places and commercial vehicles and offices, henceforth.

In a statewide radio and television broadcast on Saturday morning, the Governor who said he was adhering to the guidelines from the federal government, also announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew all over the State from the hours of 8pm to 6am effective Monday, May 4th, 2020.

Governor Emmanuel said “markets will be opened three times a week, (Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays) between 10 am – 4 pm to enable people stock up their supplies.”

He maintained that “the ban on religious gatherings, hospitality services, social
gatherings, parties, funerals and concerts remain in effect until further notice,” while “all plazas and recreational centres are
to remain closed.”

The Governor’s address which also prohibited the re-opening of schools until further notice, however, stated that

Government’s “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.”

“Non-essential inter-State movements remain prohibited except those involving agricultural produce or medical personnel and equipment.

The Governor also reiterated that, “all passengers using public transport must make use of face mask, and that 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, he added, maintaining that, “all public transport operators must provide hand sanitizers in their vehicles.

Governor Emmanuel who harped on the success of his administration’s food sufficiency programmes, maintained that “farmers will be allowed to carry out their tasks and freely and transport their food items while wearing facemasks and not be more than three people in any given public transport.”

He also announced a phased resumption of duties that will come into effect to help reopen the economy and get the machinery of governance moving again.

He directed all Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries to work out modalities that will get the staff of their respective Ministries to return to work in batches but warned that not more than 30 percent of the workforce of each Ministry, Department and Agency should be at work at any given time.

Governor Emmanuel, while expressing gratitude to God for those who have recovered, expressed confidence that with the excellent work of the healthcare professionals and the strict adherence of the people to the personal hygiene and social distancing guidelines, the pandemic would be contained effectively.

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