New guidelines regarding the opening of religious places and places of worship following the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, were announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday. These new guidelines will come into effect from Monday onwards and the stakeholders will be held responsible for the following of these guidelines released by the MHA. The opening of shopping malls, restaurants, and hotels from Monday has also been allowed by the government.
“Unlock-1” which will be rolled out across the country from June 8 was announced by MHA last week, under which the lockdown which was imposed on the whole country from March 25 will be given relaxation to a considerable amount.
The New Covid-19 guidelines released by the MHA for Temples, Mosques, Gurudwaras, and other places of worship are as followed:
- As per the MHA’s guidelines Hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions are to be made compulsory at the entrance.
2. The entry of only asymptomatic persons shall be permitted on the premises.
3. All persons to be permitted entry only if using masks or face covers.
4. Standees or posters heeding the preventive measures regarding COVID-19 should be exhibited prominently. Video and Audio clips relating to the preventive measures for COVID-19 should be played on a regular basis to spread awareness.
5. If possible, the staggering of visitors should be done.
6. Footwear or shoes should be rather taken off inside your own vehicle. If in need they should be kept in different slots for each individual or family by the persons themselves.
7. The crowd should be managed properly in the parking lots, as well as outside the premises. Social distancing norms should be duly followed.
8. Social distancing norms shall be thoroughly followed in the shops, stalls, cafeteria, etc., within and outside the premises.
9. In order to manage the queue and ensure social distancing in the premises, specific markings must be made with sufficient distance.
10. Separate entry and exit should rather be organized for the visitors.
11. When queuing for the entry, a minimum of 6 feet of physical distance shall be maintained at all times.
12. Before entering the premises, hands and feet should be properly washed with soap and water by the people.
13. The seating arrangement should be made in a way so that social distancing is maintained properly.
14. The CPWD guidelines, for the ventilation or air-conditioning, should be followed which inter alia emphasizes that the temperature setting of all air-conditioning devices should be of 24-30°C range, relative humidity should be of 40-70% range, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be ample.
15. Touching of the statues, idols, holy books, etc., should be prohibited.
16. Prohibition of large gatherings and congregations should also continue.
17. By keeping the conceivable threat of the spread of the virus, choir or singing groups should not be allowed and reasonable recorded devotional songs or music must be played.
18. Physical contact must be avoided while greeting each other.
19. Devotees should bring along their own prayer mats or piece of clothing which they may take back with them. The use of common prayer mats must be avoided.
20. Any physical offerings such as Prasad distribution or a sprinkling of holy water, etc., should be prohibited inside the religious place.
21. Physical distancing norms should be thoroughly followed while preparing and distributing food at in the community kitchens, langars, ” Ann-daan”, etc., at religious places.
22. The lavatories, hand, and foot washing areas should be particularly focused while maintaining effective sanitation within the premise of the religious places.
23. The management of the religious place should maintain systematic cleaning and disinfection.
24. All the floors on the premises should be mainly cleaned multiple times.
25. Face covers, masks, gloves, or other leftovers of the visitors or the employees should be properly disposed of.
26. In case if any suspect or confirmed case if found in the premises:
a. Take the ill person in an area or a room where they can be isolated from others.
b. Till the time the person is examined by a doctor, provide them a mask or face cover.
c. Inform the closest medical facility( hospital or clinic) immediately or call the district or state helpline.
d. The designated public health authority (district RRT or treating physician) will undertake a risk assessment and therefore further action will be taken heeding management of the case, contacts of the person, and need for disinfection.
e. If the person is found positive, then the disinfection of the premises should be taken up.