Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has imposed the sum of N10 million as fine on any person that violates the COVID-19 guidelines for marriages and weddings in the state.
The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim, said the harsh punishment was enacted during the state’s executive council in a meeting presided over by Governor Wike on Thursday, June 25, 2020.
Nsirim said that the council agreed that henceforth, prospective couples would be required to apply to the state governor through the Commissioner for Social Welfare and Rehabilitation.
He said such application must be accompanied with information of the venue of the ceremony, names, addresses and phones’ numbers of attendees to make contact tracing easy.
The commissioner said the government would not grant approval to any application without names, addresses and phone numbers.
He said marriages would not have more than 50 attendees, including family members, who must wear face masks and adhere strictly to the social distancing of not less than two metres.
According to him, while church weddings must be conducted between 9a.m and noon and traditional marriages would be conducted between 4p.m and 7p.m.
The commissioner said venues of marriages must have provisions for running water and soap at three points and the venue decontaminated after the event.
Nsirim said after wedding receptions were prohibited under the guidelines to reduce the risk of community transmission of COVID-19. He said:
“All Weddings/Marraiges have an attendance limit of 50 people. The names, addresses and phone number of all attendees have mad available with the application to enable quick contact tracing if the need arises.
“Soap and running water has to be kept at the entrance to the venue in not less than three places while all attendees are to wear face masks and maintain social distancing of not less than two meters.
“Church weddings are to be conducted between 9am and 12noon, while traditional weddings are to be conducted between 4pm and 7pm. Reception ceremonies are not permitted.
“A representative of the Ministry would be present to observe the event. A fine of N10,000,000 is to be paid by anyone that puts people at risk by breaking this regulation”
Nsirim also said henceforth, those seeking to bury their loved ones would also be expected to include in their applications the names, addresses and phone numbers of those to attend such funerals.