The Gambia government has announced measures to start relaxing coronavirus restrictions on June 4.

It’s the first announcement of relaxation measure since the emergence of the virus in March.

The relaxation allows worship places to start functioning as Friday’s congregational prayers would resume this coming Friday as well as Church services resume on Sunday.

And businesses on both essential and non-essential goods are to operate simultaneously, but weekly markets days remained banned.

It also allows grade 9 students to resume classes.

Government spokesman Ebrima G Sankareh said “And conscious of all these development, today, President Barrow in consultation with his cabinet and the Ministry of Health experts and other stakeholders have decided to actually relax some of these restrictions.

“Therefore, effective immediately, all markets throughout The Gambia tomorrow will remain open from 6am to 6pm, instead of saying people selling essential food items and non-essential food items, there is no difference now in timing,” he said.

“Everybody can go to the markets, normal market structure from 6am to 6pm, also religious places of worship beginning Friday Mosques throughout The Gambia shall be open equally, they also have very strigent measures,” Mr Sankareh said.

According to him, schools will not be opened but that “the grade 9 [students] will be allowed to go back to school the precise date will be announced by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education.”

But Mr Sankareh was quick to clarify “however, the relaxation of these measures, also come with very strict measures.”

The government is expected to come up with the new restriction guidelines as the country ease lockdown.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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