Himachal govt issues SOP for religious places set to open from September 10

By: |
September 5, 2020 11:22 PM

Religious places in the state were closed for general public on March 16 to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

Doctors and functionaries of the health department take a COVID-19 test, at Banjar sub-division of Kullu district. (PTI Photo)

Prasad offerings will not be allowed in religious places that are set to open for devotees in Himachal Pradesh on September 10, according to guidelines issued by the state government on Saturday.

Religious places in the state were closed for general public on March 16 to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

A day after the state cabinet decided to open places of worship in HP, the health department on Saturday released a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the same.

As per the three-page SOP issued by Additional Chief Secretary (Health) R D Dhiman, no physical offerings like prasad, distribution or sprinkling of holy water will be allowed inside the religious place.

The SOP said touching statues, idols and holy books will also not be allowed.

Preferably, separate entry and exit for devotees will be arranged while maintaining physical distance of minimum six feet at all times, it added.

The SOP further stated that specific markings may be made with sufficient distance to manage the queue and ensure physical distancing in the premises.

The devotees will wear masks and wash their hands and feet with soap and water before entering the religious places, it added.

Shoes and other footwear should be preferably taken off inside their own vehicles, it added.

Frequent cleaning and disinfection should be maintained by the management of religious places, it said, while adding that the floors should particularly be cleaned multiple times in the premises.

The SOP further stated that in case of a suspect or confirmed case in the premises, the ill person should be isolated in a separate room from others till examination by a competent doctor. The premises will be disinfected if the person is found positive for COVID-19, it added.

Langars at religious places should follow physical distancing norms while preparing and distributing it, the SOP added.

People who are above 65 years, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below 10 years are advised to stay at home, it added.

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