As India steps into Unlock 1.0 after almost two months of a complete lockdown, places of worship have been allowed to operate from June 8 given that they follow a proper protocol of reopening amidst Coronavirus outbreak.
Opening of religious places: As India steps into Unlock 1.0 after almost two months of a complete lockdown, places of worship have been allowed to operate from June 8 given that they follow a proper protocol of reopening amidst Coronavirus outbreak. As the operations at religious places will resume, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released a set of guidelines that all places of worship as well as the devotees visiting will have to adhere to. Among many regulations, the key requirement is to abide by the norms of social distancing and sanitisation, which means that offerings are not allowed among others. It is to note that those who are above 65 years of age and below 10 years of age along with people with comorbidity and pregnant women are strictly advised to not visit religious places.
Guidelines for religious places
- The entrance of any religious place- temple, mosque, church or a gurdwara, there should be provisions of hand sanitizers and thermal screenings. Only asymptomatic persons can be allowed inside the premises.
- Wearing face masks at all times is mandatory for all.
- The religious place authorities have been asked to put standees or posters that display Coronavirus preventive measures followed by audio and video clips.
- All people entering the premises have to either remove their footwear inside the vehicle or book a slot for each individual/ family.
- Shops, cafeterias and other stalls inside and outside the places or worship are too asked to follow strict social distancing protocols at all times.
- The government has asked these places to separate entry and exit for visitors and mark some specifics that manage queues.
- People are advised to wash their hands as well as feet before entering.
- The religious places have to stick to CPWD guidelines for managing air conditioning and ventilation. There should be a relative humidity of 40-70 per cent and temperature between 24 degree celsius and 30 degree celsius.
- For people, they will not be offered prasad or sprinkled holy water. In fact, they are not even allowed to touch the idols. For praying, people have to bring their own mats or cloth.
- The government has prohibited large congregations as well as gatherings.
The steps have been decided to ensure that there is no Coronavirus transmission among people who are working at these places as well as those who have come to worship. According to a report by the Indian Express, many places have started the disinfection process within and outside the holy premises. While Jama Masjid has emptied the pond, Gurdwaras are skeptical about how to perform their ritual as they have to have a bhog of kada prasad first, the report said.
It can be noted that all religious places that are a part of a containment zone shall remain closed and others have to keep disinfecting the premises. If in case any COVID-19 positive person is suspected, places are to confine that individual in a room, immediately inform the nearest healthcare facility and get the test done.