The Lagos State Government says it is considering full re-opening of the critical sectors of its economy after assessing the readiness of businesses to re-open.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said this on Sunday after the State’s Security Council meeting, held at the State House, Marina.
Sanwo-Olu, however, said that the move to fully re-open the economy would not be pushed in a hurry.
He said that in the coming days, the state government would be rolling out “Register-to-Open” initiative as part of the plans that would enable it to assess the level of readiness of the players in the identified sectors for supervised operations.
The governor said that the officials from the Lagos State Safety Commission (LSSC) and Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) would be visiting restaurants, companies, religious houses to assess their level of readiness.
He said that with the size of the state’s economy and numbers of businesses that are operating in Lagos, the government could not afford to keep people and businesses on lockdown permanently.
“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, entertainment, 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 workspaces 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 LASEPA and Safety Commission to begin the enumeration process and the agencies will be communicating with all relevant businesses and houses in the days ahead,’’ the governor said.
He, however, cautioned that the plan to reopen the economy “should not be misinterpreted as a licence for full opening; it is certainly not’’.
According to him, the state’s economy is not ready for that now.
According to him, government agencies also will be visiting places of worship to evaluate their level of preparedness ahead of full re-opening.
He said that social distancing and hygiene would be fully considered in determining whether mosques and churches can re-open in the future.
“We are reviewing and considering how the phased unlocking will happen.
“If we see the 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,’’ Sanwo-Olu said.
He urged businesses, religious houses and residents to maintain the status quo while the state worked out modalities for full re-opening.
Meanwhile, the governor hinted that all the 10 staff of the Government House, who tested positive for coronavirus disease, had fully recovered and returned to their beats.
He said that the disclosure was necessary to further promote transparency in the reporting and management of COVID-19 cases by the state government.
Sanwo-Olu called on banks and markets to strictly enforce orderliness in their premises.
He directed that elderly people must be given the priority to transact their businesses in bank and markets between 9.00 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. after which other younger customers should be allowed to transact.
The governor urged residents not to take the easing of lockdown for granted, as everyone residing in the state must collectively take responsibility for public health safety.
He reiterated that the use of face mask in public places was compulsory, adding that the state had distributed a million free face masks to residents in the last two weeks.
Thousands more will be distributed in the course of the week, he said.
The governor, however, frowned at laxity observed in the enforcement of the ban on inter-state movements.
He also said that commercial buses still lag in complying with the spacing of passengers and 60 per cent load capacity.
“We are not happy with the level of compliance by yellow buses despite assurance from their union.
“We do not want to use force to drive compliance; we want it to be self-compliant.
“We have also not seen the level of compliance we wanted for inter-state travels.
“We are seeking collaboration with Ogun Government and the Police to ensure obedience to the directive on this,’’ Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that the state’s whistleblowing policy had yielded encouraging feedbacks, as incidents reported by whistleblowers had helped the government to further drive compliance in business places.
By Florence Onuegbu